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PNGA Player of the Year Cole Madey dominates stacked field on first day of Sahalee Players Championship

UCLA sophomore Cole Madey continued his strong competitive year by posting two consecutive rounds of 4-under-par 68 to take a four-stroke lead after the first day of competition at the 24th Sahalee Players Championship (SPC) at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.

Cole Madey tees off to begin his opening round at the 24th Annual Sahalee Players Championship.

Last year’s Pacific Northwest Golf Association Player of the Year, and Oregon Amateur champion, got off to a hot start in the championship administered by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, making birdie on three of his first four holes in the morning session of the 36-hole first-day marathon.

“It felt pretty easy all day,” Madey of West Linn, Ore. said. “I started putting well at the beginning, I wasn’t hitting it too well and then got everything to balance out.”

Madey’s afternoon round was flawless, making four birdies while avoiding a single bogey on a day that saw Sahalee’s diabolical greens confound many of the players in the elite international field.

But Madey won’t be able to breathe easy. A number of the world’s top players are well within striking distance heading into Tuesday’s third round, with University of Texas-bound star Cole Hammer of Houston, Boise State sophomore Brian Humphreys of Vancouver, Wash., Australian Nathan Barbieri and BYU sophomore Peter Kuest of Fresno, Calif. all tied for second just four strokes back at 4-under par.

“It was tough,” said Hammer, who recently teamed with fellow high school notable Garrett Barber to dominate the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball championship in Florida. “There was a big emphasis on being in the right place in the fairway because even if you’re in the right or left side of the fairway, if it’s the wrong place, you can be blocked out by trees, so setting yourself up with a good tee shot was really important today. And I did that well.” Hammer is currently ranked No. 43 in the World Amateur Golf rankings.

Cole Hammer

“What a fabulous first day,” said SPC tournament director Kevin White. “Guys had to bring their A game, and it was a treat to see such stellar golf from these amazing young athletes from all over the world. The next two days are going to be pretty exciting. We’ve got at least a dozen guys easily within striking distance of the lead.”

That includes Australian star and former U.S. Junior Amateur champion Min Woo Lee, the runner-up in last year’s SPC. The No. 6-ranked amateur in the world shook off a couple of mistakes to finish his afternoon round with two straight birdies to stand at 2-under, six shots off the lead, after the first day.

The 72-hole stroke play championship consists of 36 holes played on Monday, July 2, 18 holes on Tuesday, and the final round of 18 holes played on Wednesday, July 4.

The tournament schedule, biographies of each competitor, tee times, pairings and live scoring will be available at Spectator admission and parking for the Sahalee Players Championship are free.

The 69-player field of the world’s best college and junior players begin play in the third round at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday. The Sahalee Players Championship is powered by Sports Radio 950 KJR AM.

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 amateur 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.