Beavers wins Snohomish County Amateur for 3rd straight year

Alvin Kwak (left) reacts as his putt stops on the lip of the cup Monday during the final round of the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament at Snohomsih Golf Course. Kwan finished tied for fourth and took first place in the junior category. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

SNOHOMISH — With two fist pumps and a “C’mon!,” Kevin Beavers wrote his name into the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament record book.

Beavers finished 9-under par to hold off a hard-charging Jacob Rohde and become just the second player ever to three-peat as Snohomish County Amateur champion.

Beavers shot a 4-under 68 in Monday’s final round at Snohomish Golf Course, finishing with a 54-hole score of 207 and joining Bob Burton (1973-75) as the only individuals to win three straight times in the County Am’s 87-year history.

”It feels really good,” said Beavers, who dedicated the victory to his fiancee, Hanh Tran, who he got engaged to eight months ago. “I put a lot of work into my game the last few years. I didn’t swing my best these last couple days, but I putted really well. My heart was pumping pretty hard out there, but I managed myself really well, and that’s something I’ve been working on, so I’m very proud of myself for that.”

Beavers, a 33-year-old Boeing engineer who lives in Seattle, finished two strokes ahead of Rohde, who shot the low round of the day at 66 to finish at 7-under. Rohde, playing in the group ahead of Beavers, pulled within one stroke through 16 holes. But Beavers overcame an errant tee shot on 18 to finish with a birdie and secure what ended up being a wire-to-wire victory.

”I knew last night going to bed that, with the way Kevin’s been playing, that 69 was likely for him,” said Rohde, a 39-year-old landscape architect from Everett who finished second for the second straight year. “So I thought I needed to shoot 64 to have a chance. I did my best and just came up short. But I tried hard, and the greens were really tough today for putting. Had I gotten a couple more putts to go it could have been good.”

Ethan Casto, a 20-year-old from Snohomish and a freshman at Western Washington University, finished third at 4-under. Casto, who came into the final round one stroke behind Beavers in second place, shot an even-par 72.

For a while it looked as though Beavers would run away and hide with the trophy. Beavers played flawless golf through 11 holes, making five birdies to reach 10-under. He was all over the flag with his approach shot at the par-4 second before making a 5-foot birdie putt, he drained a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth, then he sank a 7-foot birdie putt at the par-4 sixth. After birdieing the first two holes of the back nine he was seven strokes ahead of his playing partner Casto, and even though Rohde finished 3-under over the front nine it seemed immaterial.

But Beavers made his first slip at the par-4 13th when he three-putted from 35 feet for his first bogey of the day. Another bogey on the par-4 16th after he drove into the trees, combined with Rohde’s birdie on the par-4 15th, suddenly saw Beavers’ lead shrink to one.

But Beavers, taking deep breaths before each of his shots, regained his composure on the par-4 17th, sinking a 5-foot putt to save par.

”Nothing was going wrong on the front side,” Beavers said. “Then I started hitting some squirrely shots on the back nine, which started making me a little nervous. When I heard Rohde was 6-under (for the day), I told myself on 18 I’ve got to make 4.”

That would be the par-5 18th. Rohde, needing a birdie, hit a long drive to give himself a chance to go at the green in two. Rohde’s second shot was slightly to the right, landing in a green-side bunker. His bunker shot came up short, and he two-putted from 25 feet to finish with a par.

”I hit a great drive,” said Rohde, who finished with six birdies and no bogeys. “My second shot, I leaked it a little right into the bunker, and when I got into that bunker it was really thin, there wasn’t a lot of sand. So in my head I was going, ‘Just don’t scull it across the green,’ so I fatted it, unfortunately.”

Beavers, unaware of Rohde’s par on 18 and thinking he needed a birdie to ensure victory, pulled his drive left and into the trees. But Beavers was able to punch out to 100 yards, then hit a wedge into the green to 7 feet. With two putts to win, Beavers, after another deep breath, rolled the birdie putt into the cup before reacting with his fist pumps.

”My drive was two feet from going in that really tall stuff, so I got a little lucky there,” Beavers said. “I had a window and I hit a really nice 3-iron out and got myself back in play and hit a really nice wedge in there. You don’t go through 54 holes of golf without getting a little lucky, and that was my break.”

Beavers has won the tournament all three times he’s entered.

Chris Hatch, a senior at Western Washington University, and Alvin Kwak, a sophomore at Kamiak High School, were the only other players to finish under par for tournament, as the Mukilteo residents tied for fourth at 2-under. Hatch shot a 1-under 71 Monday, Kwak shot an even-par 72.

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