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Bates claims third San Juan Open title in sudden-death playoff
The San Juan golf course flexed its muscles over the weekend during the annual San Juan Open.
Its notorious, lightning-fast greens, coupled with steady 15-20 mph winds on Sunday, made scoring difficult for the entire field of 50-plus players.
Friday Harbor High School senior Cody Price bested the field during the opening round on Saturday and grabbed a 1-stroke lead by posting a respectable 76, five strokes over par. Veteran local golfers Ron Bates, Bobby Erickson and Phil McKee, all of whom shot a 77 in the opening round, were nipping at his heels when the final round began Sunday.
Rick D'ours, recovering from a recent shoulder surgery, raised more than a few eyebrows by shooting an impressive 81 on Saturday and took the lead in net-play competition with a dazzling 63.
“It always great to see a guy play well, and Rick's play was awesome," Bates said. "Especially since he's still recovering from shoulder surgery.”
The Open, arguably the San Juan Golf and Country Club's marquee competition of the year, remains a top draw for the island's premier golfers and among many off-islanders as well.
“The atmosphere, camaraderie, and overall excitement this tournament brings is unmatched," said Seattle's Bob Kruger. "It's what keeps bringing us back every year."
Price's enormous drives and steady putting carded him a solid 78 in Sunday's final round, but consistent play by Bates, a three-time SJ Open winner, who fired another 77, landed the two in sudden death and with the overall gross-title hanging in the balance. The first playoff hole ended in a tie, but Price hooked his next tee-shot, which opened the door for the veteran Bates. From 165 yards out, he stroked an approach shot that landed near the pin and that proved close enough to seal the match and to earn a third consecutive Open crown.
The net-play competition went into extra innings as well, as D'ours and Jeff MacDonald matched another stride for stride. MacDonald defeated D'ours in that head-to-head playoff to claim the net-division title.
Bates will be competing in the Washington State Amateur golf tournament next week in Pullman, Wa. Price will attend California Lutheran University beginning this fall and will compete on the golf team.
Top 3 Gross Winners:
1st Ron Bates – 77/77
2nd Cody Price – 76/78
3rdLenny Thompson – 81/74
Top 3 Net Winners:
1st Jeff MacDonald – 71/63
2nd Rick D'ours – 63/71
3rd James Webert – 71/65
Friday's Horserace winners:
1st Ron Bates & Susan Anderson
2nd Pat Curtiss & Megan Cuomo