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Friday, February 15, 2013 - Page updated at 06:00 p.m.
Amateurs again able to pursue Washington Open Invitational title
By Craig Smith
Special to The Seattle Times
For the first time in four years, an amateur will be able to win the Washington Open Invitational Golf Tournament.
The Northwest Section of the PGA of America is switching back to its traditional format for the tournament this year, which will be played at the Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, May 20-22.
The tournament began in 1922 and there have been at least nine amateur winners, including Fred Couples in 1978.
Under the format the past three years at Glendale Country Club in Bellevue, entries consisted of one professional and one amateur as a two-man team. Pros simultaneously competed as individuals for the Washington Open Invitational title. The tournament format was successful in raising more than $1.3 million for Camp Korey in Carnation, a camp for children with serious illnesses.
Molly Cooper, who manages tournaments for the PGA section, said the Glendale contract had expired and that there had been "a lot of feedback" to abandon the team competition.
There will be no cut in the 54-hole tournament this year, and the field will be 136 pros (almost all of them club pros) and 32 amateurs. Sterling Bank is the sponsor and the official tournament name is Sterling Bank Washington Open Invitational. This will be the seventh time the tournament has been held at Meridian Valley.
The winner last year was Kenmore product Jeff Gove, who was on the Nationwide Tour and now is on the PGA Tour.
• The LPGA Legends Tour will return for a second year to Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore on July 28, a Sunday, for a one-day, 18-hole tournament. The one-day Mulvanny Pro-Am, which is closed to spectators, will follow July 29. Nancy Scranton won last year in the inaugural "Swing for the Cure" with a 2-under 71. The event last year drew LPGA Hall of Fame members JoAnne Carner, Patty Sheehan, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley and Amy Alcott. Among the other competitors were Jane Blalock, Rosie Jones, Jan Stephenson and Sandra Palmer. An estimated 1,000 attended the tournament. Potential volunteers are asked to contact clubhouse manager Karen Peterson at Inglewood.
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