Spach and Kato in Final at PNGA Junior Boys’; Slama and Kwon at Junior Girls’
Gabe Spach of Seattle and Sean Kato of Redmond, Wash. will meet in the 36-hole final match of the 62nd Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur; while Ellie Slama of Salem, Ore. will square off against Brittany Kwon of Bremerton, Wash. in the 18-hole final match of the 61st Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur.
Both matches will be held tomorrow, August 19, at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. The Junior Boys’ final will tee off at 7:30 a.m., and the Junior Girls’ final will tee off at 9:00 a.m. The afternoon round of the Junior Boys’ match will tee off at 12:00 p.m.
The championships are being conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
Click here to follow along with live hole-by-hole scoring for both matches, and for full match-play bracket results.
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In this morning’s Junior Boys’ quarterfinal match, Spach squeezed by Thomas Verigin of West Vancouver, B.C., 1-up; then easily handled Mason Phalen of Kenmore, Wash. in this afternoon’s semifinal match, 5 and 4.
In this afternoon’s other semifinal match, Kato defeated Austin Carnese of Portland, 3 and 1. In yesterday’s Round of 16 matches, Carnese had upset the No. 1 seed Joe Highsmith.
Spach will be a senior in the fall at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, where he plays on the boys’ golf team and won a couple high school tournaments last fall. Earlier this summer Spach qualified for the AJGA’s Ryan Moore Junior Championship, and competes on the Northwest Jr. Golf Tour.
Spach shot a 3-under par 69 in the first round of the championship’s stroke-play qualifying, holding the first round lead, and followed it up with a 72 to earn the No. 3 seed in the match play bracket. Kato is the No. 5 seed.
Kato was on Team Washington that won the Junior America’s Cup championship last month in Mexico, the first time that Washington had won the championship since 2007. He tied for fifth overall individually. He also won the WJGA District 2 Championship, and was named the 2016 WJGA Player of the Year.
The Junior Girls’ final will see a match-up of heavyweights, as the No. 1 seed Slama will face the No. 2 seed Kwon. Slama shot rounds of 69-68 in the two stroke-play qualifying rounds, and both players have cruised through the bracket so far.
Slama was named the 2015 PNGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year. She will be a senior at South Salem High School, and last spring won the 2016 6A high school state championship. She has already committed to attend Oregon State University after high school.
Slama is familiar with The Home Course, having won the 2016 Pacific Northwest Junior PGA Championship held at the course in June, shooting a two-day total of 5-under par and finishing 13 strokes ahead of the nearest competitor, Kwon.
Kwon won the Junior Girls’ title in 2014 as a 13-year-old, and earlier this year won the WJGA State Championship and two other WJGA titles, as well as the 3A high school championship. Kwon will be trying to become just the seventh player to win multiple Junior Girls’ titles.
The rich history of the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship includes past champions such as World Golf Hall of Fame member Fred Couples, Web.com Tour players Alex Prugh and Andrew Yun, and John Bodenhamer, the former CEO and executive director of the PNGA who now is a senior director at the USGA.
The storied history of the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur includes past champions Jo Ann Washam, Peggy Conley, Joan Edwards-Powell, Mary Budke, and JoAnne Gunderson Carner, all of whom would later be inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame after storied amateur and professional careers. Other past champions include current LPGA Tour players Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang.
To be eligible for the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ and Girls’ Amateurs, contestants must not have reached their 18th birthday by the final day of the competition.
These championships are two of 15 regional championships conducted annually by the PNGA.
Opened in 2007, The Home Course is cooperatively owned and operated by the PNGA and Washington State Golf Association, and has been the site of numerous local, regional and national championships, including being the companion course to Chambers Bay for the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the venue for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. It will also be the companion course to Chambers Bay for the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball.