Sean Kato (Washington Golf Association)
Oregon State’s Sean Kato absolutely dominated the 94th Washington State Amateur held at Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 U.S. Open. The Redmond, Washington native posted rounds of 65-69-73 for a 9-under 207 and a 1-shot victory.
Taking a 5-shot lead into the third and final round, Kato immediately double-bogeyed the first while his playing partner and closest competitor, Boise State’s Brian Humphreys. Through two holes, Kato allowed a three-shot swing to cut his lead down to just two.
Making the turn three shots better than Kato, Humphreys was hot on his tail, making up the 5-shots from when the duo began the day as they stood on the 16th tee. Humphrey wasn’t alone. Zachary Stocker, who began Thursday eight shots off the lead, was also tied with Humphreys and Kato but was one group ahead of the leaders.
Stocker, who also doubled the first, carded two eagles in his effort to shoot a 5-under 67 but his round fell just short as he finished two shots back of Kato.
“Today was a really hard day,” Kato told the WGA. “Brian Humphreys played unbelievable, and I just gutted my butt off the last four holes and just found a way to hit some shots down the stretch. It was really cool to be there. It has been a while since I’ve been in that spot, and to feel the nerves was really cool.”
Kato and Stocker dueled down the stretch with Kato’s birdie on No. 16 being the difference-maker. Needing an eagle on the par-5 18th to give Kato a final run, Stocker was unable to apply the pressure, matching Kato with birdies to close the tournament.
When asked what it is like to have his name on the same trophy as Freddie Couples and current hot-hand on the PGA Tour Joel Dahmen, Kato said, “It feels awesome. Honestly, it hasn’t sunk in yet. It is such an honor to be on that trophy with all those names, and something I’ll cherish forever.”
ABOUT THE Washington Amateur
54-hole Individual Stroke Play (Gross only). Cut to
60 players and ties after 36 holes. Must be a
of a WSGA member club.
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