WALLA WALLA, Wash. (July 13, 2012) -– After a day of quarterfinal and semifinal matches, Carl Jonson of Bainbridge Island, Wash. and Shotaro Ban of San Jose, Calif. will meet in tomorrow’s final match in the 111th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship, conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA). The 36-hole Final match will begin at 7:30am tomorrow at Wine Valley Golf Club.
Jonson defeated Blake Snyder of Seattle, Wash. 4&3 in this morning’s Quarterfinal match, then held off Nick Chianello of Gresham, Ore. 1-up in the afternoon’s Semifinal match. Against Snyder, Jonson never trailed in the match, winning the 514-yard par-4 fifth hole to go 1up, and was 4-up after 11 holes. In the Semifinal match, Jonson went head-to-head with Chianello, the Oregon State University senior who had won the Oregon Amateur earlier this summer. “I knew Carl was a good player,” said Chianello afterward. “I didn’t have any game plan (going into the match), other than to keep playing my own game.” Jonson was 3-up after 11 holes before Chianello won his first hole, the 406-yard par-4 12th, and the game was on when Chianello won the 515-yard par-4 15th hole, two-putting from 16 feet while Jonson missed the green and then chipped over the green into a bunker, eventually conceding the hole.
Standing on the tee of the 568-yard par-5 18th hole, Jonson was still 1-up. When Chianello pushed his tee shot into the right fescue and Jonson split the fairway with a 358-yard drive, it looked all but over, but Chianello dug his second shot out of the tall grass and with a generous bounce and roll, left him on the fringe in front of the green. Jonson, watching Chianello’s heroics, then hit the shot of the day - from 210 yards, he almost hit the hole on the fly with his second shot which left him 12 feet and a chance at eagle. After Chianello’s chip went wide of the hole, Jonson calmly two-putted for birdie to close out the match 1-up.
“Yes, I have a little history with that hole (the 18th),” said Jonson with a laugh. In the championship’s first qualifying round, he had triple-bogeyed the hole. Jonson also has history with this championship and with the PNGA. His father, Ed Jonson, won this championship in 1974, held that year at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. His great-uncle Carl Jonson, whom young Carl is named after, and his grandfather, Ernie Jonson, are both members of the PNGA Hall of Fame. Jonson, who will be a sophomore at UNLV, is the Medalist and No. 1 seed in the championship. He fired a course record 9-under-par 63 in the second qualifying round.
Ban defeated Jarred Bossio of Olympia, Wash. 4&3 to make it through this morning’s Quarterfinal match, then dispatched Rak Cho of Eugene, Ore. 2&1 in the afternoon’s Semifinal match. Despite Cho and Ban both playing for Pac-12 schools (Cho a rising star for the University of Oregon and Ban playing for the University of California, Berkeley), the two had never played together before. “But I knew he was a really good player,” said Ban. “I knew I wasn’t going to run away with anything out there.” The turning point of the match between the two of them came on a stretch of holes in the middle of the round. Cho won the 480-yard par-4 ninth hole to pull within one hole of Ban. Then, on the 610-yard par-5 10th, Cho was on the fringe of the green in two, just 20 feet from the hole, while Ban was in a greenside bunker in three. Ban blasted out and sank a downhill 7-foot putt to save par, and Cho three-putted from the fringe to halve the hole. Ban then birdied the next hole, a 170-yard par-3, to go 2-up. “Yes, I got away with that (the 10th hole),” said Ban. “That downhill putt I had, that was not the place to be.”
Ban, with a 2-up lead, split the fairway on the 402-yard par-4 17th hole, and then put his second shot to 10 feet. Cho then sailed his second shot long and over the green eventually leading to a concession of the match.Measuring up to 7,600 yards, Wine Valley Golf Club’s picturesque layout spreads out beneath the shadow of the Blue Mountains. In architect Dan Hixson’s own words, “This golf course is marked by open spaces and movement created by wind and water over thousands and thousands of years. Conditions change every day, or more often than that. You can’t just come here and play it the same way over and over. You’ve got to think and adapt.” Wine Valley’s broad fairways, dramatic bunkers, and challenging, undulating greens will pose a formidable challenge for the talented field.