Kamiak’s Kwak pulls off an upset at the U.S. Junior Amateur

ANDOVER, Kan. — Alvin Kwak pulled off a major upset Wednesday at the U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Tournament.

Seeded 63rd among the 64 golfers who qualified for match play, Kwak defeated second-seeded Brandon Mancheno of Jacksonville, Florida, 1-up at Flint Hills National Golf Club.

Kwak, a Kamiak High School junior-to-be from Mukilteo, advances to the round of 32, where he faces 10th-seeded Kaito Onishi of Japan on Thursday. They are scheduled to tee off at 6:20 a.m. PDT.

On Wednesday, Kwak and Mancheno were tied going into the final hole — the par-5, 491-yard 18th. Mancheno bogeyed the hole, allowing Kwak to win the match with his two-putt par.

“The guy is dedicated to be the very best golfer he can be,” Kamiak golf coach Vic Alinen said. “And he influences everybody else around him, which as a coach, I adore.”

After losing the opening hole, Kwak went on a tear. He won the next four holes — including an eagle on the 420-yard, par-4 second — to take a 3-up lead. Mancheno chipped away, however, winning the seventh, 10th and 11th holes to square the match.

After Kwak pulled ahead with a birdie on the 385-yard, par-4 13th, Mancheno won the next two holes for a 1-up advantage. Kwak tied the contest on the next hole, making birdie on the 454-yard, par-4 16th.

For the round, Kwak had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

Kwak is playing in the U.S. Junior Amateur for the second time in three years. He didn’t make the cut as a 14-year-old in 2015.

“The young man totally has a vision to be the best golfer that Snohomish County has ever seen,” Alinen said. “And I do not distract from that.

“I encourage him and tell him, ‘Son, God has gifted you with talent. You’re the hardest-working guy on my team. Those two things … equal the best player ever to come out of Snohomish County.’”

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