July 1, 2006
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - Gonzaga University senior Jimmy Hayes of Redmond finished in a three-way tie for second at the 80th Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) Men's State Amateur Championship Friday.
Zach Bixler of Richland went wire-to-wire in 72 holes of play to win the title over the 6,980-yard, par 72 McCormick Woods Golf Course.
Hayes and Bixler were tied for first after 54 holes on Thursday, but Bixler shot a 1-over par 73 while Hayes had a 4-over 76 on Friday. Bixler finished at 3-under par 385 while Hayes, defending champion Alex Prugh of Spokane and Joseph Prince of Bellevue were at even-par 288.
Hayes finished 16th in the West Coast Conference Championship last spring for the Bulldogs, and returns as one of the leaders of this year's Bulldog squad.
"This is a prestigious tournament," Gonzaga head coach Robert Gray said. "His performance has to give Jimmy a lot of confidence to carry him through the summer and into the collegiate season this fall. We're looking for big things from him."
Bixler is hardly unknown to amateur golf in the state of Washington. In 2003, he won the State 4A golf championship as a senior, leading Richland High School to their second straight team title, and in 2002 at the age of 17, he won the Washington Junior Golf Association state championship. His college career is heading in the same direction after finishing 20th in the NCAA Championship this year as a sophomore, and he was recently named a 2006 PING All-America honorable mention.
The championship called for 72 holes of stroke play, with the starting field of 138 being cut on Wednesday to the lowest 60 scorers and ties. The cut was 18-over par (162).
Past champions of this championship, which started in 1922, include Fred Couples, the 1992 Masters champion, and Kermit Zarley, a longtime PGA Tour player.For complete results visit the WSGA website at http://www.thewsga.org/championships/mens_am/2006_mens_stroke.html.