Jeff Strickland of Mill Creek, Wash. won the 44th Pacific Northwest Master-40 Amateur Championship, beating Brad Karns of Vancouver, Wash. 3&1 in today’s final match. The championship was held this week at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash., and conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
Under cloudy, cool, and breezy conditions, with the rainfall the night before softening the course, Strickland, the No. 13 seed, birdied the par-4 first hole, and never trailed in the scheduled 18-hole match. He ended up with four birdies on the day, despite not hitting a fairway between the seventh and 15th holes.
“I didn’t miss too many shots,” Strickland said after the match. “But I was playing against a tough guy, so I had to make sure I kept it going.”
After both players bogeyed the short par-3 14th, Strickland put his foot on the gas on the uphill par-5 15th, hitting his second into the front greenside bunker and blasting out to 12 feet and sinking the putt for a birdie and taking the hole to put him 2-up with three holes to play.
Strickland closed out the match on the par-4 17th, sinking a downhill eight-foot birdie putt.
Strickland had his good friend, and roommate for the week, Brett Curtis as his caddie in today’s final match. Strickland had defeated Curtis in yesterday’s semifinal match. “There was a lot of chatter in our room last night,” Strickland said. “It was a lot of fun.”
“Yes, Jeff made some really good shots today,” said Karns, the No. 10 seed. “You think you might have an advantage at some point. The 12th and 13th holes were pivotal. Jeff put it in the left wash on 12 and then hit a great shot and put it on the green and walked off with a halve. I thought I had another chance on 13 when he put it in the fairway bunker, but then he hit another great shot and I had to sink a 25-footer just to halve the hole. It was a good battle. Jeff made some good putts coming down at the end, and he earned the victory.”
Karns was a formidable opponent, and is familiar with Wine Valley. He won the 2016 Washington State Senior Amateur, held that year at Wine Valley, and has also competed in several Northwest Open Invitationals at Wine Valley. Karns has also qualified for the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur championships. He plans to play in this year’s Washington State Mid-Amateur, and the Pacific Northwest Mid-Amateur.
The Master-40 Amateur Championship, which is conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA), consists of the top amateur male golfers in the Pacific Northwest over the age of 40.
Opened in 2009, Wine Valley Golf Club was designed by Dan Hixson, a native of Portland, Ore. who has designed other top Northwest courses. The course has already hosted numerous local and regional championships, has been the home of the annual Northwest Open since 2010, and earlier this month was the site of the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier.
The Pacific Northwest Master-40 Amateur is one of 15 major, regional, amateur championships for men, women, juniors, and seniors conducted annually by the PNGA throughout the Northwest.
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.