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Tyler Daniels medals at PNGA Master-40; match-play begins tomorrow

A little home cooking and some local course knowledge goes a long way, as Tyler Daniels shot 5-under-par 67 in today’s stroke-play qualifying to earn medalist honors at the 44th Pacific Northwest Master-40 Amateur Championship, being held this week at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash.

Tyler Daniels medals at PNGA Master-40; match-play begins tomorrow
The PNGA flag display blows in the wind during the opening round of the championship

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Daniels is the golf course superintendent at Wine Valley. He carries a big stick, and a +0.6 handicap on his home course, and now will be the No. 1 seed in the match-play bracket, with the championship’s single-elimination matches set to begin tomorrow.

Daniels’ round began inauspiciously with a bogey on the opening hole, but he finished strong, with two birdies on the day as well as two eagles, on the par-5 seventh and the par-5 18th.

“Yes, a little local knowledge helps on this course,” Daniels said after his round. “Especially on these greens. If you’re not in the right spot, you’re in trouble.”

When asked about the upcoming matches, he said with a grin, “I guess my assistant might not be too happy, because I got an early tee time (for my first match) so he’s going to have to finish getting the course ready.”

Thirty-two players qualified for the championship flight. There was a 7-for-2 playoff this afternoon for the final two spots, with Paul Houvener of Mill Creek, Wash. claiming a spot with a birdie on the first playoff hole, and Chris Sonnichsen of Richland, Wash. claiming the last spot with a par on the fourth hole.

The championship, which is conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA), consists of the top amateur male golfers in the Pacific Northwest over the age of 40.

The Round of 32 and Round of 16 in the championship flight will take place on Tuesday, June 25. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played on Wednesday, followed by the final match of 18 holes on Thursday, June 27. All matches are played at scratch.