Whalen Brothers Advance at 115th PNGA Men's Amateur; No. 1 Seed Upset
The 115th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship is becoming a family affair, as Aaron and Andrew Whalen have both played their way into the quarterfinal matches.
The brothers, both of Ephrata, Wash., had some hard work to do in advancing this far at the championship, which is being held at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash.
James Grierson of Australia had shot terrific rounds of 67-65 to easily win medalist honors in the stroke-play qualifying portion of the championship, but the No. 1 seed struggled once he got into match play. He survived his Round of 64 match against the No. 64 seed, Alex Park of Vancouver, B.C., 1-up, then it took him 21 holes to dispatch Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho in this morning’s Round of 32 match. In this afternoon’s Round of 16 match, Grierson faced Andrew Whalen, and never seemed to get into rhythm, as Andrew streaked to an early 3-up lead after five holes and never really looked back, winning three of the final four holes they played, closing out the match, 5 and 4, on the 14th hole.
Andrew made it to the quarterfinals of the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur before losing to a young Jordan Spieth (who would go on to win that year’s U.S. Junior), and qualified for the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. He will be a senior next year at Northwestern University. Last week, he held the first round lead in the Rosauers Open Invitational in Spokane, Wash., a professional event.
Aaron Whalen will be a sophomore at Washington State University. He was the 2013 2A High School State Champion.
There is still a possibility for the two brothers to meet head-to-head in match play.
Other notables advancing in the match-play bracket are Carl Yuan of Lake Mary, Fla. Yuan, who earned the No. 2 in the championship’s stroke-play qualifying rounds, will be a sophomore in the fall at the University of Washington. Earlier this summer, Yuan had qualified into the Sectional stage for the 2016 U.S. Open.
Connor Barr of Beaverton, Ore. also has made it to the quarterfinals. Last month, Barr won the 2016 Oregon Amateur.
Tomorrow’s quarterfinal matches begin at 7:30 a.m. Click here to follow along with live scoring.