One major upset in the Round of 64 at the 113th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship became the defining story of the day, as Dale Brandt-Richards of Sydney, Australia, who took home medalist honors after 36 holes of stroke play qualifying and earned the No. 1 seed in the match play bracket, was defeated by Tye Gabriel of Portland, Ore. 2 and 1 in today’s opening round of match play.
The championship’s opening round of match play was the scene for 32 match-ups on the 7, 154-yard par 70 layout. The championship is being held at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash. and is conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
Gabriel had finished stroke-play qualifying on the cutline of 5-over par 145, and had to go to a playoff to determine whether he would make into match play at all. He made a lengthy putt to keep his chances alive in the second playoff hole, and made it through the four playoff holes to claim the 64th and final seed in match play.
“I couldn’t make any putts; I putted pretty badly in the stroke play,” Gabriel said. “But, in the playoff I made a couple putts that got me some momentum, and I feel that those putts really gave me some confidence. That was the difference between the stoke play and today, just my putting.”
The putting proved to be essential for Gabriel in his early morning match against the Aussie medalist, who had carded only a single bogey over the 36-hole qualifying rounds. In their match, Gabriel made five birdies to Brandt-Richards’ three, including the dagger, a 30-foot bomb on the 17th hole to end the match.
Gabriel knew when heading to the playoff, that the result of making it through would be to face a top seed, but it did not shake his confidence before the Round of 64 match-up.
“I honestly wasn’t too concerned with it, because I had been hitting the ball really well,” he said. “This course sets up well for me, and I knew if I could just get to match play, that anything could happen. So I actually went in pretty confident, because I finally made some putts in the playoff.”
Frank Garber of Kirkland, Wash., who had shot the round of the championship with a 7-under par 63 in the second round of stroke play qualifying, was taken to extra holes by playoff qualifier Dillon Jahns of Othello, Wash. Garber, the No. 3 seed and 2013 Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Player of the Year, birdied the 19th hole allowed him to stave off the upset bid by Jahns.
Brothers Andrew and Aaron Whalen of Ephrata, Wash. both advanced to the Round of 32. Their potential to meet one another could happen in the quarterfinals, should both advance to that point.
A second potential family reunion could occur in the Round of 16 between Clayton and Cole Madey of West Linn, Ore. Clayton, the No. 52 seed, upset Kennewick, Wash. native Nicholaus Mandell 5 and 4 to advance.
A total of five matches went to extra holes in today’s Round of 64. All but one of which ended on the first playoff hole. The final match of the day, between Matt Seramin of San Geronimo, Calif. and Jordan Weir of El Dorado Hills, Calif. went 20 holes and ended when Weir made birdie to punch the final ticket into the Round of 32.
The first tee time in tomorrow’s Round of 32 is 7:30 a.m. and the first tee time in the Round of 16 will be 12:30 p.m.
Past champions of the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship include Tiger Woods, Jeff Quinney, Ben Crane, Jeff Coston, Nick Flanagan, Jim McLean and PNGA Hall of Famers Chandler Egan, Harry Givan, Jack Westland, Bud Ward and George Holland, among others. After winning the 1994 championship, Woods said, “The PNGA Men’s Amateur will always be very special to me since it’s my first men’s amateur victory.” Watch a preview here.