Historic Northwest Open Set to Start


With the U.S. Amateur starting Monday at Chambers Bay, the Champions Tour's Boeing Classic to begin August 27th, and the golf world's attention riveted on the recently completed U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee, the Pacific Northwest has been a hotbed for big tournaments this year.

Amid all these events is the upcoming Northwest Open Invitational, which originated in 1913, making it one of the region's longest-running championships.

The 2010 Northwest Open Invitational will be played August 23-25 at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. The 6,805-yard, par-72 course designed by Dan Hixson opened for play in the spring of 2009.

Last year the event was taken in an exciting finish when PGA professional Mike Schoner from Lakeview G&CC in Eastern Washington, won his first Pacific Northwest PGA Section title after overcoming a field of strong players. Schoner had his name engraved on the 105th Northwest Open (it assumed other names in its early years) trophy after winning in a playoff against professional Brandon Kearney of Bend (Ore.) G&CC.

Schoner will defend his title against the top Northwest PGA professionals and amateurs. Other favorites vying for the title include: Chuck Milne of Vanco (Wash.) Driving Range, who won the Senior Oregon Open two weeks ago; former PGA Tour player Jeff Coston of Semiahmoo (Wash.) G&CC, who has already won the Washington Open and Senior Washington Open this year; and amateur Derek Berg of Glendale CC in Bellevue, Wash., who won the Oregon Open in June. Coston won the event twice before in 2001 and '07, while Berg took home the title in 2005 and '06.

Other past champions include Mike Gove of Inglewood GC (1985) and Brent Murray of Oswego Lake (Ore.) CC (1999), Rob Clark of Wenatchee (Wash.) G&CC (2008).

History of Northwest Open

Some of golf's biggest names grace the trophy for this long-running championship. The early years were dominated by Seattle Golf Club's Robert Johnstone (who won eight of the first 10 events) and James "Long Jim" Barnes, the head pro at Tacoma C&GC from 1911-15, who later won the first two PGA Championships (1916 and '19) in addition to the 1921 U. S. Open and the 1925 British Open. Spokane's Marvin "Bud" Ward captured six Northwest Opens over a 22-year span, five as an amateur and his last as a professional. Ward was won the U.S. Amateur and may have garnered a few more but for the lack of championships during World War II.

About the Course

Wine Valley Golf Club, which opened in April of 2009, was rated fifth on Golfweek's Best New Courses following its debut. The links-like layout unfolds over rolling hills in the shadow of the Blue Mountains, featuring broad fairways, dramatic bunkers, and bold, undulating putting surfaces.

For more information about the event, visit www.pnwpga.com/nwo.htm.

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