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Trevor Yu to meet Mitchell Baldridge in final match at PNGA Men’s Amateur

Trevor Yu of Vancouver, B.C. will meet Mitchell Baldridge of Edgewood, Wash. in Saturday’s championship final match of the 117th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship. The match will be contested over 36 holes, and the two players will tee off in the morning round at 7:30 a.m.

L to R: Trevor Yu and Mitchell Baldridge.

The championship is being held this week at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash., and is conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association.

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Yu, the No. 46 seed, will be a senior next year on the Oregon State University men’s golf team. He has cruised through the bracket so far, winning three of his matches by 6&5 margins, including this morning’s quarterfinal match again Nick Mandell, a former standout on the Washington State University men’s golf team.

Yu had made to the quarterfinals of last year’s championship, and is on track to go deeper this year. In his afternoon semifinal match, he faced OSU teammate Spencer Tibbits, who earlier in the day had defeated Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho, the three-time PNGA Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year.

In last year’s championship, Yu lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Emmett Oh. As a youth, Yu had helped Team British Columbia win a gold medal in golf in the 2013 Canada Summer Games.

“I knew this match with Spencer was going to be tough,” Yu said. “I get to see him play every day (at Oregon State), so I know what he can do, so it feels good to be able to come out on top. The course is pretty open and I hit the ball far, so I tried to use that to my advantage. I got on some heaters out there, stringing together some birdies. This morning’s match ended early (after winning 6&5), so I could rest a little between matches and had some fresh legs going into my match with Spencer.”

When asked whether he liked match play better than stroke play, Yu said, “I seem to like match play. It frees me up and I can just let it go.”

Tibbits won the first hole of today’s semifinal match, but Yu caught him on the par-5 fifth with a two-putt birdie. The two players couldn’t separate from each other, and when Yu won the par-5 10th hole with another two-putt birdie, he kept a firm grip on his lead. On the short par-4 17th, Yu hit a sand wedge from exactly 100 yards to less than a foot from the hole. When Tibbits conceded the birdie putt, he knew he had to sink his 30-foot chip shot from behind the green to extend the match, but it slid by, giving the match to Yu, 2&1.

Tibbits, the No. 63 seed, had defeated the No. 2 seed Jan Schneider in the Round of 64. Tibbits was named the 2016 PNGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year.

In the other semifinal match, the long-hitting Baldridge took it to the 18th hole before closing out Connor Golembeski of Redmond, Wash., 2-up.

“Connor has an unbelievable wedge game,” Baldridge said after his match. “That is super hard to beat. Anything within 60 yards I just told my caddie that he’s going to put this close, and he usually did. On the 14th hole (a par 3 with a peninsula green) I was in a good spot and he ends up chipping in from off the green for birdie to win the hole (and square the match), so that was brutal. He just kept knocking it close all day long.”

Baldridge said he likes match play. “Match play suits my game because I tend to scramble and just put it out there. It’s nice to finally get over the hump, so to speak, and make it into the final match, so that’s kind of a relief to get there.”

Baldridge just finished his senior year playing for the Pacific Lutheran University men’s golf team, where during his junior year was named the Northwest Conference Player of the Year.

Golembeski is a recent graduate of Redmond High School, and will be playing for the University of California-Berkeley in the fall.

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