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Upsets in Rounds of 32 and 16 at PNGA Master-40

Match play got underway today in the 44th Pacific Northwest Master-40 Amateur Championship, being held this week at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. The Round of 32 was held this morning, with the Round of 16 being contested this afternoon.

Signage at Wine Valley instructs players on which way to go

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Tyler Daniels, the No. 1 seed in the bracket after firing a 5-under 67 in yesterday’s stroke-playing qualifying, eked out a win in this morning’s Round of 32 match against Chris Sonnichsen of Richland, Wash. After building a commanding 4-up lead after nine holes, Daniels held on for dear life as Sonnichsen mounted a charge on the back nine. The two players stood on the 18th tee with Daniels holding a slim 1-up lead, and when both players made par on the final hole, Daniels had his win and advanced to the afternoon’s Round of 16.

Daniels, the greens superintendent at Wine Valley, was relieved to walk away with the win. “I pretty much choked it up out there,” he said. “You got to give Chris credit, he never gave up, and he had me sweating.” Yesterday, Sonnichsen was the last survivor in a seven-man playoff, and had claimed the No. 32 seed, the final seed in the bracket. For his efforts he got paired against Daniels for this morning’s match.

In this afternoon’s Round of 16, Daniels defeated Chad Johnson of Canby, Ore. 3&2. In tomorrow morning’s quarterfinal match, Daniels will face Brett Curtis of Sammamish, Wash., teeing off at 7:30am.

The other man to claim a final spot in yesterday’s seven-man playoff was Paul Houvener of Mill Creek, Wash. He fought his way to claim the No. 31 seed, and this morning was paired against No. 2 seed Don Bidinger of Bainbridge Island, Wash. in the Round of 32. He promptly defeated Bidinger 2-up to advance to this afternoon’s Round of 16.

Houvener tried to keep his Cinderella streak going this afternoon, and nearly did so, taking Mike Swingle of Bellevue to the 22nd hole before bowing. Houvener made a remarkable recovery on the 22nd hole, but Swingle sunk a 12-foot putt for a birdie to win the hole and the match. Swingle will now face Brad Karns of Vancouver, Wash. in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

Kody Rathe of Eagle, Idaho, the No. 29 seed, defeated four-time champion Erik Hanson in 19 holes in this morning’s Round of 32. Hanson had hit 17 greens in regulation and shot 69, but Rathe sank a 10-foot birdie on the 19th hole for the win.

But Rathe ran out of gas in the afternoon’s Round of 16. Jeff Strickland of Mill Creek, Wash. defeated Rathe 2&1, with Strickland now advancing to tomorrow morning’s quarterfinals, where he will face Keith Crimp of Ellensburg. Crimp was the 2010 Washington State Senior Amateur champion.

Michael Freeborg of Happy Valley, Ore., the No. 19 seed, defeated 2014 champion Nate Hair, the No. 14 seed, 1-up. In this afternoon’s Round of 16, Todd Points of Eagle, Idaho defeated Freeborg, 2-up. Today is Points’ 49th birthday, and he celebrated it by advancing to tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

Ray Schuler of Tacoma defeated Jeff Byrnes of Buckley, Wash. 3&2 in the Round of 16. Byrnes had made it to the final match in last year’s championship before finishing runner-up.

The quarterfinal and semifinal matches in the championship flight will take place on Wednesday, June 26. The final match of 18 holes will be held Thursday, June 27. All matches are played at scratch.

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.

Click here for complete information about the championship.