Walla Walla, Wash. - Brad Karns of Vancouver, Wash. shot 1-under par in today's final round to win the 30th Washington State Senior Men's Amateur Championship; while Gudmund Lindbjerg of Port Moody, B.C. went wire-to-wire in capturing the 9th Washington State Super Senior Men's Amateur. This is the second title for Lindbjerg, having also won this championship in 2014.
Both championships were held concurrently at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. They each were contested over 54 holes of stroke play and conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).
Join the post-championship conversation on Twitter at the handles @WSGA1922 and @WSGAChampions and use the hashtags #WSGASrMensAm and #WSGASupSrMensAm.
For Karns in the Senior Amateur, he played all three rounds under par, and was the leader after the second round. Standing on the 13th tee in the final round, he had a five-stroke lead over Jim McNelis of Gig Harbor, Wash. McNelis then proceeded to birdie three of the next five holes, while Karns bogeyed the par-3 16th. Karns' lead was suddenly down to one with one hole to play.
McNelis, playing in the group ahead of Karns (who was playing in the final group), would par the downhill par-5, and then watched as Karns parred it as well to close out the win.
"Probably for me the secret was just the experience I have playing this golf course," Karns said. "I've probably 60-plus rounds logged here, and on these greens you really got to know where to put the ball if you want to make any birdies and try to eliminate 3-putts as much as possible."
Karns has played a lot of tournament golf, and a lot this summer, and when asked how it felt to finally hold the trophy, he broke into a big smile and said, "It feels great. It feels really good."
Last month, Karns was the second-round co-leader in the Senior Oregon Open playing against the pros, before falling back in the final round. In 2012 he had finished third in the Pacific Northwest Men's Mid-Amateur.
In the Super Senior Men's Amateur, Lindbjerg led after all three rounds of the championship, shooting rounds of 70-72-74 to finish at even par. In the second round, it looked as though he might run away from the field, holding a four-shot lead over Ron Garland of Bozeman, Mont. while standing on the 18th tee. But Lindbjerg would double-bogey the par-5, and he watched Garland birdie it, and the three-shot swing cut Lindbjerg's lead to one over Garland and three over John Gallacher of Burnaby, B.C. entering today's final round.
Lindbjerg, Garland and Gallacher were paired together all three days of the championship.
In today's final round, Garland had fought his way into a one-shot lead after 13 holes, but Lindbjerg birdied the short 125-yard par-3 14th hole to pull into a tie, and Garland would go on to bogey three of the last four holes to fall out of contention. Gallacher had a steady final round, but two bogeys on the back nine cost him his chance, finishing two back of Lindbjerg.
"This is a great golf course," Lindbjerg said afterward. "Very different from what I usually play (up in B.C.), and the greens are very fast, and today the hole locations were really challenging." Of his comeback on the back nine of today's final round, Lindbjerg said, "I missed a short birdie putt on the first hole, and that put a lot of negative thoughts in my head, like maybe a bad omen. And then I bogeyed the next hole, couldn't make the 12-footer, and pretty soon Ron caught up with me and passed me by. I just told myself to keep going, and it worked out in the end."
In 2014, Lindbjerg and Gallacher had paired together to win the Pacific Northwest Men's Senior Team Championship.
Also in the field this year in the Senior Men's Amateur are Tom Hale of Lakewood, Wash., who has finished runner-up the past two years; Keith Crimp of Ellensburg, Wash., who also finished runner-up last year, and won this title in 2010; and Kent Brown of Colville, Wash., the 2008 champion.
A Dan Hixson design, Wine Valley Golf Club has been the site of numerous state and regional championships, including this year's PNGA Men's Amateur and regional qualifier for the Washington State Amateur.