Washington Mid-Am: Ciez Makes Ace, then Wins in Playoff
Michael Ciez, the 2017 Washington State Mid-Amateur champion (WSGA photo)
Michael Ciez, the 2017 Washington State Mid-Amateur champion (WSGA photo)

WALLA WALLA, WA (August 30, 2017) - Michael Ciez of Walla Walla defeated Brian Barton of Pasco, Wash. in a playoff to capture the 8th Washington State Men's Mid-Amateur Championship. Ciez 2-putted for par on the first playoff hole to take the title.

The 36-hole stroke play championship was held at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. and conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA). Ciez had struggled in the Washington State Amateur earlier this month, failing to make the cut, but had his game in shape for this week's Mid-Amateur, firing rounds of 70-70. He started today's round tied for the lead.

"This feels pretty great," Ciez said afterward. "I've been struggling in some other events this year, so this has been a long time coming, and it feels good."

Being from Walla Walla, Ciez was very familiar with the course. "Yes, it definitely helped (knowing the course). I knew where to miss it and where to hit it, but at times it still didn't stop me from hitting it where I shouldn't."

Ciez's shot of the day was the ace on the 136-yard par-3 14th. "Yeah, that was crazy. I still didn't know the ball was in the hole until we looked in. There was an official standing nearby but he hadn't seen the shot. Then I made the birdie on 18 just to get into a playoff. The round was just a lot of fun."

Ciez works at nearby Veteran's Memorial Park Golf Course, and is a five-time Walla Walla City Amateur champion, having just won his fifth title last week in that event.

Barton, who played collegiately for Whitman College in Walla Walla, graduating in 2011, started today's final round tied for 23rd, after opening with a 3-over 75 in yesterday's first round. Today he shot the low round of the championship. His 7-under 65 was capped by an eagle 3 on the par-5 18th, which vaulted him into the clubhouse lead.

He then sat and waited while Ciez, who was playing in the final group, finished his round. Ciez bogeyed the par-4 17th hole, and for a moment Barton held the lead alone. Ciez then birdied 18 to force the playoff.

After opening with a 1-over 73 yesterday, Tyler Matthews of Bellevue shot 4-under 68 in today's round to shoot up the leaderboard, coming up one stroke shy of the playoff, settling for a solo third place finish.

Finishing tied for fourth is Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho. Hatley had started the day tied for the lead after firing a 2-under 70 in yesterday's opening round and was in position to defend his title in this championship, but shot 4-over on today's back nine to fall out of contention. Hatley has been named the WSGA Men's Mid-Amateur Player of the Year the past two years.

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ABOUT THE Washington Mid-Amateur

36 hole stroke play championship for amateurs aged 25+. Must be a member of a WSGA member club.

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