Packer, Brandes, Lee, and Alkins Victorious at 3rd WSGA Champion of Champions
DuPont, Wash. (April 25, 2012) - Sean Packer of Seattle, Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Katie Lee of Silverdale, and Yasue Alkins of Lacey came out victorious in their respective divisions at the 3rd Annual Washington State Champion of Champions held at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. on a day that did not lack for compelling storylines in rainy conditions.
The story of the day was Packer, whose impressive competitive course record 66 helped him overcome an 11 stroke deficit entering the final round and propelled him to victory in the Men’s Division.
“I have always wanted to be in this event, it is my first time here and it is a real honor.” Packer explained.
Packer birdied six of the first seven holes on the front nine, an impressive feat, and one that positioned him perfectly to overtake first round leader Craig Larson of Tacoma down the stretch. He added one more birdie on the par-5 16th hole on his way to a two-day, 1-over par 144 and a two stroke victory over Larson, who finished at 3-over par 147. Dana Christianson, also of Tacoma, finished three back at 4-over par 148.
In the Inaugural Senior Men’s division, four players entered the final round with a share of the lead, but Brandes came out on top after shooting a 2-under par 70 to win by three over Keith Crimp of Ellensburg. Consistency was the deciding factor for Brandes, who had three birdies to only one bogey in the final round despite the steady rain.
Brandes said “The turning point was hole 13 with a great drive, a 6 iron to the green, and a putt for birdie.”
His final round gave him a total of 2-under par 142 for the championship, the only competitor in the field who finished the two-day championship under par. Crimp finished alone in second at 1-over par 145, while Dave Farnam of Kent took third at 4-over par 148.
A pair of talented youngsters stole the show in the Women’s division as Lee and Simone Strauss of Kirkland, entered the final round tied at 4-over par. Strauss took a one stroke lead into the back nine after posting an even-par 36 on the front, but Lee caught fire on the back, posting an impressive 3-under par 33 to outlast Strauss to secure the championship.
“My favorite hole was hole 18 today when I knew that I was in the lead after I had finished my putt.” Katie Lee described.
Lisa Smego of Olympia finished in third place with a two-day total of 12-over par 156.
In the Inaugural Senior Women’s division, Yasue Alkins of Lacey endured the field and the elements in posting a final round 8-over par 80 to capture the wire to wire victory.
Alkins, who started playing golf in 1991 with her brother in Okinawa, Japan, said “Playing golf here in the states can be stressful because of the language barrier, but I enjoy the competition and sport very much.”
Alkins entered Wednesday’s play with a six stroke lead and maintained her lead despite the best efforts of a strong field, including defending champion Alison Murdoch of Victoria, who shot a 7-over par 79 in the final round. Murdoch finished alone in second with a two-day total of 14-over 158. Gretchen Klein of Hoquiam took third at 16-over par 160, a stroke ahead of Ginny Burkey of Fircrest and Denise Kieffer of University Place, who tied for fourth at 17-over par 161.
This year’s field consisted of 59 champions from around the state of Washington, competing in four divisions, including the newly added Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s divisions. The championship was 18 men, 24 senior men, 8 women, and 9 senior women. Playing 36 holes of gross stroke play with competitors being re-paired according to score for the second round.
To be eligible, a player must fall into one of the following categories.
-2010 or 2011 Club Champion of a WSGA Member Club.
-Champion of a 2011 WSGA Championship (excluding team championships).
-Top-5 on the WSGA Women’s Performance List as of December 31, 2011.
-Top-10 on the WSGA Men’s Performance List as of December 31, 2011.
-Top 5 on the WSGA Senior Men's or Senior Women’s Performance Points Lists as of December 31, 2011
-2011 WJGA State Junior Boys’ or Girls’ Champion.
-2011 Champion of any event on the WSGA Performance Points List.