Tom Brandes (Left) and Gudmund Lindbjerg (WSGA photo)
PORT LUDLOW, Wash. (Sept. 27, 2018) – Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash., shot scores of 68-76-73 in going wire-to-wire to win the 32nd Washington State Senior Amateur Championship; while Gudmund Lindbjerg of Port Moody, B.C., held on to win the 11th Washington State Super Senior Amateur.
This is the fifth title in this championship for Brandes, who also won four in a row from 2011-2014. He is the reigning WSGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year. For Lindbjerg, this is his third title in the Super Senior, having also won in 2014 and 2016.
Both championships were contested over 54 holes of stroke play, and held concurrently at Port Ludlow (Wash.) Golf Club. They were conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).
Brandes opened with a 4-under 68 in the first round, one of only four rounds under par among the 240 rounds played this week for the two championships combined on the challenging Port Ludlow layout. (Lance Lundy of Pemberton, B.C. shot a 2-under 70 in the first round; John Molitor of Soap Lake, Wash. shot 2-under 70 in the final round; Mike Jonson shot 1-under 71 in the final round.) Two bad swings cost Brandes early in Wednesday’s second round, when he pulled his tee shots out of bounds on Nos. 2 and 3, leading to a triple- and double-bogey, respectively, but he played the remaining 15 holes at 1 under.
“After my 68 in the first round, people were asking me what course I was playing,” Brandes said. “There is so little room for error here, and the green complexes are interesting and rolling absolutely perfect. Today the pins were the hardest of the three days, and I knew that pars were going to be golden, so that is what I was shooting for. This is the kind of course where one bad swing can really cost you, so you have to stay on your game the entire time. It’s a great championship layout from that standpoint.”
Brandes began today’s final round with a four-shot lead, and he played steady enough to see if anyone would make a charge at him, but no one did, each falling away as the round wore on. After 13 holes, his lead had ballooned to eight shots, and he coasted home for the win.
Brandes commented on the condition of the course, saying, “I want to put a shout-out to Tyler Sweet (Port Ludlow’s PGA Head Professional) for supporting amateur golf, providing this great venue, and for having this course in spectacular condition. And it was a great Chamber of Commerce week, from a weather standpoint.”
Jim McNelis (Gig Harbor, Wash.) finished second, nine shots back of Brandes. McNelis won this title last year, and finished second in 2016, for three top-2 finishes in the last three years.
In the Super Senior Amateur, Lindbjerg held on to win by a single shot over Mike Jonson (Sammamish, Wash.) and Lance Lundy (Pemberton, B.C.).
Lindbjerg began today’s final round tied with Lundy, but Lundy, paired with Lindbjerg in the final group, shot 4 over on today’s front nine while Lindbjerg shot even par. “So I knew where I stood against him.”
But in the group ahead of Lindbjerg and Lundy, Jonson was piecing together one of the better rounds of the championship. He birdied the 187-yard, par-3 14th, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Meanwhile, Lundy played the back nine in 2-under, but Lindbjerg had just enough cushion for the win, despite bogeys on 16 and 18.
“I guess the guys are getting older,” Lindbjerg joked, when asked about his success in the Super Senior. “I can take advantage of them.”
Just four months ago, Lindbjerg broke his left leg in three places. “This is just my second tournament since then,” he said. “Now I’m done for the season. Time to babysit the grandkids.”
Finishing fourth was John Gallacher of Burnaby, B.C., who was attempting to defend his title of last year. Last week, Gallacher and Lindbjerg teamed together to win the Pacific Northwest Men’s Super Senior Team Championship.