Drew Warford of Snoqualmie, Wash. defeated Dennis Geissler of Burlington, Wash. 2&1 in the final matchto win the 64th Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur; while Cosette Anderson of Bellevue, Wash. defeated Angela Arora of Surrey, B.C. 5&4 in the final match to win the 63rd Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur.
Both championships were held concurrently this week at TimberStone Golf Course in Caldwell, Idaho and conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
Warford, the medalist and No. 1 seed entering match play of the Junior Boys’, successfully defended his title in the championship, having also won last year when the championship was held at Florence (Ore.) Golf Links.
Warford becomes just the third player in the history of the championship to win back-to-back titles. Gregg Patterson won in 1982-1983, and Larry Lee won in 1958-1959.
Warford had cruised his way through the bracket. In yesterday’s semifinal match against Stephen Dai, Warford birdied the first seven holes, and finished with nine birdies in the 15 holes of the match, on his way to winning 5&3.
Today’s final match was a different story, however. Geissler held a 1-up lead after the morning round, but Warford squared the match with a birdie on the par-4 first hole of the afternoon round. The was still all square after the 24th hole, but Warford won the 25th hole with a par, and gradually built a 3-up lead before closing out the match with a par on the 35th hole.
“I’m feeling really tired,” Warford said after the match. “It was a long day, and a long week. I played really well today, but Dennis played unbelievable as well. But it’s all been fun, though.”
Along with defending his title in this championship, earlier this summer Warford won the Washington 4A High School Boys’ State individual championship title, and was the medalist at a sectional qualifier for the U.S. Junior Amateur. He will be a junior at Mount Si High School in North Bend, Wash., and plays on the school’s golf team. He learned the game from his father Chad, who played on the University of Washington golf team.
Geissler recently graduated from Burlington-Edison High School and will attend St. Martin’s University in the fall to play on their men’s golf team. Earlier this year, Geissler won the Bill Egbers Memorial Golf Tournament. He was the No. 11 seed in this week’s championship.
In the Junior Girls’ final match, Arora had taken a quick 1-up lead by winning the first hole, but Anderson squared the match on the sixth hole and then went on a tear, finishing the morning round at 6-up, and increasing her lead to 8-up after 22 holes. She cruised from there to her 5&4 victory.
“The front nine (of the morning round) was very close, but I gained a lot of ground on the back nine this morning,” Anderson said. “I finished strong.”
That is an understatement, as Anderson seemed to get stronger as the day went on, consistently outdriving her opponent by 20-30 yards, and her stamina seemed to make the difference after a long week of golf.
“I love match play,” Anderson said. “I played in the PNGA Women’s Amateur last month, and really enjoyed that. Actually playing against somebody rather than the golf course is a really different situation.” Anderson made it to the quarterfinals of the Women’s Amateur, losing to eventual champion Gigi Stoll.
Anderson, the No. 13 seed in the Junior Girls’, has signed a letter of intent to play golf at Elon University in North Carolina.
Arora had earlier won the BC Bantam Girls’ Championship.
The rich history of the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship includes past champions such as World Golf Hall of Fame member Fred Couples, Web.com Tour players Alex Prugh and Andrew Yun, and John Bodenhamer, the former CEO and executive director of the PNGA who now is a senior director at the USGA.
The storied history of the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur includes past champions Jo Ann Washam, Peggy Conley, Joan Edwards-Powell, Mary Budke, and JoAnne Gunderson Carner, all of whom would later be inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame after storied amateur and professional careers. Other past champions include current LPGA Tour players Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang.
To be eligible for the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ and Girls’ Amateurs, contestants must be 18 years of age or younger on August 17, 2018.
These championships are two of 15 regional championships conducted annually by the PNGA.
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.