Emmett Oh of Calgary, Alberta birdied the 36th hole to defeat Derek Bayley of Rathdrum, Idaho 1-up in today’s final match to win the 116th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship.
The championship was held this week at Emerald Valley Golf & Resort in Creswell, Ore., and was conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
Oh won the first hole in the match, and although Bayley took a 1-up led after four holes, Oh won the next two holes to take another 1-up lead and never fell behind again.
After the morning round, Oh still had his 1-up lead, and built it to 3-up after 26 holes. But Bayley clawed his way back into the match, squaring the match on the 33rd hole and after 35 holes of play, Oh and Bayley still stood All Square on the tee of the 36th hole, a 577-yard par-5.
On the final hole, Oh hit a good drive, while Bayley pushed his tee shot right into the trees, from where he had to punch out to about 150 yards from the green. From there he put his third shot onto the green, about 40 feet from the hole. Oh hit his second shot to the front fringe of the green, and chipped up to just a few inches from the hole and Bayley conceded the birdie. Bayley’s long birdie putt, and chance to tie the hole and push the match to extra holes, missed the hole on the left side, giving the hole, and the match and title, to Oh.
“A 36-hole match is such a long day,” Oh said. “The feeling is that, early on, as long as you stay within an arm’s length of the guy, that’s all you want to do at first. And then every hole on the second 18 things start to ramp up a little more. That final nine holes, it was pressure packed. It felt like Derek had all the momentum. He played super solid coming home, didn’t give me anything, and the course played tough. It was tough just to make pars. To birdie 18 to win felt really good. My hands were shaking pretty good on that last chip, and I’m just glad I didn’t have to putt it (after chipping so close).”
Afterward, Oh said, “What is it, nine rounds over five days? I’ve never played that much tournament golf in a week. I’ve never made it to a final match before in an event like this. I can’t really express to finally, you know, get a win under my belt this year. I’m just really happy right now.”
Oh, the No. 13 seed in the championship’s match-play bracket, is a recent graduate of the University of Houston. Earlier this summer he set a course record in being the medalist at a local qualifier for the 2017 U.S. Open.
This is Oh’s first win in five years. He has come close this summer, finishing second and third in locals events in Alberta. Of this victory, Oh said, “It just feels really good. I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time.”
— PNGA Championships (@PNGALIVE) July 15, 2017
Bayley, the No. 7 seed, is a rising senior at Washington State University. He previously has won the 2016 Idaho State Amateur, and also the 2016 Rosauers Invitational, playing against the region’s professionals. He finished second in the 2016 Washington State Amateur, losing in a six-hole playoff. He also won the 2012 PNGA Men’s Amateur Public Links, and last week finished tied for 22nd in the Sahalee Players Championship.
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, with the final match being played over 36 holes.
Oh now adds his name to 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.
— PNGA Championships (@PNGALIVE) July 15, 2017
First held in 1899, the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur is one of the oldest amateur golf championships in the world, and its 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.
Emerald Valley previously hosted the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship in 2007, and also was the site of the 2014 Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur. The course has also hosted U.S. Open qualifiers, most recently in 2014, as well as Oregon men’s amateurs, a U.S. Amateur qualifier last year and numerous high school state championships.
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.