Jacob Rohde surveys the area at Everett Golf & Country Club during last year’s final round of the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament. The three-time champion is among this year’s favorites. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Jacob Rohde surveys the area at Everett Golf & Country Club during last year’s final round of the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament. The three-time champion is among this year’s favorites. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

It’s out with the old, in with the new at the County Am

The 93rd Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament takes place Saturday through Monday.

It’s out with the old and in with the new — in a sense — for the 93rd edition of the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament.

There will be a new champion, as last year’s winner Daniel Kim is not entered — though that makes a three-time champion the favorite.

And there’s a new course that’s part of the three-day tournament, which begins Saturday and concludes Monday — though that course is only new to the current generation, as it used to be a staple of the tournament.

But the goal for the 97 players entered remains the same: being crowned the best amateur golfer in the county.

“I’m excited for this year,” tournament director Jason Himple said. “I want to see what the scores look like this year with this new course rotation, and I’m excited to crown a new champion on Monday.”

The new(ish) course is Mill Creek Country Club, which is the site of Saturday’s opening round. Himple said it’s been at least 15 years since Mill Creek Country Club was a part of the County Am.

“They reached out to us and really wanted to be part of the rotation, to give back to the community,” Himple said. “It’s great to have them. It’s a very challenging golf club, so it’s going to be great to see a golf course that gives a true test to everybody.”

Sunday’s second round is at Legion Memorial Golf Course, while Monday’s concluding round is at Everett Golf & Country Club, which is the traditional finishing course.

As for this years field, it will be without Kim, who won last year’s tournament comfortably. Himple said he did not know why Kim, a Kamiak High School graduate who most recently was a member of the Washington State University men’s team, was not entered.

With Kim out, it means Jacob Rohde is considered the favorite. Rohde, who plays out of Legion Memorial, won the tournament in 2018, 2021 and 2022. Rohde, who finished third last year, is one of just two former champions in the field — 1996 winner Jeff Strickland is the other — and is the highest finisher from last year’s tournament who’s entered this year. Should Rohde claim his fourth County Am title he would become just the fifth four-time winner in tournament history, joining five-time winners Bob Whisman and Alex Stamey and four-time champs Jeff Knudson and Todd Tibke.

“Jacob Rohde has to come in as a strong favorite, having won multiple times,” Himple said. “But we have a lot of good young players competing — there are 24 players with plus handicaps. A couple of them are college kids who are playing every day. Then you have your guys who work for a living, but you can’t count them out.”

Chief among the college players is Grayson Giboney. The King’s High School graduate, who plays out of Everett Golf & Country Club, just finished his senior season at Northwest Nazarene, where he was a first-team All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference selection. He has the field’s lowest handicap at plus-4.9.

Other low handicaps include high schoolers Kaden Ausen (plus-4.2) and Conrad Chisman (plus-3.9) and past tournament standouts Johnny Carey (plus-3.9) and Mark Strickland (plus-3.8). Ausen, a senior at White River who’s playing out of Cedarcrest Golf Course, tied for second at the Class 2A boys state tournament earlier this week. Chisman, a senior at Stanwood who’s playing out of SuperRange, is coming off winning the Class 3A boys state championship. Carey (Mill Creek) and Mark Strickland (Harbour Pointe) are Kamiak grads who have placed high at the County Am in the past: Carey was fourth last year, Mark Strickland was fourth in 2021.

Also back in the field is Greg Whisman (SuperRange). The former PGA player and son of Bob Whisman finished as runner-up to Rohde in 2021. Both Whisman and Mark Strickland have a chance to become part of just the second father-son duo to win the County Am, joining Bob and Stephen Lee.

For the second straight year there are two women in the field. Michelle Duan (Everett Golf & Country Club) became the first female player in tournament history in 2021. Heaven Kim (Everett Golf & Country Club), a senior at Kamiak who placed fifth at the Class 4A girls state tournament, won Flight 2 last year.

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