EUGENE, Oregon (July 30, 2010) -- Andrew Putnam of University Place, Wash., a senior-to-be at Pepperdine University, captured the 44th Pacific Coast Amateur title held for the seventh time on the 7,051-yard layout at the venerable Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
As predicted earlier in the week, it was deja Vu for the Putnam family as Andrew's name joins his older brother Michael on the Updegraff perpetual trophy. Eerily, a birdie on the final hole meant that both brothers won the title at Eugene Country Club with the same score, although Andrew does get some bragging rights as the course he played was 300-yards longer than in 2004.
The tournament committee had made a decision early in the week to setup the course for an exciting finish. They moved the tee up on 17 making the hole a driveable 290-yard par 4 and the placed the hole on 18 to the middle of the green. While Putnam's lead was apparently insurmountable, there were some players making a charge along the day to keep in interesting.
"It was kinda up and down for me, birdie bogey birdie, bogey, but I had some good saves out there and kept myself at level par," said Putnam who hit his approach on 18 tight leaving a tap-in birdie to close out the championship.
"I don't think I was ever comfortable the whole day," he added. You never want to get too comfortable. I birdie here and there and a bogey brings the field closer."
He learned a great lesson from his play recently in the US Open where he mentioned he was shaking over his tee shots. "I just kept thinking to myself, if I can handle playing in front of thousands, this is nothing compared to that."
Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash. was one of the players that made a charge going 4-under par on the front nine. A birdie on the 13th hole closed the gap to 3-strokes until a costly double bogey on 15 put him out of contention. For the championship, that hole along with the quadruple-bogey he took on the 9th hole yesterday were all that was needed keep him from the title. He finished 5-strokes behind Putnam at 2-under par 71-71-73-67--282 in a tie for third along with Matthew Steiger of Narrabri, Australia, a member of the Australian national team.
The other player making a late charge was Daniel Miernicki of Santee, Calif., a member of the Oregon Ducks golf team that regularly plays practice rounds at Eugene Country Club.
Miernicki started the day 6-shots behind Putnam and got off to a rocky start with a bogey on the first hole. But he rallied, with birdies on six of his last 13 holes to finish alone in second with a score of 3-under par 68-73-72-68--281. But the starting cushion Putnam had going into today's final round was just too much for the field to overcome.
"Second's great," said Miernicki. "I didn't play exceptionally great but I putted really well so I'll take that away from this tournament. Andrew deserved to win this one."
Andrew Putnam will probably look back at the Pacific Coast Amateur and remember the way he played the 9th hole on Thursday, holing a twenty foot curling putt while his playing partners rolled their putts off the green and suffered a double bogey 6 and a quintuple bogey 9 respectively as a key point in the tournament.
And what about that brutal hole location on the 9th hole on Thursday, which many players called a joke? The hole wasn't much harder Thursday as it played Wednesday, but did penalize those who were above the hole.
"Nobody likes to see a player struggle like that," said PCGA Executive Director John Bodenhamer. "It's painful to watch. But this is an elite championship and we push the edge with a challenging course setup routinely, Number nine was very difficult but not unfair. And who came out on top, but Andrew Putnam who recently played at the U.S. Open, where they routinely push it. His experience showed. That's where you identify the best player," he added.