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49th Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship, Marine Drive Golf Club – Round One

Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver, B.C. bills itself as “The Club of Champions” because many of its members belong to various regional and national golf halls of fame, and because 25 percent of the club’s members are single-digit handicap players, and because several regional championships have been held at the A.V. Macan-designed club. In other words, if you play at Marine Drive, it usually means you can play.

Well, today was Day One of the 49th Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship, and the venerable course, played today at just 6,253 yards, more than held its own against the region’s finest senior amateur players. Of the 71 players who teed it up in the championship, only one player – Mark Spooner of West Vancouver, B.C. – managed to break par, carding a 1-under 70 on the par-71 layout. Spooner had six birdies on the day, but also had five bogeys in a roller-coaster round.

Mixed in among the early groups that featured some of the championship’s favorites, who were sent out to set the pace, Spooner held his own against past champions Chris Maletis (2007, ’09, ’10), Kent Brown (2005), Tom Brandes (2012), Larry Daniels (2011) among others.

After an opening round of 3-over par 74, defending champion Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. sits just three shots off the pace, while three-time past champion Maletis of Portland, Ore. is five back, tied with Golf Hall of Fame of BC member Steve Berry of Vancouver, B.C.

Probably the hottest grouping of the day was that of John Gallacher of Burnaby and Richard Jonson of Seattle. Gallacher sits alone in second place after carding an even-par 71. After a double-bogey on the relatively easy par-5 second hole and being 3-over par after five holes, Gallacher went 3-under par over his next 13 holes. Jonson, meanwhile, sits tied for fifth after finishing a solid round of 73 that included 14 pars.

Notes: past champion Tom Phillips (2008) of Seattle withdrew from the championship due to illness, as did Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famer and legendary amateur Doug Roxburgh. After tweaking his back a couple weeks ago, Roxburgh, who is a member of Marine Drive, was still not up to playing in the championship.