Champion Johnny Carey tees off during the 93rd Annual Snohomish County Amateur Championship on Monday, May 27, 2024, at the Everett Golf and Country Club in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Champion Johnny Carey tees off during the 93rd Annual Snohomish County Amateur Championship on Monday, May 27, 2024, at the Everett Golf and Country Club in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Johnny Carey claims his first Snohomish County Amateur title

The Kamiak High School grad edges Snohomish High School senior Palmer Mutcheson by one stroke.

EVERETT — Johnny Carey watched his 10-foot putt drop into the cup on the final hole of the final day of the 93rd Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament, but was likely the only one there unaware it was a final.

Pumping his fist believing he’d forced a playoff hole against impressive Snohomish High School senior Palmer Mutcheson, Carey looked around in disbelief when informed it was over.

“Wait, what?” said Carey as family and friends surrounded him moments after he birdied the 18th to shoot 1-under-par 71 on a windy Monday at Everett Golf and Country Club. “Are you kidding me?”

Carey, who placed fourth in 2023 and third in 2022, said he was determined not to scorecard watch during the final round. He believed he needed to shoot 69 or better to have a shot at winning, and thought he was down a shot after a birdie putt attempt on 17 lipped out of the cup.

“This tournament is kind of the crown jewel for me,” said Carey, who finished with a three-day total 5-under 210 to win his first County Am championship. ” It’s hard to beat walking down 18 with a bunch of people watching — you got your family, your wife, your in-laws and your best buddy on the bag. I’ll never forget that putt.”

Grayson Giboney finished third on his home course, closing with a 70 Monday to finish at 2-under 213. Conrad Chisman, a Stanwood High School senior representing SuperRange who won the Class 3A boys state tournament last Wednesday, shot a fourth-best even-par 215.

Carey, a 2008 Kamiak High School graduate who was playing out of Mill Creek Country Club, entered Monday’s third round tied for the lead with Cedarcrest’s Justin Towle. Both shot 68 Saturday at Mill Creek and 71 Sunday at Legion Memorial Golf Course before eventual sixth-place finisher Towle fell of the pace early on Day 3. Carey struggled to fight off Snohomish Golf Course’s Mutcheson, who entered Monday trailing by two strokes.

“He’s going to win big tournaments,” Carey said of Mutcheson. “He’s impressive. He’s ice cold out there.”

Carey led the entire way until Mutcheson made a move on 16 that had the gallery of friends, family and fans wondering if the high school kid, who has a part-time job in Everett Golf & Country Club’s bag room, could pull off the shocker. Mutcheson, who out-drove Carey and Towle on almost every hole, birdied the uphill 275-yard par-4 hole with a 2-iron drive that nearly made it to the green, a challenging chip that went past the hole and an impressive 15-foot putt. Meanwhile, Carey grazed some tree branches on his drive and settled for bogey.

They remained tied going into to the 18th tee box, and the final hole proved to be the difference. They hit similar drives, a little off line just to the right of the fairway. Carey’s shot bounced inward slightly, while Mutcheson’s bounced out to the right and landed behind a tree. Mutcheson hit an aggressive cut-spin shot with his pitching wedge around the tree and salvaged par. As Carey began mentally preparing for a playoff hole, Mutcheson finished the bittersweet hole by tapping in a short par putt.

“I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get the win, but I’m excited about how I played,” said Mutcheson, whose Snohomish High School golf team finished fourth in the Class 3A boys state tournament. “I thought I hit a better drive on 18 than I did, but I made a good par.”

“He just made a better putt.”

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