Against one of the strongest fields in the history of the event, the three-man team from the Washington State Golf Association came from behind in today’s second round to win the Morse Cup, the team competition which took place concurrently during the first two rounds of the 52nd Pacific Coast Amateur Championship, being held this week at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.
Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash., Eric Ansett of Spokane, Wash. and Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho represented the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) at this year’s Morse Cup team competition. The best two of three scores from each team over the 36 holes counted for the Morse Cup portion of the championship.
The Morse Cup uses predetermined rosters representing the 15 member associations of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. The team from the Southern California Golf Association had won the past two years, and they finished tied for second this year with the Northern California Golf Association, one shot back of Team WSGA.
Team WSGA had started the day one shot back of first-round leader Team Alberta Golf.
With 32 players in the top 100 (according to the World Amateur Golf Ranking) competing this week, the 2018 Pacific Coast Amateur is one of the strongest fields in amateur golf all summer.
“This has really been a great week already,” said Ansett. “They’ve had a lot of great tournaments here (at The Olympic Club), and it’s been awesome just to be here.”
The last time Team WSGA won the Morse Cup was in 2009. The three players of Team WSGA will continue over the next two days, competing individually in the Pacific Coast Amateur. There will be a cut to the low 70 player and ties following round three, and the 72-hole championship will conclude with the individual champion being crowned after the final round on Friday, July 27.
Highsmith is a recent graduate of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, and will be playing for Pepperdine University in the fall. He won the WIAA 4A High School State Championship as a junior, and then really broke out in 2017, winning the WSGA Men’s State Amateur and being selected to the Junior Presidents Cup and a Rolex Junior All-American. He was named the WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year in 2017 (for the second consecutive year), and also the 2017 PNGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year. Last week he played in his fourth consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur, and was a quarterfinalist in that championship.
— Troy Andrew (@TroyAndrew_) July 25, 2018
Ansett just graduated from Lipscomb University in Tennessee, where for the second year in a row he was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He has qualified for the U.S. Open sectional qualifier three times, was runner-up in the 2018 Tennessee State Open, and finished 13th in the 2017 Northeast Amateur. Last week he finished third in the Southern Amateur.
Hatley is a three-time WSGA Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year (2015-2017) and three-time PNGA Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year (2015-2017). In 2017 he was medalist at a U.S. Amateur Sectional qualifier, and finished runner-up in the 2017 Stocker Cup. In June he tied for sixth in the 2018 Mexican Amateur, and earlier this month he made it to the quarterfinals of the PNGA Men’s Amateur.
The Olympic Club has welcomed a plethora of elite amateur and professional events, with its latest addition being the Pacific Coast Amateur. Remembered in recent memory for the 2012 U.S. Open, The Lake Course will test the world’s top amateurs over the course of 72 holes.
“The Olympic Club is truly a special venue,” stated Troy Andrew, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Golf Association, the governing body for the event in conjunction with the NCGA.
“Our championship has the pleasure of visiting some of golf’s most sought after locations. The Olympic Club sits near the top of every golfer’s bucket list so to be able to invite the world’s best players to San Francisco for a week and have them compete at their peak levels on The Lake Course, is really a perfect championship situation. We are extremely grateful of The Olympic Club and their membership for having us for the eighth time in our 52 years of competition.”
Building off an influx in recent years of international representation, the field in 2018 showcases a tremendous amount of transcontinental leaders in amateur golf. Players representing ten countries will be playing starting Tuesday, including those from New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Chile, England, Norway, Taiwan and the aforementioned Australia.
All players will be vying for the individual Ed Updegraff Trophy, named after the long-time volunteer and standout amateur golfer who played on three Walker Cup teams (1963, 1965, 1969), won the inaugural Pacific Coast Amateur title at Seattle Golf Club in 1967 and was the 1999 Bob Jones Award recipient from the USGA.
For more information on the championship, visit www.pacificcoastamateur.com.