Drew Warford of Snoqualmie, Wash. and Colt Sherrell of Maple Valley, Wash. will meet in the final match of the 63rd Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur; while Kenedee Peters of Ephrata, Wash. will square off against Brittany Kwon of Bremerton Wash. in the final match of the 62nd Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur.
Both championships are being held concurrently at Sandpines Golf Links in Florence, Ore. and are being conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
The final match in the Junior Boys’ Amateur tees off at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, August 18; while the final match for the Junior Girls’ tees off at 8:42 a.m. The Boys’ final match will be contested over 36 holes, and the Girls’ will be contested over 18 holes.
Warford, who will turn 16 on Saturday, did some giant-killing in this afternoon’s semifinal match by defeating No. 1 seed Scotty Kennon in 19 holes. Warford birdied the 18th hole to square the match, then birdied the 19th for the win.
Kennon was looking to add to his already-impressive playing resume. In 2017 he has qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur and the Junior World Championships, was selected to represent Team Oregon at the Junior America’s Cup and the Hogan Cup, and finished runner-up at the Oregon Junior Amateur for the 14-15 age division.
“We both made mistakes today,” Warford said. “This course is playing really difficult. It’s really windy, which makes it super challenging.”
Warford played in last year’s championship, losing in the first round to eventual winner Gabe Spach. “My goal was to go deeper (in the match-play bracket) this year,” Warford said. “It feels really good to win today.”
Earlier this summer, Warford won the Washington Junior State Championship in the 14-15 age division. He will be a sophomore at Mount Si High School in North Bend, Wash., and plays on the school’s golf team. He learned the game from his father Chad, who played on the University of Washington golf team.
In this afternoon’s other semifinal match, Sherrell defeated Nate Stember of Portland, 1-up. The wind was also a factor in the outcome of this match.
“On 17, I had 185 yards to the green, dead into the wind, and hit a 3-iron that stayed close the ground the entire way, and ended up 20 feet from the hole,” Sherrell said. He then sank the birdie putt to go 1-up, and halved the final hole to win the match.
“Nate is such a good player and a good guy,” Sherrell said. “He made me think during the whole match.”
This is the first major match-play championship for Sherrell. “I love match play,” he said. “You don’t have to worry what other players are doing, just the guy you’re playing against.”
Sherrell had qualified for the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur, but didn’t advance to match play. He will be a senior at Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Wash.
— PNGA Championships (@PNGALIVE) August 18, 2017
In the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur, Peters defeated No. 1 seed Cassie Kim with surprising ease in the semifinal match, 5 and 4.
In 2015, Peters won the WIAA 2A High School State Championship, and was that year’s WJGA Player of the Year. In 2016, she was selected to play in the LPGA Tour’s ANA Inspiration qualifier. She has qualified for three U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships. Peters has verbally committed to attend Washington State University on a golf scholarship.
Kim was a formidable foe. Earlier this season, she had won the individual title at the WIAA 4A High School State Championship. She also finished third earlier this month in the Washington State Junior Championship, and qualified for the 2017 Junior World Championships.
In this afternoon’s other semifinal match, Kwon defeated Montgomery Ferreira of University Place, Wash., 1-up. Earlier this year, Montgomery was selected to play in the qualifier for the LPGA Tour’s ANA Inspiration.
Kwon, the No. 2 seed, is advancing to the final match for the second consecutive year. She finished runner-up last, during which she was also the No. 2 seed. Kwon won this championship in 2014 as a 13-year-old, so is looking for a second victory. Earlier this spring, she won her second consecutive WIAA 3A High School State Championship.
— PNGA Championships (@PNGALIVE) August 18, 2017
The rich history of the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship includes past champions such as World Golf Hall of Fame member Fred Couples, Web.com Tour players Alex Prugh and Andrew Yun, and John Bodenhamer, the former CEO and executive director of the PNGA who now is a senior director at the USGA.
The storied history of the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur includes past champions Jo Ann Washam, Peggy Conley, Joan Edwards-Powell, Mary Budke, and JoAnne Gunderson Carner, all of whom would later be inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame after storied amateur and professional careers. Other past champions include current LPGA Tour players Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang.
These championships are two of 15 regional championships conducted annually by the PNGA.
Designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones, Sandpines Golf Links opened in 1993 and was immediately lauded as the “Best New Course in America” by Golf Digest. Last year, Sandpines hosted the Pacific Northwest Mid-Amateur Championship.
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 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.