Bjorn Bjorke of Port Orchard, Wash. came from four strokes behind in the final round to capture the 4th Washington State Men's Mid-Amateur Championship, and Seattle's Leslie Folsom successfully defended her title in the 4th Washington State Women's Mid-Amateur Championship. The two stroke-play championships were conducted by the Washington State Golf Association, and were held concurrently on the Rope Rider course at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash.
After a disappointing first round in the two-day championship in which Bjorke double-bogeyed the 18th hole, he was four strokes behind first round co-leaders Erik Hanson of Kirkland, Wash. and Jesse Sitterud of Bellevue, Wash. at the start of today's round.
In calm weather conditions, Bjorke played a flawless bogey-free final round, with birdies on holes four, 10, 11 and 17. "I played solid today, no question," said Bjorke. "I only missed a couple greens on the front nine. It wasn't until standing on the 17th tee that I felt I might have a shot." Bjorke birdied the par-5, posted his number after the round, then waited to see if any of the early leaders in the two final groups behind him could match him. "The course is in great shape, and with no wind today I wasn't sure if my score would hold up." It did. Watch Bjorke's interview here.
Last year's champion, Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. came up just short in defending his title, finishing alone in second after a 2-under par 69 in today's final round. Hanson tied for third after a 3-over par 74.
In the Women's Mid-Amateur, Leslie Folsom of Seattle successfully defended her title, following up yesterday's 5-over par 77 with a matching 77 in today's final round, to win the title by three strokes over second place finisher Catherine Chamberlain of Mercer Island, Wash., who had also started the day in second, behind Folsom. "It feels great," said Folsom, when asked how it feels to defend the title. "To back up last year's victory and prove I can win individual titles is a good feeling. It's tough to win in the first place, and even tougher to defend. Catherine played great all day today, and when we got to the back nine I just told myself to play it like as though it were match play." Watch Folsom's interview here.
Folsom was recently selected to represent Washington State in the USGA Women's State Team competition, a biennial national championship.
Folsom won last year's championship by a six-shot margin, with the victory propelling her to earning the 2012 WSGA Women's Mid-Amateur Player of the Year honors. She also won the SWGA City Championship. Today's victory will help her quest in attempting to win back-to-back Player of the Year titles.
With their victories today, Folsom and Bjorke have earned an exemption into the 5th Annual WSGA Champion of Champions, which will be held at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. in April of 2014.