Tom Brandes (Washington Golf Association photo)
of Bellevue, Wash. eagled the final hole to tie for the lead and then defeated Paul Mitzel of Quincy, Wash. on the first playoff hole to win the 13th Washington Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
This is the third title for Brandes in this championship, having previously won it in 2012 and 2015. Incredibly, all three wins came as a senior, at age 55, 58, and now 65. Brandes turns 66 next month.
Just yesterday, we at AmateurGolf.com posed the question: At 63, is Michael Hughett the oldest state mid-am champ ever?
Hughett won the Oklahoma Mid-Am over the weekend. Two days later, Brandes gave his answer.
The 36-hole stroke-play championship was held at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. and conducted by Washington Golf.
Standing on the tee of the par-4 18th in today’s final round, Brandes trailed Mitzel by two shots. The two were paired in the final group, having tied for the lead after yesterday’s first round, with both shooting 5-under 67. After their tee shots on 18, and from the middle of the fairway, Brandes pulled out a 6-iron, then switched to a 7-iron, and then holed the shot for a stunning eagle to tie Mitzel for the lead and force a playoff.
Brandes and Mitzel then went to the first hole for the playoff, and Brandes promptly birdied it to take home the title.
“It feels good to win,” Brandes said afterward. “I really hadn’t played since May, so I entered this (championship) really just to play in something.”
In describing his improbable eagle on the final hole, Brandes said, “I didn’t know exactly where I stood against Paul. I figured he had it won, so I was just kind of fighting for every shot. I was 180 yards out, and originally pulled out a 6-iron, but I felt a gust of wind, and I said to myself, ‘The greens are dried out, and the pin is way in the back, and you don’t want to go long.’ I flushed the 7-iron, saw it land and roll toward the hole. I didn’t see it go in (because of the contour of the green), but I heard all the guys by the green yell. It was pretty fun.”
In today’s final round, Brandes wore the same shirt he wore when he won this title in 2015.
This is the second state title for Brandes this year, having also won the Washington Senior Men’s Champion of Champions, which was also held at The Home Course. He has been named the WA Golf Senior Men’s Player of the Year 11 times, and in 2015 was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame.
Mitzel had been trying for his first individual state title, having previously won the 2021 Washington Mixed Chapman and the 2022 Washington Men’s Four-Ball, both with other playing partners.
Brian Moon of Lynnwood had the round of the day going. After an even-par 72 in yesterday’s first round, he was 6-under after 15 holes in today’s round, and had come roaring back to catch Mitzel and tie for the lead, but a disastrous triple-bogey seven on the par-4 17th ended his run, and he finished tied for third, three shots back.
Also finishing tied for third is Johnny Carey of Seattle and Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho. Hatley had previously won this championship twice, in 2016 and 2018, and had tied for fourth last year.
View results for Washington Mid-Amateur
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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