Tacoma assistant pro wins Washington Open Invitational | Local golf
Chris Griffin, an assistant pro at Tacoma Country and Golf Club, shot a final-round 4-under-par 68 Wednesday to win the Sterling Bank Washington...
Special to The Seattle Times
KENT — Chris Griffin, an assistant pro at Tacoma Country and Golf Club, shot a final-round 4-under-par 68 Wednesday to win the Sterling Bank Washington Open Invitational by two stokes.
Griffin, the shortest golfer in the field at 5 feet 4, 185 pounds, finished with a 54-hole total of 8-under 208 at the Meridian Valley Country Club.
That was two strokes better than former Mariner pitcher Erik Hanson, who shot 67 to finish alone in second place at 210. It was Hanson's third second-place finish in the state open. His golf resume' includes victories in the Oregon and Northwest opens.
Hanson, an amateur, thanked the Northwest PGA Section for changing the tournament format this year so that amateurs again could compete for the championship. Amateurs were ineligible to win the past three years at Glendale Country Club in Bellevue.
"Thank you for changing it back to the way it should be," Hanson said.
The win was the biggest in the career of Griffin, 38, whose caddie was his wife of eight months, Sara. The victory was worth $6,000.
"She kept me loose all day," Griffin said.
Griffin had led this tournament in 2009, the last time it was at Meridian Valley, on the final nine but lost the lead. This time, he finished strong.
Mike Roters of Gateway Golf in Clarkston had a front-nine 31 and got to 8 under but triple-bogeyed the final hole (No. 9, which was the 18th hole for the leaders). His problems started on the hole with an out-of-bounds tee shot. Roters finished tied for third with Matt Cowell, an assistant pro at Lake Padden Golf Course in Bellingham.
Cowell, 27, who grew up in Friday Harbor, began the day with a three-stroke lead but didn't have a birdie his entire round. He missed at least four putts under 6 feet. Griffin pulled into a tie on the fifth hole. They were tied again when Griffin bogeyed the 14th hole but Griffin responded by sinking a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th hole (No. 6 in regular routing) and a 10-footer on the 16th hole.
It was so chilly that one volunteer on the course radioed in and joked, "We need some hot toddies out here — or some firewood."" The tournament was no-cut this year and there were 165 entries. The leaders teed off at 2 o'clock and the tournament didn't end until nearly 7 p.m. Only nine golfers in the field finished 54 holes under par.
The tournament charity was Drive for the Cure Northwest, a prostate cancer organization that is donating more than $60,000 raised in the weekend pro-am to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.