The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) has announced the 2013 Player of the Year recipients. The winners include Men’s Player of the Year, Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash.; Women’s, Erynne Lee of Silverdale; Men’s Mid-Amateur, Mike Haack of Bellevue; Women’s Mid-Amateur, Leslie Folsom of Seattle; Senior Men’s, Tom Brandes of Bellevue; Senior Women’s, Lisa Smego of Olympia; Junior Boys’, Frank Garber of Kirkland; and Junior Girls’, Sierra Kersten of Spokane. All the recipients were honored at an awards banquet held Friday, November 1, at Tacoma Country and Golf Club. The banquet is traditionally held the night before the WSGA’s Annual Meeting.
Peck dominated the field in two of the region’s most prestigious championships, winning the Washington State Men’s Amateur and the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur. He went wire-to-wire in the State Amateur, held at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., winning the championship by five shots. A month later he marched through the match-play bracket at the PNGA’s Men’s Amateur, held at Bandon Dunes, winning the final match 7 and 6 over Hans Reimers. Peck also qualified to play in the U.S. Amateur Public Links, where he made it to the Round of 16. Peck won the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur, and was named that year’s WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year. He played his collegiate career at Texas A&M and has recently turned professional, intending to play in the PGA Tour’s Q-School this fall.
Lee earned her fifth Women’s Player of the Year honor in six years after an impressive sophomore year playing on the UCLA women’s golf team, which is currently the No. 1-ranked women’s golf team in the U.S. She tied for fourth in the NCAA Division I Championship, and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, where she made it to the Round of 64. Lee is also a three-time recipient of the WSGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year (2008-10).
Haack won the Washington State Champion of Champions, against an elite field consisting of club champions and winners of other WSGA championships. He was the runner-up at the Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur, losing in the final match; was the runner-up at the Oregon Open; tied for third in the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur; tied for 10th at the Washington Open; and tied for 11th at the Washington State Men’s Amateur.
For Folsom, her 2013 campaign was a continuation of her stellar play, enabling her to repeat as the Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year. She defended her title in the Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship; was champion and medalist at the WSWGA State Championship; runner-up at the Washington State Women’s Champion of Champions; and runner-up at the SWGA City Championship. Folsom also earned a spot on the Washington state team in the 2013 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.
Brandes enjoyed another dominant season in 2013, as he repeated as champion in the Washington State Senior Men’s Amateur and the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur. He as runner-up in the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur; tied for fourth in the Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur; tied for seventh in the Washington Senior Open; and was medalist in the U.S. Senior Open qualifier. Brandes took his game overseas in 2013, finishing runner-up in the British Senior Amateur, held at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland. This is the fourth consecutive Senior Men’s Player of the Year honor for Brandes.
Smego should probably also receive a Comeback Player of the Year award of some kind, having come back strong in 2013 after recovering from back surgery. She won the Washington State Senior Women’s Amateur; was medalist of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur qualifier; and qualified for the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, where she made it to the Round of 64. Smego previously won the Senior Women’s Player of the Year award in 2007.
This is Garber’s second consecutive Junior Boys’ Player of the Year award. His remarkable year included being both the medalist and champion of the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur; the AAA State High School champion; Most Valuable Player honors at the Junior America’s Cup; Player of the Year honors for the Washington Junior Golf Association; and a tie for 27th in the Callaway Junior World Championship.
This is Kersten’s first Player of the Year honor, and it was well-deserved. She is the reigning AAAA State High School champion; was medalist at the U.S. Junior Girls’ qualifier, and would eventually make it to the Round of 64 in that championship; and tied for 35th in the Callaway Junior World Championship.
The WSGA Championship Committee meets annually in early October to vote and select the Players of the Year for the WSGA in the categories of Men’s, Women’s, Senior Men’s, Senior Women’s, Men’s Mid-Amateur, Women’s Mid-Amateur, Junior Boys’, and Junior Girls’. The WSGA Performance Points list is used as the primary guide for the selection. Since the WSGA does not have a performance points list for juniors, the WSGA receives the nominations for selection from the Washington Junior Golf Association. Visit www.thewsga.org for more information.
Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash. continued his stellar 2013 summer by winning the 112th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship, held at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. Peck defeated Hans Reimers of Albany, Ore. in the Final match, 7 and 6. The 36-hole match was contested on the resort’s Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails courses.
The championship, which started with an elite field of 168 amateurs, was conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association. For complete match play bracket results, visit www.thepnga.org.
Peck had a dominating and relentless march through the bracket, winning yesterday’s Quarterfinal match 6 and 5 and Semifinal match 4 and 3. In his Quarterfinal match he was 7-under par when the match ended after the 13th hole. In today’s Final, he shot 5-under 67 in the morning round to take a 3-up lead, and was 2-under in the afternoon round when the match ended after 30 holes.
Reimers kept pace early on, matching four birdies with Peck on the opening nine, but his putter began to falter, leading to costly three-putts at the end of the morning round.
Last month Reimers won the Oregon Open, and is also playing well this summer season. He will be a fifth-year senior on the golf team at Mercer University in Georgia, where he transferred to after the University of Portland dropped its golf program. His caddie for this week, Jake Wagner, was his former team mate at Portland.
“I had a great week,” said Reimers, who was the No. 2 seed and had come from behind to win his Semifinal match. “I’ve been playing well, and Cameron definitely deserved his win.”
Last month Peck won the Washington State Amateur, which was held at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. A links layout with fescue grasses, Chambers Bay prepared Peck for this week’s championship at Bandon Dunes, known for its links courses and hard, fescue fairways. “I had never been to Bandon Dunes before (this week),” said Peck. “On the final day at Chambers, the wind blew really hard, and I realized I really needed to figure out how to hit knock-down shots.” Watch Peck’s interview here.
Along with the knock-down shots, Peck brought his power game to Bandon, consistently outdriving his opponents and reaching every par-5 in two shots.
Peck won the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur, and recently completed his collegiate playing career at Texas A&M. He has qualified to play in this year’s U.S. Amateur Public Links, and intends to play in the PGA Tour’s Q-School this fall.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has previously hosted this championship in 2000, and it was won by current PGA Tour player Jeff Quinney.
*Report and photo provided courtesy PNGA
Cameron Peck, a former national champion from Olympia, Wash., held on in the final round to complete his wire-to-wire victory in the 87th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship, held at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. The championship was conducted by the Washington State Golf Association.
Starting the day with an eight shot lead, Peck played a conservative round in difficult weather conditions, shooting a final round 6-over par 78 to go along with his pair of 69s in the first two rounds, good enough for a five shot victory over co-runners-up Ryan Earl of Fircrest, Wash. and Nicholaus Mandell of Kennewick, Wash.
Peck started today’s round with three straight bogeys, temporarily bringing the rest of the field into the game. But then he eagled the par-5 fourth hole. “I thought I was really going to turn it around at that point,” he said. But unlike the first two rounds, both of which he also started slowly, he was unable to gather any momentum. “It was playing tough and very different today. The wind was so tough. They used a new tee box on (the par-3) 9th, and I didn’t have a club for the shot I needed to hit.” Watch his interview here.
Peck just finished his final year of eligibility at Texas A&M, and said he will turn pro just before PGA Tour Q-School in the fall. He won the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, and was selected the 2008 WSGA Junior Boy’s Player of the Year. His plans for the rest of this summer include playing in the Sahalee Players Championship, the PNGA Men’s Amateur Championship, and qualifying for the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links.
Paired with Peck in today’s final group was Earl. With a final round of 2-over par 74, good for a tie for second, he is making a comeback of sorts. Earl, 35, works at a bank in nearby Gig Harbor, but had played professionally in his mid-20s. Regaining his amateur status four years ago, Earl had to go through qualifying just to get into this championship. “I didn’t really do much on the mini-tours,” he said. “I got tired of the barnstorming after a while.” It has been 12 years since Earl last played in the Washington State Amateur.
The best amateur golfers in the state had difficulty on the future U.S. Open site. Of the 120 players who began the championship, nobody finished under par. No player shot under par in the final round. Weather conditions made for difficult playing conditions, as the wind picked up for most of the day, coming in off Puget Sound.
The format for the three-day championship was 54 holes of stroke play. There were 120 players in the field, followed by a cut to the low 60 and ties after the second round.
For complete results visit www.thewsga.org.
*Report provided by the WSGA