Michael Ciez of Walla Walla defeated Brian Barton of Pasco, Wash. in a playoff to capture the 8th Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship. Ciez 2-putted for par on the first playoff hole to take the title.
The 36-hole stroke play championship was held at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. and conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).
Ciez had struggled in the Washington State Amateur earlier this month, failing to make the cut, but had his game in shape for this week’s Mid-Amateur, firing rounds of 70-70. He started today’s round tied for the lead.
“This feels pretty great,” Ciez said afterward. “I’ve been struggling in some other events this year, so this has been a long time coming, and it feels good.”
Being from Walla Walla, Ciez was very familiar with the course. “Yes, it definitely helped (knowing the course). I knew where to miss it and where to hit it, but at times it still didn’t stop me from hitting it where I shouldn’t.”
Ciez’s shot of the day was the ace on the 136-yard par-3 14th. “Yeah, that was crazy. I still didn’t know the ball was in the hole until we looked in. There was an official standing nearby but he hadn’t seen the shot. Then I made the birdie on 18 just to get into a playoff. The round was just a lot of fun.”
Ciez works at nearby Veteran’s Memorial Park Golf Course, and is a five-time Walla Walla City Amateur champion, having just won his fifth title last week in that event.
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Barton, who played collegiately for Whitman College in Walla Walla, graduating in 2011, started today’s final round tied for 23rd, after opening with a 3-over 75 in yesterday’s first round. Today he shot the low round of the championship. His 7-under 65 was capped by an eagle 3 on the par-5 18th, which vaulted him into the clubhouse lead.
He then sat and waited while Ciez, who was playing in the final group, finished his round. Ciez bogeyed the par-4 17th hole, and for a moment Barton held the lead alone. Ciez then birdied 18 to force the playoff.
After opening with a 1-over 73 yesterday, Tyler Matthews of Bellevue shot 4-under 68 in today’s round to shoot up the leaderboard, coming up one stroke shy of the playoff, settling for a solo third place finish.
Finishing tied for fourth is Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho. Hatley had started the day tied for the lead after firing a 2-under 70 in yesterday’s opening round and was in position to defend his title in this championship, but shot 4-over on today’s back nine to fall out of contention. Hatley has been named the WSGA Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year the past two years.
To be eligible for the Mid-Amateur Championship, contestants must by 25 years of age or older by August 29, 2017. Competitors must have an active GHIN number and USGA Handicap Index issued by a WSGA member club not exceeding 12.4 at the time of entry.
Wine Valley, a links-like layout that opened in 2009, was designed by Northwest native Dan Hixson. The course has been the site of numerous state and regional championships, including the 2014 Washington State Men’s Amateur, 2016 Washington State Senior Men’s Amateur, 2012 Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur and 2013 Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur. It has hosted several USGA national championship qualifiers, and since 2010 has been the site of the annual Northwest Open.
Founded in 1922, the WSGA is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving over 68,000 individual members at more than 550 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho, the WSGA works to continually expand the game of golf to people of all backgrounds.
The WSGA also serves as a statewide representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and works closely with a number of allied associations within the golf industry for the betterment of the game.
Tags: Championship news, Michael Ciez, Slideshow, Walla Walla, Wine Valley Golf Club, WSGA Men's Mid-Amateur