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Originally published May 18, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Page modified May 18, 2013 at 4:59 PM

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State Open starts Monday at Meridian Valley

The three-day, 54-hole, no-cut Sterling Bank Washington Open Invitational will feature a 164-man field that includes 21 amateurs at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent. Most of the participants are club and teaching pros.

Special to The Seattle Times

If you go

Sterling Bank Washington Open Invitational

Where: Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent

When: Monday-Wednesday

Final group: Scheduled to tee off at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday

Admission: Free

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KENT — One of the top Northwest golf tournaments begins Monday with a format that makes amateurs eligible to win for the first time in four years.

The three-day, 54-hole, no-cut Sterling Bank Washington Open Invitational will feature a 164-man field that includes 21 amateurs at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent. Most of the participants are club and teaching pros.

Defending champion Jeff Gove, who was on the Nationwide Tour last year and is on the PGA Tour this year, is not entered, nor are any other golfers from national tours.

Under the format used the previous three years at Glendale Country Club in Bellevue, entries consisted of a pro and an amateur as a two-man team. Pros simultaneously competed for the Washington Open Invitational title.

The tournament, which began in 1922, has been won 11 times by amateurs, including Fred Couples in 1978 before he turned pro.

This year's field includes four-time winner Jeff Coston, a teaching pro from Blaine, and Tim Feenstra, an assistant pro at Broadmoor Golf Club who has won the tournament two of the past six years. Brian Thornton, a teaching pro at Meridian Valley, won the tournament in 2009, the last time it was played at Meridian Valley. Top amateurs include former Mariners pitcher Erik Hanson and Mike Haack.

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