Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. came from behind in the final round to successfully defend his title and win the 53rd Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship, while John Gallacher of Burnaby, B.C. went wire-to-wire for the title in the 8th Pacific Northwest Super Senior Men’s Amateur.
The two championships were held concurrently at Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club and Loomis Trail Golf Club, both of which are located in Blaine, Wash. The championships were conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
Brandes started today’s final round four shots behind second-round leader Pat O’Donnell of Happy Valley, Ore., but the wild swing in momentum came on today’s front nine when O’Donnell shot 5-over and Brandes shot even-par to take a 1-shot advantage heading into the back nine.
“With the rain coming down for the first five holes today, it was tough playing, and I knew that if could just shoot around even par, I should be able to make up some ground,” Brandes said.
It had become a two-man race, with Brandes and O’Donnell five shots clear of their next nearest competitor. Also, the players are good friends and had been rooming together this week during the championship, and were riding in the same cart in today’s final round.
Brandes still held that slim one-shot advantage standing on the 18th tee, but bogeyed the final hole, and when O’Donnell parred it, the two players went to extra holes to decide the outcome.
“Pat made a great par on 18 to force the playoff,” Brandes said. “The rain came back for our last two holes, and Pat didn’t flinch and that was the difference.”
On the second playoff hole, O’Donnell’s second shot plugged in a greenside bunker and he had to take an unplayable lie. Brandes two-putted for par for the title.
This is the fourth title in this championship for Brandes, having also won in 2012, 2013 and 2016. Last week, Brandes won the Washington Senior Open.
When asked how he’s able to keep his streak of good play going, Brandes said, “Staying healthy when you’re 60 is a big part of it. I love to play and love to compete, so as long as I have those two things I’ll keep going.”
O’Donnell had been named the 2016 PNGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year, having won the 2016 Oregon Senior Amateur and Oregon Senior Stroke Play.
Click here for Brandes’ post-round interview.
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In the Super Senior Amateur, Gallacher fired a 1-under 71 in the first round and never looked back. He followed it up with consecutive 1-over 73s in the second and third rounds, finishing three shots ahead of second-place finishers Gudmund Lindbjerg of Port Moody, B.C. and Lance Lundy of Pemberton, B.C.
Gallacher had won the 2014 PNGA Men’s Senior Team Championship with Lindbjerg as his partner.
Tom Kubisa of Bremerton, Wash., who won this title last year, finished tied for fourth.
“We were pretty even all the way through, and we all played really well,” Gallacher said. “Conditions were tough, with the rain most of the day and the wind picking up. The course held up, and the greens were really good.”
Later this summer Gallacher will be playing in the Canadian Senior Amateur as well as the British Senior Amateur.
Click here to watch Gallacher’s post-round interview.
The PNGA was founded on February 4, 1899. It is a 501c3 charitable, international, amateur golf association dedicated to preserving the true spirit of golf by supporting its allied associations, conducting quality championships, and promoting activities beneficial to golfers in the Pacific Northwest. For more than a century, the Association has been a pioneer in developing competitions and services and its mission has grown and evolved. Today, the PNGA remains committed to being a truly regional organization providing benefits and services to its members and member clubs throughout the Northwest.