Bob Burton of Everett, Wash. held on to win the 29th Washington State Senior Men's Amateur Championship, and Rick Weihe of Bellingham, Wash. rallied on the back nine of today's final round to win the 8th Washington State Super Senior Men's Amateur.
Both championships were held concurrently at Canterwood Golf & Country Club in Gig Harbor, Wash. and were conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).
Burton is the first player to win the Washington State Junior Amateur (1971), the Washington State Amateur (1975), and now the Washington State Senior Amateur title.
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Today's victory did not come easily for Burton, who finished one shot ahead of Keith Crimp of Ellensburg, Wash., Tom Hale of Lakewood, Wash. and Larry Daniels of Seattle. Crimp and Daniels both bogeyed the 18th hole, while Hale birdied it. Daniels won this championship in 2009, Crimp won it in 2010, and Hale was runner-up last year.
When told of his trifecta in winning the State Junior, State Amateur and now the State Senior titles, Burton said, "It feels great. It is something I worked hard for, and I feel fortunate to have played at this level for so long."
Of today's round, Burton said, "The course was in great shape and was playing difficult. I putted real well, which is normally not my strong suit." Playing in the second-to-last group in today's final round, Burton was unaware of where he stood until after he finished on 18. "I only knew I had to beat the
other guys in my group, so I just had to play the best I could," he said. "And I only passed Crimp on the last hole."
Today's title in the Senior Men's Amateur is another addition to Burton's lengthy playing resume. Along with the State Junior and State Amateur titles, he has twice won the Pacific Northwest Master-40 Championship (2006, 2009). In 2006 he was named the PNGA Senior Men's Player of the Year, a year in which, along with the Master-40 title, he qualified for the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Mid-Amateur. In 2009 he earned WSGA Senior Men's Player of the Year honors.
In the Washington State Super Senior Men's Amateur, Weihe started today's final round two shots behind leader Fritz Naumetz of Phoenix, Ariz. who quickly increased his lead to five shots with birdies on holes two and three. "It was a very good battle today, with Fritz getting off to a wonderful start," said Weihe, who was paired with Naumetz in the final group. "I was five shots back after five holes today. But I knew this course is difficult, and if I just made pars I could catch up, so that's what I did - I just kept parring and parring, and then birdied the 16th hole to get to one shot back of him. But I was still one behind going into 18."
Weihe won the day when he made par on the uphill par-5 18th and Naumetz struggled to a double-bogey. Also playing in the final group was Gudmund Lindbjerg of Port Moody, B.C., who finished tied for third with Ron Garland of Bozeman, Mont. who earlier this summer had won the Pacific Northwest Super Senior Men's Amateur.
In 1998, Weihe had won the Senior Men's Amateur. "That was the first year I was eligible to play in the senior division," he said. "Then I finished runner-up for the next four or five years in a row. I just couldn't seem to finish the job. In the past few years, I felt I could still play competitively, so that's why I kept signing up for the Senior Amateur (rather than the Super Senior Men's Amateur), but now all these guys are real good players, so I
signed up this year for the Super. Fortunately, I won this one, and maybe it's my last one, but at least I got this one."
Weihe, now 72, had also won the 1970 Washington State Amateur, finished runner-up in the 1970 Pacific Northwest Men's Amateur, and won the 1990 Pacific Northwest Master-40 Championship.