Washington Champions: Haack, Dickinson reign
DUPONT, Wash. (April 25, 2013) -- In the 4th WSGA Champion of Champions, Mike Haack of Bellevue, Wash. won the title for the men’s, Karinn Dickinson of Mukilteo for the women’s; and Keith Crimp of Ellensburg for the Senior Men’s, and Janet Kelleher of Blaine for the Senior Women’s both won their titles in two-hole playoffs. The two-day stroke play championship was held at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. and is the traditional kickoff to the region’s championship season.

The field for the annual WSGA Champion of Champions consists of champions of last year’s WSGA championships, club champions at WSGA member clubs throughout the state, and other exemptions. The Champion of Champions is the first championship of the year, traditionally kicking off the season.

Haack, who was exempted into this year’s championship because he qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur Championship and who won the Champion of Champions in 2010, fired impressive rounds of 69 and 72, for a two-day total of 3-under par 141. “Yesterday was really windy,” said Haack. “That really was the difference maker. I put up a solid round in difficult conditions, and it helped me play better today.” Haack, who played on the mini-tours a few years, got his amateur status reinstated and now plays out of Meridian Valley Country Club, where he works. “I’ll play in next week’s PNGA Cup (to be held in Boise, Idaho), and then play as much as I can the rest of this year; try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur again, the U.S. Mid-Am, and anything else I have time for.” (Watch Mike Haack’s interview here.)

Dickinson fired an impressive 4-under par 68 in the final round, which consisted of six birdies and two bogeys. “After yesterday’s round (of 78), I wasn’t too happy,” she said. “I knew I had been playing better. I’m looking forward to the rest of this year.” Dickinson almost didn’t make it off the first tee of yesterday’s first round. She was late for her tee time and was found still on the range, where she had lost track of time. Hustling to the tee, she was assessed a two-stroke penalty and was within a minute of being disqualified. “No excuse,” she said. “Just a mistake.” She would shoot an uncharacteristic 78 yesterday, putting her in the middle of the field. Dickinson played on the University of Washington women’s golf team, and last year won the Women’s State Amateur Championship, which qualified her for this week’s Champion of Champions. Her plans are to play in the LPGA Tour’s qualifying school later this year. Her plans between now and then? “I’m going to play in everything I can,” she said. “The State Open, the (Women’s) State Amateur, the U.S. Women’s Open qualifier, just everything.” (Watch Karinn Dickinson’s interview here.)

Crimp bogeyed the final hole in regulation to fall back into a tie with Dick Jonson, of Seattle. “I had no idea of the standings at the time,” he said. “I was just playing my game. I made the mistake of playing conservatively on that last hole. My game plan for this course was to stay aggressive, and I got lazy.” After trading pars with Jonson on the first playoff hole, the long-hitting Crimp had just a short pitch left on the second playoff hole, a par-4. He two-putted for par from 22 feet, while Jonson missed a four-footer, settling for bogey and second place. Jonson, who has been the club champion at Broadmoor Golf Club a number of times, had hooked his ball out of bounds on the short par-4 17th hole, leading to a double-bogey and falling into a tie and the playoff with Crimp.

Kelleher won the Senior Women’s title in a playoff as well. She and Alison Murdoch, of Victoria, B.C., also traded pars on the first playoff hole, and when Murdoch couldn’t save par from a greenside bunker on the second playoff hole, Kelleher calmly drained a four-foot par putt for the title. It was nearly a perfect week for Murdoch, who on April 26 will be inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame. Murdoch had birdied the tough 18th hole to get into the playoff with Kelleher.

This year’s field consisted of 83 champions from around the state of Washington, competing in four championship divisions, men’s, women’s, senior men’s and senior women’s. This year’s championship had the strongest field to date of this event, which included seven past champions.

The WSGA Champion of Champions is one of 15 state championships conducted annually by the WSGA.

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