Washington Champions: Four Winners Crowned
Winners John Sand, Jamie Huo, Tom Brandes and Gretchen Klein <br>(WSGA Photo)
Winners John Sand, Jamie Huo, Tom Brandes and Gretchen Klein
(WSGA Photo)

FEDERAL WAY, WA (April 26, 2017) - The 8th Washington State Golf Association Champion of Champions concluded play today at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. This year's field consisted of 144 champions from around the state of Washington and Northern Idaho, competing in four divisions. It was the largest and strongest field in the history of the championship.

John Sand of Hoquiam pulled away in the final holes in today's round to win the Men's division. Sand, 18, played steady down the stretch under difficult windy condition, while his pursuers fell away. Four players tied for second, three shots behind Sand, who was the only player in the 140-player field to finish under par.

"It was really tough out there," he said. "Very windy. You had to be really creative in hitting shots into the greens. I was lucky that I was able to keep the big numbers off the card."

Sand will be busy this summer, playing in qualifiers for the U.S. Junior and U.S. Amateur, and finishing his last year being eligible to play in junior events.

Sand is finishing his final year playing for Hoquiam High School, and will be attending the University of Denver in the fall, where he'll play on the men's golf team. He earned his way into this championship by being the men's club champion at Grays Harbor Country Club.

Tom Brandes of Bellevue successfully defended his title in the Senior Men's, shooting rounds of 68-73. He started the day with a four-shot lead over Keith Crimp of Ellensburg. Paired together in today's final round, Crimp, who has twice won this title (2013, 2014), made a run at Brandes with three birdies on the front side, but Brandes answered shot-for-shot with three birdies of his own to make the turn at 3-under. Brandes stumbled on the back nine, shooting 4-over during a 4-hole stretch, but had built enough of a lead to hang on to win by two over second-place finisher Crimp. "I was cruising along just fine this morning (on the front nine)," Brandes said. "But then the wind picked up and we all started struggling. On short putts we were all trembling because of the wind blowing the balls all around." On the par-3 14th, Brandes was in-between clubs, and put his tee shot into the water for a double-bogey. After taking advantage last year of exemptions into several prestigious international championships earned from his past stellar play, Brandes plans to focus this year on more regional events. Brandes also won this title in 2012. He is a six-time recipient of the WSGA Senior Men's Player of the Year award, and in 2015 was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame.

Jamie Huo, a senior on the Seattle University women's golf team, followed up her first-round one-under par 71 with a solid 73 in today's final round, holding off defending champion Sarah Lawrence of Duvall for a three-shot victory. Huo had started the day with slim one-stroke lead over Lawrence, but played steadily under difficult windy conditions to pull away. "Yes, it was really tough out there," she said. "Everyone was just grinding it out. Sarah stayed close the whole time. I think the turning point was on the 14th when I made a 10-footer to save par, and I gained momentum from that." A former standout at Kentwood High School, Huo earned her way into this championship by winning the women's club championship at Fairwood Golf & Country Club in Renton.

In the Senior Women's division, Gretchen Klein of Hoquiam, Wash. shot rounds of 78-78 to take the title by a single shot over Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famer Alison Murdoch of Victoria, B.C. Playing in the final group together, Klein had started today's final round two strokes ahead of Murdoch, and after 13 holes had a three-shot lead. She then bogeyed 14 and 16 to let Murdoch pull close, but closed it out with pars on 17 and 18. "The weather was definitely a factor," Klein said. "Rain, wind, sun, I was getting exhausted just putting my raingear on and off, messing with my umbrella. I hit the ball pretty well, just good enough to endure, I guess." Klein had qualified for this championship by being the two-time defending women's club champion of Grays Harbor Country Club. "Actually, I've kind of lost count of how many times I've been club champion," she said with a laugh. "I've been a member there since the early 1990s and I've won it more than a few times."

View results for Washington Champion of Champions

ABOUT THE Washington Champion of Champions

Format: 36-hole gross stroke play competition. Men’s and Women’s Championships run concurrently.

Age Limit: No age limit

Handicap Limit: No handicap limit

Field Limit: Open to the first 96 male players (48 men & 48 senior men) and 48 female (18 women & 30 senior women) players to complete an entry form and meet at least one of the below requirements:

• Previous two years Club Champion or Senior Club Champion at a WSGA member club
• Previous year's champion of a WSGA Championship (excludes Parent-Child Championship)
• Top-10 on the WSGA Men's Performance Points List as of the end of the previous calendar year
• Top-5 on the WSGA Women's Performance Points List as of the end of the previous calendar year
• Top-5 on the WSGA Senior Men's Performance Points List as of the end of the previous calendar year
• Top-5 on the WSGA Senior Women's Performance Points List as of the end of the previous calendar year
• Previous year's WJGA State Junior Boys' and Girls' Champion
• Previous year's champion of any event on the WSGA Men's, Women's, Senior Men's, or Senior Women's Performance Points List.

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