By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
In a tournament field crowded with longtime players, two newcomers — one brand new, the other relatively new — are co-leaders of the Snohomish County Amateur heading into today’s traditional final round at Everett Golf and Country Club.
First-round leader Brycen Finnie of Mukilteo’s Harbour Pointe Golf Course followed up his opening-round 70 with a 1-over-par 73 Sunday at Mill Creek Country Club for a two-day total of 1-under 143. Also at 143 is Jake Rohde of Everett’s Legion Memorial Golf Course, who tied for low round of the day Sunday with a 2-under 70 at Mill Creek CC.
But a man with a long County Am history — and it is certainly one of the tournament’s very best histories — is just one stroke back. Four-time winner Alex Stamey of Everett G&CC, one of two players tied at even-par 144 after a 1-under 71 Sunday, will be bidding for his fifth County Am title this afternoon. A win would tie him with Bob Whisman for the most wins in tournament history.
Also tied at 144 is Anthony Allen of Arlington’s Gleneagle Golf Course, who posted a 1-over 73 on Sunday.
Put it all together and today’s final round of the 83-annual County Am has the makings of a terrific showdown on the tight, tree-lined fairways at scenic Everett G&CC.
Finnie, Rohde and Stamey will tee off in the final group — the field is playing in threesomes this year, so no more “Feature Foursomes” — at 1:36 p.m., with Allen, Harbour Pointe’s Chris Hatch (145) and Legion Memorial’s Paul Bonorden (146) going off at 1:27 p.m.
Today’s outcome is anyone’s guess. Thirteen other players are within seven shots of Finnie and Rohde, and County Am lore is filled with memorable tales of great surges and hapless collapses on the final day.
Sunday’s round was contested in rain that came and went, and then came back again. In between the raindrops — which sometimes came in sprinkles, other times in showers — there were occasional sun breaks that caused the greens to steam with evaporating moisture.
Finnie, who began the round with a one-stroke lead, alternated birdies and bogeys throughout the day, finishing with three of the former and four of the latter. “I played the way I usually do, tee to green,” he said. “Nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary.”
One of his birdies came on the 500-yard No. 17, an uphill par 5. He reached the back of the green in two shots and had a putt for eagle, but it missed and he settled for a birdie.
The 24-year-old Finnie, who is playing in his fourth County Am, said today’s final round “will obviously be nerve-wracking. I’ve never really been in the last group of a tournament, so we’ll see how it goes.” The good news, he added, is that “I love that course (at Everett G&CC) a lot. It’s real comfortable.”
Rohde, meanwhile, is making his County Am debut this year. A native of Kent who worked and played professionally for eight years before regaining his amateur status in 2010, he had a round of four birdies and two bogeys to tie Mill Creek CC’s Nick Hardy for Sunday’s low round.
“I really putted well today,” he said. “I didn’t miss anything that I thought I should make. … Everything felt really good.”
Rohde said he is hoping for more of the same this afternoon and he is also “looking forward to it. It’ll be interesting and it’ll be fun. Will I be nervous? I won’t know until (today) … but no one affects my golf game except myself. As long as I feel comfortable with how I’m hitting it, I should be OK.”
Stamey, the County Am champ in 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2008, will be playing on his home course, the only Everett G&CC member in the top eight.
The tournament’s second division, for handicaps of 5.0 to 10.2, played its second round at Everett G&CC. C.J. Santeford of Gleneagle and John Grandemange of Harbour Pointe share the low-net lead at 3-under 141.
The third division, for handicaps of 10.3 to 19.5, also played its second round at Everett G&CC. Greg Guest of Everett’s Walter Hall Golf Course and Ryan Roehl of Mukilteo’s Jorgensen Golf, are knotted atop the division with low-net 9-under 135s.
The second and third divisions will play their final rounds today at Walter Hall.