Sasaki leads quartet of winners at Washington Women's Amateurs
Rino Sasaki and Tina Papatolis (WSGA/Twitter photo)
Rino Sasaki and Tina Papatolis (WSGA/Twitter photo)

Rino Sasaki of Seattle shot rounds of 71-72-77 to win the 26th Washington State Women’s Amateur; Tina Papatolis of Issaquah, Wash. survived a playoff to win the 10th Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur; Sandra Turbide of Maple Ridge, B.C. won the 20th Washington State Women’s Senior Amateur in a playoff; and Linda Skwarski of Fall City, Wash. won the 6th Washington State Super Senior Women’s Amateur title in her first attempt.

All four championships were held concurrently at Sudden Valley Golf and Country Club in Bellingham, Wash., and conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).

Sasaki, a sophomore on the University of Washington women’s golf team, had a three-shot lead heading into today’s final round of the Women’s Amateur. She had taken the lead from first-round leader Suzie Tran of Poulsbo, Wash.

While other players faltered in the tough playing conditions, Sasaki finished the round with 11 consecutive pars, and her steady play enabled her to cruise to a six-shot victory over second-place finisher Karen Miyamoto of Seattle. Miyamoto is Sasaki’s teammate on the UW golf team.

“I’m really grateful for all of this,” Sasaki said afterward, holding the trophy and looking at the course behind her. “It was a rough day for sure, because of the weather. I thought I’d lost it on the front nine. I just was patient, and accepting what I get with each shot. And the back nine I settled down.”

Tran finished third, and defending champion Olivia Benzin finished fourth.

In the Women’s Mid-Amateur, Papatolis had begun today’s final round with a comfortable 8-shot lead over Victoria Fallgren of Spokane. But the rain and wind in the morning played havoc on the course and on Papatolis’ scorecard, and she had to birdie the final hole just to force a playoff with Fallgren.

The playoff lasted two holes. On the first hole, both players made birdie, and on the second hole, Fallgren’s par putt attempt lipped out, and Papatolis claimed the title with a par.

“This feels pretty good,” Papatolis said. “With the tough weather conditions, and then having to birdie the 18th to force the playoff, it was awesome to come out with a win. I loved playing with Victoria. It was a really cool day, and a really cool tournament.”

This is Papatolis’ first WSGA championship title. “I’ve come close in the past,” she said. “So this feels really cool.”

Fallgren, who is the assistant coach for the women’s golf team at Gonzaga University, had been trying for a three-peat, having won the Women’s Mid-Amateur the past two years.

Turbide won the Senior Women’s Amateur by outlasting Karen Johnson of Auburn, Wash. in a playoff. Turbide won the playoff with a par on the second hole. This is the second year in a row in this championship that Johnson has lost in a playoff, finishing in second place.

Turbide and Johnson had finished the two-day championship tied at the top at 14-over par. Turbide had started the second round two shots behind Johnson, but quickly made up the deficit.

“It’s great to play golf again,” Turbide said after the championship. “I’ve been out of the game for the past year and a half because of back surgery, so just being here and playing was great, and winning is a bonus.”

Of her playoff with Johnson, Turbide said, “First of all, I love playoffs. They’re very exciting. I probably played my best two holes of the whole event in the playoff. Fairways and greens, and a putt.”

In the Super Senior Women’s Amateur, Skwarski shot 77 in the first round, and started the final round two shots behind first-round leader Robin Lee Monroe of Canada, but Skwarski put together a solid round of 80 and pulled away for two-shot margin victory over Monroe and Karen Madison of Spokane Valley, Wash., who tied for second. Madison had won this title in 2016.

“It’s an honor to have won,” Skwarski said afterward. “I’ve never been in this position before, in a championship this big, so this is very special.” Of her two rounds at Sudden Valley, Skwarski said, “I was fortunate in that this course seemed to fit my eye perfectly. I shot the two best scores I’ve shot in a long time. I’m more shocked (about the win) than anyone else here.”

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ABOUT THE Washington Women's Amateur & Mid-Amateur

Entries are open to female amateur golfers who: (1) have an up-to-date USGA Handicap Index issued by a WA Golf member club not exceeding 16.4, and (2) are members in good standing of a WA Golf member club. 54-hole stroke play (gross only).

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