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Brandes, Hunter, Cook and Fisher take titles in PNGA championships

Walla Walla, Wash. – PNGA Hall of Famer Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. won the 56th PNGA Senior Men’s Amateur; David Hunter of Federal Way, Wash. claims 11th Super Senior Men’s, Rosie Cook of Bend, Ore. captured the 34th Senior Women’s; and PNGA Hall of Famer Marcia Fisher of Molalla, Ore. goes wire-to-wire in winning the 9th Super Senior Women’s Amateur.

The four championships were held concurrently this week at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash., and conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA). All four were three-day, 54-hole stroke-play competitions.

Tom Brandes

Brandes shot all three rounds under par (71-69-70), the only player in the field to do so, and was six shots clear of second-place finishers Erik Hanson of Kirkland, Wash. and Michael Jackson of Redmond, Ore. Jackson had started today’s final round with a 1-stroke lead over Brandes, but stumbled to a 5-over 41 on today’s front nine, allowing Brandes to take the lead and easily bring the title home on the back nine.

“We had a great golf course to play on this week,” Brandes said. “The greens were perfect, and Wine Valley put out the best for us. It was a lot different golf course today (because of the wind), and to get a par on the first hole really set me up and calmed me down, because I knew there were going to be some tough holes today.”

For Brandes, this is his sixth title in the Senior Men’s Amateur, having also won it in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In 2015, Brandes was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame. Among his many accomplishments, his other PNGA titles are the 2006 and 2012 Mid-Amateur and 2020 Master-40.

Watch Brandes’ post-round interview.

David Hunter

Hunter put together rounds of 71-74-74 to win the Super Senior Men’s by two shots over Denny Taylor of Gladstone, Ore. Hunter suffered a nearly disastrous triple-bogey seven on the par-4 second hole followed by a bogey on the short par-5 third hole before settling down and going 2-under-par the rest of the way. Taylor birdied the par-5 18th, but it was not enough to catch Hunter.

In 2019, Hunter won the Washington Super Senior Men’s Amateur.

Watch Hunter’s post-round interview.

In very windy conditions, Cook shot a solid 2-over-par 74 in today’s final round, which included shooting 2-under-par on the back nine. She cruised to a fairly easy win, with second-place finisher Lisa Smego of Oro Valley, Ariz. coming in at nine shots back.

Cook is a mainstay in OGA championships, and has been selected several times to represent Oregon in the PNGA Lamey Cup and the former USGA Women’s State Team event. This is her first PNGA title.

“My first thought is to play my own game,” Cook said after her round. “I don’t think about winning. I try to think about enjoying the day, and enjoying the round. I did struggle on the front nine, so I just tried to focus on my putting, which is a stronger part of my game. So, I just tried to hit greens, make it close, and go from there. I was a little nervous, so it was great to get out there and meet other players; it’s good to know them, and learn from them.”

Rosie Cook

Watch Cook’s post-round interview.

In the Super Senior Women’s, Fisher went wire-to-wire in capturing the title. She opened with a 1-under-par 71, the only under-par round of the entire field in her division, and never looked back.

“I’d never played Wine Valley before,” said Fisher, after today’s final round. “I enjoyed it very much. I like the target golf setting, and that’s what this felt like to me.”

About her opening with a 71, Fisher said, “It didn’t matter what I did, it worked. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, because it’s difficult to follow it up the second day. I had gotten some good information from my sons (who had played the course before) about where to be and not to be, and that was very helpful.” Fisher would shoot 79-78 over her final two rounds.

“I was pretty nervous this morning, had the butterflies going,” Fisher said about starting today’s final round. “It feels really great to have my name on another PNGA trophy. I love playing in the PNGA events, and always want to participate whenever I can.” She is entered to play in the PNGA Women’s Mid-Amateur, to be held July 19-23 at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.

Watch Fisher’s post-round interview.

Marcia Fisher

Fisher was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame in 2007. Among her many accomplishments was twice winning the PNGA Women’s Amateur (1989, 1991), and the Oregon Women’s Amateur an astonishing seven times.

The Super Senior Men’s field features defending champion Gary Vanier of Driggs, Idaho, and past champions Gay Davis (2012) of Portland, Ore. and Carey Watson (2018) of Bend, Ore. Also in the field is Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famer, Scott Masingill of Payette, Idaho.

In the field of the Senior Women’s Amateur are defending champion Leslie Folsom of Tukwila, Wash., and past champion Leilani Norman (2015) of Eugene, Ore.

These four championships were not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PNGA Senior and Super Senior Men’s and Women’s amateur championships are four of 11 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 member 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 member associations throughout the Northwest.