University Place, Wash. – Joshua Koo of Cerritos, Calif. defeated Ben Borgida of Shoreline, Wash. 1-up in the 36-hole final match to win the 121st Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship, held this week at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
Borgida had built a commanding 4-up lead after the morning 18, and still held a 3-up lead after 27 holes. But Koo won four of the next six holes, and grabbed his first lead of the match on the 33rd hole, when Borgida couldn’t save par after missing the green on the par-3.
On the 36th hole, a 541-yard par-5, Koo hit a 242-yard 3-iron for his second shot, with the ball stopping 10 feet from the hole. His two-putt birdie clinched the match.
“In the afternoon round I felt the momentum was starting to shift,” Koo says. “Ben was starting to struggle off the tee, and I was hitting greens consistently and getting the ball close to the hole.”
But Koo missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the seventh hole of the afternoon round which would have won the hole, lost the eighth hole, then missed a 4-footer on the ninth which would have won that hole.
“I just had to keep my head down and trust the momentum would stay in my favor,” he said.
When Borgida hooked his tee shot up into the sand dunes on 10 in the afternoon round, that was the opening that Koo had been waiting for. Koo won 10, won 11, missed a 6-foot eagle putt on 12 which would have won that hole, halved 13, then won 14 and 15, all leading up to his meteoric second shot on the 36th hole of the day to clinch the championship.
Koo, the No. 12 seed in this championship, had competed in the U.S. Junior Amateur last year, but that was his only previous match-play experience. He competed one year on the University of Washington men’s golf team, making the squad in most of the Huskies’ tournaments, but is transferring to play for Pepperdine University in the fall.
Borgida’s goal this week was to make it to match play, and he easily accomplished that by earning the No. 2 seed in this championship.
“From then on I felt I was playing with house money,” he said. “I played in this championship last year (when it was held at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash.), but didn’t make it to match play, so this entire week was a great bonus. It’s been a super great experience.”
Borgida is a rising sophomore on the Washington State University men’s golf team.
First held in 1899, the PNGA Men’s Amateur is one of the oldest amateur golf championships in the world. Players will compete 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 names such as 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.
This year marks one of the strongest international fields in the championship’s long history.
The PNGA Men’s Amateur is one of 11 major, regional, amateur championships for men, women, juniors and senior conducted annually by the PNGA throughout the Northwest.
About Chambers Bay
Chambers Bay opened in 2007 and was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. Owned by Pierce County, the municipal course has already been the site of numerous regional and national championships, including the 2010 U.S. Amateur and becoming the first course in the Pacific Northwest to host the U.S. Open, which it did in 2015. It also hosted the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Chambers Bay has twice hosted the Washington Men’s Amateur (2013, 2020) and the Pacific Coast Amateur (2017, 2021). Along with serving as the stroke-play assisting course for this championship, The Home Course has also served as the assisting course to Chambers Bay for two USGA national championships. Visit chambersbaygolf.com and thehomecourse.com for more information.
About the Pacific Northwest Golf Association
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. For more information visit thepnga.org.