Portland, Ore. (September 13, 2012) – Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. continued his impressive summer of play with a final round 1-under-par 70 to capture the 28th Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore.
Brandes entered the final round trailing second round leader Bill Winter of Portland, Ore. by one stroke, but the deficit quickly disappeared after he made a birdie on the par-5 first hole to move into a tie for the lead. The two remained tied through seven holes before Brandes took his first lead with a par on the eighth hole, following a double bogey by Winter.
With the momentum on his side, Brandes seized the opportunity and made birdie on the par-4 ninth hole. “I hit a good drive into the fairway, then a firm 9-iron,” Brandes said, recapping the hole. “You don’t want to be short there because the pin was tucked near the water,” he continued. “I made sure to miss long. I was just trying to lag the putt because Brad (Karns) had a similar putt and rolled it past. I hit it good and it was a lag that went in.”
Faced with a three-stroke deficit and only nine holes to play, Winter responded with a birdie on the 10th hole. “Bill (Winter) birdied in front of me and I said ‘Let’s knock this in,’” said Brandes. He did just that, draining his birdie to maintain the lead. “The greens are tricky here, but so perfect and pure,” Brandes said. “The golf course was fabulous.” (Watch Brandes’ post-round interview here.)
Winter refused to give in, posting three birdies on holes 10, 14, and 16 to add a bit of intrigue. “I wish I had those two holes back (he double bogeyed holes eight and 13), but I battled back,” said Winter. “But he (Brandes) is just not going to make any mistakes.” Brandes remained cool despite back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 and saw his lead slip to one stroke. A double bogey by Winter on the 13th hole, followed by a birdie from Brandes on the 15th hole effectively sealed the deal. When the pair traded pars on the final two holes, and the last putt hit the bottom of the cup on the 18th hole, Brandes breathed a sigh of relief.
He capped another impressive, grueling week with a three-day total of 5-over-par 218 to earn a two stroke victory over Winter, who finished alone in second place after a final round, 2-over-par 73. “The greens are beautiful,” Brandes said after the round. “I had not played here before, and I came down to play in this championship to play this course and it exceeded my expectations.”
With the win, Brandes becomes the first player to win the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship and Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship in the same year. He also won the 2012 Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship in June and the 2012 Washington State Champion of Champions in May. Next up for Brandes is a trip to Galloway, N.J., as he was selected to represent Washington State in the 2012 USGA State Team Championship next week. “I thought last summer was pretty good but this summer was even better,” said Brandes. “I did make a little change to drive it straight and controlled and I’m just getting it done.”
Brad Karns of Vancouver, Wash. finished alone in third place with a three-day total of 11-over-par 224. Playing in the final group with Brandes and Winter, Karns was simply unable to make the birdies necessary to keep pace with the leaders and settled for a 4-over-par 75 that included four bogeys.
The round of the championship came from Matthew Hennick of Kenmore, Wash., who vaulted into a tie for 4th place after posting a final round at 2-under-par 69, the only round in the 60’s during the entire championship. Also joining him in a tie for 4th place at 12-over-par 225 is Alex Stamey from Mill Creek, Wash., who moved within five shots of the lead after a 2-under-par 34 on the front nine, but dropped two strokes on the back nine to finish at even-par 71 for the day.
The PNGA championship trailer will next be spotted in Bend, Ore. and Sunriver Resort for the Pacific Northwest Women’s Senior Team Championship on September 17-19 and the Pacific Northwest Men’s Senior Team Championship on September 19-21. Follow all of the latest updates and live scoring at www.thepnga.org.
Founded in 1925, Columbia Edgewater Country Club is located only a few miles from downtown Portland and boasts a top-notch layout that is firm and challenging, yet playable year round. Designed by A.V. Macan, who also designed or renovated Royal Colwood Golf Club (1913), Victoria Golf Club (1930), Fircrest Golf Club (1924), and Seattle Golf Club (1950), Columbia Edgewater measures up to 6,823 yards, with tree-lined fairways and fast greens guarded by 55 bunkers. For several years it was the site of the LPGA Tour’s Safeway Classic, and was a favorite among the women professionals because of its condition. Jim Achenbach, Senior Writer for Golfweek magazine, was quoted as saying, “I’ve been to hundreds of LPGA events, but never have seen a golf course that looked better. In my opinion, Columbia Edgewater is one of the best golf courses on the West Coast and one of America’s great old courses.”