EVERETT — Jacob Rohde was all too familiar with second place at the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament.
This year he was determined to move onto the top rung, and he made sure there’d be no doubt about who wound up on top.
Rohde left the rest of the field in his dust, winning by five strokes to claim the 88th Snohomish County Amateur championship Monday at Walter Hall Golf Course.
Rohde compiled a three-round score of 5-under par 212 to finish five strokes ahead of Halen Davis, who finished at even-par 217. David Hansen and Patrick Boag tied for third at 3-over 220.
Rohde, a 40-year-old from Everett who plays out of Walter Hall, finished as the runner-up to Kevin Beavers each of the previous two years. Beavers, the three-time defending champion, decided not to play this year. Rohde, who came into the final round with a two-stroke lead, shot a 1-under 71 Monday to cement the title, his first at the County Am.
”It feels good, I wish it could feel better,” Rohde admitted. “I wish Kevin was here because I wanted to take it from him, I didn’t want to be given it, per se.
“It’s nice to get the monkey off the back a little bit,” Rohde added. “I’ve played this five times now and finished second three times, didn’t play well one year and now I’ve finished first. So it feels good.”
Rohde began the day leading Joel Micka by two strokes and Jordan Brajcich by three. Rohde actually got off to a rough start, bogeying No. 3 and No. 4 to fall to 2-under, though he still had a two-stroke lead over playing partners Micka and Brajcich.
But No. 6 proved to be the decisive hole. The 309-yard par 4 is drivable for the big hitters, and both Micka and Brajcich went with drivers while Rohde decided to lay up by hitting iron off the tee. Rohde left himself with a full wedge approach shot, which he put 4 feet from the pin. When he made birdie and Micka made double-bogey it was a three-stroke swing.
“My caddie and I were talking about whether to hit driver or iron,” Rohde explained. “With the wind behind us and the pin up front we decided it would be better to have a full shot in. So I hit 4-iron knowing I would have about 100 yards in, and my wedge game has been good all week. I was confident I could get inside 10 feet and have a shot at it, and then hitting it to four feet and making it was like, ‘OK, now let’s get this going.’”
The birdie on No. 6 began a run for Rohde, who birdied three of the following four holes to move to 6-under and put himself out of reach by Brajcich and Micka.
That meant the only threat to Rohde was Davis. Davis began the day at 1-over, five strokes behind Rohde, and because he was playing in the preceding group his progress was largely unknown to the final group.
Davis, a 22-year-old from Lake Stevens who also plays out of Walter Hall, was in the midst of a hectic 30 hours in which he played the second round of the County Am at Harbour Pointe in Mukilteo on Sunday morning, immediately headed across the border to play a practice round at Chilliwack Golf Club on Sunday afternoon in preparation for the Canadian University/College Championship, then raced back Monday morning to reach Walter Hall just before his 10:39 a.m. tee time.
Davis reached 3-under for the day and 2-under for the tournament after birdieing No. 11, and at one point on the front nine pulled within two strokes of Rohde. However, bogeys on 12 and 13 killed Davis’ momentum.
“I was making a run, especially on the front nine when I had four birdies,” said Davis, who plays for the University of Fraser Valley men’s golf team. “But then I followed up with two bogeys. I was trying to push, trying to catch the leader, and I got it to 3-under for the day and kind of plateaued. I was happy with how I played, I wasn’t happy with the mental approach of how I handled the last six or so holes. I kind of pushed too hard.”
Meanwhile, Rohde bogeyed No. 11 and No. 15, and without knowing where Davis stood he felt some apprehension heading into the final holes. However, a beautiful tee shot on the 171-yard par-3 17th landed six feet from the hole, and he rolled in the putt to allow himself to relax on No. 18.
“On 9 I saw Davis and asked how he was playing and he said he was 2-under (for the day) and I was even, and that’s three shots right there,” Rohde said. “When I bogeyed 15 and hit a bad tee shot on 16, I was thinking if he had three birdies on the back we’re tied. So I needed to make another birdie coming in for sure. I made the birdie on 17 and felt pretty confident at that point, but then my wife sent my youngest son up there to see how [Davis] was playing, and he came back and said, ‘You’ve got it,’ so now it wasn’t so big a deal.”
The day’s low round was shared by Hansen, Ty Cannon and Chris Hatch, who each shot 2-under 70s.