Washington Sr.: Defending champ Brandes in lead
Tom Brandes
Tom Brandes

DUPONT, Wash. (Sept. 26, 2012) -- Defending champion Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. got off to a strong start on Tuesday with a 2-under-par 70, good enough for a two stroke lead after the first round of the 26th Washington State Senior Men’s Amateur Championship at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.

Brandes entered the championship in the midst of arguably his strongest season, having already won the Washington State Champion of Champions, also held at The Home Course, the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship, the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, and the Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship this year. He got out of the gates quickly with a birdie on the 363-yard, par-4 first hole, then sandwiched a bogey on the second hole with another birdie on the par-4 third hole to move to 1-under-par. Twelve straight pars would follow before he made his third and final birdie of the day on the par-5 16th hole. That birdie propelled him to a 1-under-par 35 on the back nine, an opening round of 70, and a two stroke lead.

The leaderboard is tight behind Brandes, as 11 players sit within four strokes of the lead. Bob Christensen of Post Falls, Idaho and Mark A. Johnson of Vancouver, Wash. are two shots back after firing rounds of even-par 72 on Tuesday. Christensen is looking to win his third straight championship, having recently won the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Public Links and the Pacific Northwest Master-40 Championship in successive weeks. He needed back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to finish at even-par and stay within two strokes of the lead.

Johnson was tied atop the leaderboard at 2-under-par through 11 holes, but he bogeyed holes 13 and 15 to finish the first round in a second place tie with Christensen. The 2008 champion, Kent Brown of Colville, Wash., leads a trio of players only three shots back at 1-over-par 73 that includes Paul Harris and Ron Bell, both from Vancouver, B.C. Six more players are only four strokes back.

In the 5th Washington State Super Senior Men’s Amateur Championship, Bill Montgomery of Gig Harbor, Wash. posted a 1-under-par 71 to take a two shot lead into Wednesday’s second round. Montgomery had things going early after birdies on the third and fourth holes pushed him to 2-under-par for the day. He dropped a shot on the sixth hole, but recovered nicely with birdies on three of the next six holes. Standing on the 14th tee, Montgomery sat at 4-under-par and had a comfortable three stroke lead, but bogeys on the 14th, 17th, and 18th holes whittled away at his lead. He settled for a 1-over-par 37 on the back nine en route to the 71.

Charles Brank of Sumner, Wash. had a promising round going early after making the turn at 2-under-par 34, but he went 3-over-par on the final two holes to finish at 1-over-par 73 for the day, good enough for solo second place after the first round. Shelton Washburn of Sammamish, Wash. and Travis Gamble of Gig Harbor, Wash. sit two strokes off the pace after posting rounds of 2-over-par 74. Two-time champion Bruce Richards of Seattle, Wash. lurks four shots back along with Robert Denkmann of Redmond, Wash. after they each finished the day at 3-over-par 75.

The second round begins Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m., with the Super Senior field teeing off first. For more information about the championship, including first round results and second round pairings, go to www.thewsga.org.

The Washington State Senior and Super Senior Men’s Amateur Championships are two of 15 state championships conducted annually by the WSGA. Amateur golfers who have reached their 55th birthday by September 25, 2012 and who have a USGA Handicap Index of 12.4 strokes or less at a WSGA member club are eligible to play in the Washington State Senior Men’s Amateur Championship. To be eligible for the Washington State Super Senior Men’s Amateur Championship, golfers must meet the same handicap requirements and have reached their 65th birthday by September 25, 2012. All contestants will play 54 holes of stroke play (gross scores only).

Cooperatively owned and operated by the Washington State Golf Association and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, The Home Course was designed by Mike Asmundson and opened in 2007. In only a few short years, The Home Course has built up quite the reputation with its unique challenges, layout and vistas. Despite its early success, The Home Course has continued to evolve and flourish. “The greens are much faster than normal,” said Director of Golf, Ron Hagen. “A change in fertilizing philosophy has made a huge difference.” Affectionately dubbed “The Home of Golf in the Northwest,” The Home Course provides an affordable, quality golf experience for players of all ages and skills. “The true niche of this course is that it is the home of golf,” said Hagen. “It’s predicated on the members of the PNGA and the WSGA.” That said, its national prestige continues to grow, as it has served as the assisting course for the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship and was recently selected as the site for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. For more information about The Home Course, go to www.thehomecourse.com.

In 1922, the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) was established in order to conduct our state amateur golf championship. Since its humble beginnings more than 85 years ago, the WSGA has evolved into one of the largest amateur golf associations in the United States, providing a multitude of benefits and services to approximately 80,000 individual men, women, senior, and junior members at over 600 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho. The WSGA also works tirelessly to promote, foster, and grow the game of golf in its region through its support of golf related charities and “good for the game” programs.

The WSGA is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteer, amateur golfers. The 25-person WSGA Board of Directors employs a full-time staff of 14 individuals. WSGA members pay an annual membership fee, through their golf club, to belong to the Association. The WSGA also serves as a statewide representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and works closely with a number of allied associations within the golf industry for the betterment of the game.

ABOUT THE Washington Senior Amateur

54-hole gross stroke play competition (overall and by age division). Senior Division 55 years of age or older. Super Senior Division 65 years of age or older.

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