Andrew Whalen of Ephrata, Wash. and Carl Yuan of Lake Mary, Fla. will meet in the final match of the 115th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship. The two players will tee off in their 36-hole match at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, July 23, at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash.
The championship is being conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
Whalen defeated Pete Griffith of Westlake Village, Calif., 1-up, in this afternoon’s semifinal match. Whalen never trailed in the match, and stood on the tee of the par-3 14th hole with a 3-up lead. Griffith then dropped two birdies in a row to win the next two holes, cutting into Whalen’s lead. The two players traded pars for the last three holes, and Whalen held on for the 1-up win.
Whalen first entered the golf scene in 2011 when, as an unheralded player, he made it to the quarterfinal match of the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, being held that year at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. In that quarterfinal match, he fell to the championship’s eventual winner, a young Jordan Spieth.
Whalen, the No. 16 seed, had defeated No. 1 seed James Grierson in the Round of 16. Whalen qualified for and played in the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, and last week held the first round lead of the Rosauers Open Invitational, a professional tournament held in Spokane, Wash. Now a senior at Northwestern University, he made it to the Round of 16 in the 2012 PNGA Men’s Amateur.
In this afternoon’s other semifinal match, Yuan came from behind for a 1-up victory over Drew McCullough of Richland, Wash. Yuan won three of the last five holes of the match. McCullough, who earlier this month won the Seattle Amateur and will be a junior at the University of Wyoming in the fall, had made a costly bogey on the par-4 17th which gave Yuan the lead, and when the two traded pars on the 18th, the match went to Yuan.
Yuan, who earned the No. 2 seed in the championship’s stroke-play qualifying rounds, will be a sophomore in the fall at the University of Washington. Earlier this summer, he had qualified into the Sectional stage for the 2016 U.S. Open.
The championship began with a full field of 168 players, 64 of whom advanced to the single-elimination match-play bracket after two rounds of stroke-play qualifying. Each match was then contested over 18 holes. However, tomorrow’s final match will be played over 36 holes.
Click here to follow along with the final match’s live hole-by-hole scoring.
One of the oldest amateur golf championships in the world, Whalen and Yuan will be competing for the Macan Cup, which is named after legendary golf course designer A.V. Macan, a member of the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame and winner of this championship in 1913.
Past champions include Tiger Woods, Jeff Quinney, Ben Crane, Jeff Coston, Nick Flanagan, Jim McLean and Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famers Chandler Egan, Harry Givan, Jack Westland, Bud Ward and George Holland, among many others.
The Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship is one of 15 major, regional, amateur championships for men, women, juniors, and seniors conducted annually by the PNGA throughout the Northwest.
Wine Valley previously hosted the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship in 2012, and also was the site of the 2013 Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur.