Federal Way, Wash. – The Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) will introduce several beneficial changes to the PNGA Championship schedule for the 2016 season. First, the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur and the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur will now be conducted concurrently at the same site. Second, the field size of the PNGA Senior Men’s and Super Senior Men’s Amateur championships will be reduced from 192 to 156. Third, the PNGA will introduce a Men’s and Women’s Super Senior Team Championship. Finally, hosted exemptions will be given to the defending champion and the current champion of the equivalent championship at each of the associations that make up the PNGA (WSGA, IGA, OGA, BC Golf).
All changes have been approved by the PNGA Championship Committee and the PNGA Board of Directors and will take effect immediately for the 2016 season.
“The PNGA is constantly looking at how we can better serve our members and allied associations through a full regional championship schedule for all demographics of golfers,” said Scotty Crouthamel, PNGA Senior Director of Rules and Competition.
The PNGA now annually conducts 16 major regional amateur championships for all playing levels and gender throughout British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
PNGA championships are recognized as among the finest amateur competitions in North America. They are conducted at the best championship-level courses in the region and are administered by the PNGA Championship Department staff. This great tradition of excellence includes some of the region’s finest players on our honor roll of past champions, including Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Jeff Quinney, Ben Crane, Nick Flanagan, JoAnne (Gunderson) Carner, Paige Mackenzie and Taylor Leon, as well as many others who are now members of the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame.
The change to the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur and Junior Girls’ Amateur will result in the championships being held concurrently at the same site. This change brings several benefits, including 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying for the girls, which now enables the championships to have increased awareness and points from the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), Junior Golf Scoreboard, World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), and college coaches across the country.
“We have been thinking about this change for a while and it just makes sense to have the top junior boys and girls together at the same site,” Crouthamel noted. “By conducting these championships jointly we will be able to attract top level host clubs and it gives families with a son and a daughter the opportunity to both play and not be at different sites in different states at the same time.”
The field size will total 144, made up of 96 boys and 48 girls. Both championships will feature single-elimination match play, with the boys competing in a Championship Flight of 32, and eight lower flights of eight players each, with all players having the opportunity to compete in match play. Girls will now compete in single-elimination match play, with a Championship Flight of 16, and four lower flights of eight players each.
Another slight change occurs in the PNGA Senior and Super Senior Men’s Amateur championships. The traditional field size of 192 will now be reduced to 156. The Senior Amateur will consist of 72 players, the Super Senior Amateur will be 36 players, and the Open Division, which includes net competition and a team four-ball format, will be made up of 48 players.
“This change was made to have a more manageable field size with the three championships going on concurrently,” explained Crouthamel. “It became difficult to maintain the pace of play and ability to play the Senior and Super Senior championships in pairing groups of three.”
The PNGA Men’s and Women’s Senior Team championships are entering their 34th year and will now have a Men’s and Women’s Super Senior Team Championship added alongside. To be eligible for the Super Senior Championships, players must be at least 65 years of age, compared to just 50 years old for the Senior championships.
Crouthamel added, “There are a lot of players who have been supporting this championship for many years and still want to compete at a high level, so it just seemed natural to add the Super Senior championships. We added individual Super Senior championships in the past seven years and they have been very popular, so this will now give those players an opportunity to team up and compete together amongst players of similar age.”
The championship will now allow for 40 teams in the Men’s and Women’s Senior field and 20 teams in the Super Senior fields. Additionally, the Super Seniors will play from a shorter yardage.
In addition to these changes, the PNGA will also introduce a new policy for hosted exemptions into their championships. The PNGA will extend an invitation and exemption to the champions of Idaho Golf Association (IGA), Oregon Golf Association (OGA), Washington State Golf Association (WSGA), and BC Golf championships. The winner of the equivalent golf association championship will be exempted into the field of the corresponding PNGA championship.
“In order for PNGA championships to be the truly best regional championship, we want to have the state and regional golf associations’ champions present to compete,” Crouthamel said. “What better way to reward the allied association champions than to exempt them into the PNGA’s equivalent championship.”
The PNGA will also now grant a hosted exemption for the defending champion of all PNGA championships so that they may come back the following year and defend their title.
“Everyone is very excited for the upcoming championship season and to implement the talked about changes,” Crouthamel added. “The schedule is filled out and we have many remarkable host clubs ready to welcome the top players in the Northwest.”
PNGA Championship entries will launch on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at www.thepnga.org.