BANDON, Ore. (July 23, 2012) - There's a four-letter word - wind - on the lips of many of the 81 contestants who will tee it up beginning tomorrow in the 46th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. The 72-hole event - played without a cut - is one of the most important amateur golf championships in the western United States and Canada.
Bright sunshine and a cloudless sky brought with it strong, sustained winds for today's final practice rounds and the forecast is for more of the same for the balance of the week along the Oregon coast.
Tomorrow's first round and Thursday's third round will be played over the par-70 Ben Crenshaw and Bill Core-designed Bandon Trails Golf Course. Wednesday's second round and the final round Friday will be contested over the par-72 Bandon Dunes Golf Course, designed by David McKlay Kidd and opened in 1999 as the original layout in what is now a quintet of superb links-style courses.
Many of the contestants echoed the thoughts of Brent Wilson of Victoria B.C., relaxing after a practice round today. "I'm not used to playing links courses," said Wilson, "so this is both a treat and a challenge. I've always heard about the wind at Bandon Dunes and when you come here this is what you want, even if it hurts your ego a little bit."
Not everyone is surprised by the conditions. "I grew up playing courses on Maui," said Taeksoo Kim, a rising senior at Boise State, "so I'm pretty used to the wind." Another competitor who should feel right at home is UNLV's Derek Ernst of Clovis, Calif., who last year was runner-up to Corbin Mills in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, also played at Bandon Dunes. Ernst also reached the semifinals in this year's Public Links Championship before falling to T.J. Vogel.
Ernst will be one of three players on the Northern California Golf Association's Morse Cup team, which will seek to defend its title in the competition played concurrently with the championship's first two rounds.
Each of the 16 state, regional and provincial associations that comprise the Pacific Coast Golf Association (which administers the championship) choose a three-man team in advance of the tournament. The best two of three scores in each of the first two rounds count for the team total.
Ernst will be joined on the NCGA team by California Amateur Championship runner-up Ben Geyer of Arbuckle, Calif. and 2011 NCAA Southwest Regional champion Matt Hansen of Los Osos, Calif.
Also among the contestants in this year's field is Jordan Irwin of Calgary, Alberta, who won the 2008 title at Royal Colwood GC in Victoria, BC. Irwin is bidding to become just the third person to win more than one Pac Coast title and the first since Billy Mayfair in 1987-88 (Mike Davis also won back-to-back titles, in 1969-70).
Other in the field are Tyler Raber of El Macero, Calif., recent winner of the Trans-Mississippi Championship; Greg Condon of Monte Vista, Colo, the 2011 Sun Country GA Match Play Champion; Nick Chianello of Gresham, Ore., 2011 Oregon Stroke Play and 2012 Oregon Amateur champion; Martin Trainer of Palo Alto, Calif., 2010 Pac-10 champion; David Rose of West Vancouver, BC, 2011 BC Amateur Champion; and Loren Chan of Honolulu, the Hawaii State Amateur champion. Also in the field are Nick Sherwood of Albany, Ore. and Alberto Sanchez of Nogalez, Ariz., each of whom played in this year's U.S. Open.
This marks the second time that Bandon Dunes has hosted the prestigious event.