Jacob Rohde reacts after a birdie on the 16th hole Monday afternoon during the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jacob Rohde reacts after a birdie on the 16th hole Monday afternoon during the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Rohde outlasts Kwak to win 3rd Snohomish County Amateur

The 44-year-old became just the 9th player in tournament history to win 3 times.

EVERETT — A wild and crazy final round of the 91st annual Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament turned into a sensational display between the previous two champions, as Jacob Rohde and Alvin Kwak matched one another birdie for birdie on the closing holes.

In the end Rohde had one more trick up his sleeve, and as a result he etched himself into County Am history.

Rohde shot a blistering 6-under par 66 during Monday’s final round at Everett Golf & Country Club, including four straight birdies on holes No. 14-17, to finish with a three-round total of 9-under to become just the ninth player in the history of the County Am to win the tournament three times.

”It feels awesome,” Rohde said. “To be honest, I didn’t think I had a chance today. I didn’t play very stellar (Sunday at Legion Memorial Golf Course, when he shot an even-par 71), mainly because I had a little too much fun at a concert the night before. But today I figured if I could shoot 67 I’d have a chance, and it just started rolling on the back nine, I just couldn’t miss. Every putt I hit felt great.”

Rohde, a 44-year-old equipment financier in Everett who was representing Legion Memorial, finished one shot ahead of Kwak, who was representing Everett Golf & Country Club. Kwak, a 21-year-old Kamiak High School graduate who now plays at Columbia University, shot a 69 Monday.

Kwak, playing in the final group while Rohde played in the second-to-last group, also birdied four straight on the back nine, and he had a long birdie putt on 18 to send the tournament to a playoff. Kwak gave it a run, but the putt slid just by the left edge.

”My putter was never hot all day,” Kwak said. “So I just started hitting it really tight to the hole and that was it, getting some shots close — and a lucky bounce on 16 helped.

“I had no idea how Jacob was doing,” Kwak added. “People would try to tell me and I didn’t want to know.”

This year’s tournament evolved into a free-for-all, as at the start of the back nine there were five players all within one shot of the lead. At one point early in the back nine, Rohde, Kwak, Jordan Brajcich, Johnny Carey and Justin Towle all held at least a share of the lead, as the top of the leaderboard shifted on every hole.

But eventually Rohde, the defending champion, took control.

Rohde moved into the lead on the par-5 14th when he reached the green in two and two-putted for birdie to move to 6-under. He followed by hitting his tee shot stiff and sinking a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th, then made an unbelievable 25-foot birdie putt over a ridge on the par-4 16th, and finally drained an 18-foot birdie putt on the 17th. On 16 he raised his finger in emphatic celebration just before the putt went in, and on 17 he was already walking to get his ball out of the cup with the ball still three feet from the hole.

”The birdie on 16 for sure (was the key moment),” Rohde said. “I didn’t hit a great wedge shot in there, kind of came short of a really big ridge, and it’s a new section of green so I’ve never even putted it before. It was a hit and hope. I knew I had to at least get it over the ridge, and if I could two-putt I could go to the next hole and try to make birdie instead. About four feet out I was like, ‘Oh, that’s going to go in,’ and I couldn’t believe it.”

Rohde didn’t know that Kwak was matching him until he walked down the 18th fairway. Rohde had a 25-foot birdie putt that could have put the tournament away, but ran the putt four feet past, and he just snuck his par putt in the side pocket to leave Kwak needing a birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Kwak, the 2019 champion (there was no tournament in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic), was the only member of the leading group able to keep pace with Rohde. But whereas Rohde did his damage with his putter, Kwak did his with his approach shots, as he gave himself tap-in birdies on both 13 and 15, then drove just over the green on the par-4 16th and got up and down for his fourth straight birdie. Kwak had a similar putt to Rohde on 17 to try and make it five straight, but was unable to sink it to move into a tie for the lead.

”This was the first tournament I played for someone else,” Kwak said. “I’ve had the same golf coach (Kevin Mackay) since I started in 2009 and he’s been going through some hard health issues. I really wanted to show one last win for him, and I honestly didn’t expect this type of performance this week because I’ve been struggling. But I felt he gave me some power, I started hitting the ball well and draining putts.”

Carey, representing Mill Creek Country Club, and Towle, representing Walter Hall Golf Course, tied for third at 5-under.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

X
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Feb. 26-March 3

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Feb. 26-March 3. Voting closes… Continue reading

X
Silvertips prove they can contend with WHL’s best

Everett slugged it out with Eastern Conference contender Moose Jaw in an entertaining 8-7 shootout loss over the weekend.

Glacier Peak’s Jo Lee (2) shoots the ball during a 4A semifinal game between Glacier Peak and Richland at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Glacier Peak fell, 70-59. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Five locals named to state basketball all-tournament teams

Everett senior Alana Washington and King’s sophomore Kaleo Anderson led the way with first-team selections.

Seattle Mariners' Dominic Canzone looks for a pitch during a spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Dominic Canzone ranks high on the list of Mariners’ top breakout candidates

The team is bullish on the bulked-up outfielder’s abilities.

FILE - Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Dec. 16, 2023, in Detroit. The Broncos told Wilson, Monday, March 4, 2024, that they are going to release him next week, just 18 months after signing the Super Bowl-winning quarterback to a five-year, $242 million contract extension. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
Broncos inform Russell Wilson they’ll release him

Denver will take a record $89 million hit in dead cap charges over the next two seasons.

X
State basketball roundup for Saturday, March 2

State basketball roundup for Saturday, March 2: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Richland’s Landen Northrop (1) shoots the ball during a 4A semifinal game between Glacier Peak and Richland at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Glacier Peak fell, 70-59. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Glacier Peak boys fade late against Richland in 4A state semifinals

An 11-0 closing run by the Bombers hands the Grizzlies a 70-59 loss.

Mead’s Teryn Gardner (24) moves with the ball during a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish girls get rolling too late, fall to Mead in 3A state semifinals

Snohomish makes a valiant second-half push, but comes up short 56-50 against the well-balanced top seed.

X
State basketball roundup for Friday, March 1

State basketball prep roundup for Friday, March 1: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Matt Brash delivers during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
Mariners get relieving injury update on Matt Brash

The hard-throwing reliever won’t need surgery. Plus, updates on injuries to Gregory Santos and Luis Urias.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Penix Jr. confident he’s answered concerns at NFL combine

Varying national reports have stated the UW quarterback has impressed teams in formal meetings

Snohomish junior Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles hits the floor trying to get the ball during a WIAA 3A Girls Basketball quarterfinal against Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish girls lock down Arlington, advance to 3A state semifinals

The Panthers run away a 45-25 victory in a rubber match between the Wesco rivals.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.