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Washington Team Ties for 13th at USGA Men's State Team Championship


Tom Brandes and Mike Haack, both of Bellevue, Wash., and Sean Packer of Seattle, Wash. combined to lead Team Washington to a tie for 13th at the 10th USGA Men's State Team Championship, held at Galloway (New Jersey) National Golf Club from September 19-21.

The three players had been selected by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) to represent Washington in the championship based on their standings on the WSGA Performance Points List, compiled over the last two years (August 1, 2010 - August 1, 2012).

Among their playing accomplishments, Brandes is coming off his victories in the 2012 Washington State Mid-Amateur and PNGA Mid-Amateur Championships, and was playing in his second USGA Men's State Team Championship; Haack had qualified for the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur and 2012 U.S. Amateur Championships; and Packer had qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

The Washington team finished at 20-over-par in the 3-count-2 stroke play format. In today's final round, Packer had it going for a while, sitting at 1-under-par on the day after 13 holes, but the last five holes at Galloway National is a tough stretch and he finished the day with a 3-over-par 74. "I had it going all day," he said. "Just stumbled down the stretch. It shows how the course will win if you're off just a bit on any shot. But I had a great time. This is a great event."

This year, 52 teams were entered into the championship. All states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico may enter teams of three players. Eighteen holes of stroke play were contested each day of the 3-day championship, with the two lowest of the three individual scores counting as the team's score for the round. The team with the lowest aggregate score through 54 holes hoists the James R. Hand Trophy, and this year that honor went to the team from New York - Max Buckley, Michael Miller and Joseph Saladino - who finished six shots clear of the field with a combined three-day total of 2-over-par.

This is the 10th USGA Men's State Team Championship and the first USGA Championship to be conducted at Galloway National Golf Club. The competition, as well as the Women's State Team Championship, grew out of the Association's centennial anniversary in 1995. USGA officials believed that a new championship, one in which each state could be represented by amateur, non-college golfers, was an appropriate way to cap the USGA's year-long birthday celebration. The competition proved to be such a success that the Association decided to continue conducting the championship biennially.

The format was fashioned after the biennial World Amateur Team Championship, which involves three-person teams in a 3-count-2 stroke-play format. State associations were given a variety of options in which to select its team members. The inaugural Men's State Team Championship drew teams from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The District of Columbia has also been added in recent years.

In 2009, the USGA decided to hold the Men's State Team and Women's State Team competitions at separate sites, and beginning in 2010, the schedule was changed to have the competitions alternate years, with the Men's State Team Championship conducted in even years and the Women's State Team in odd years.

Go to www.usga.org for final results and more information on the USGA State Team Championship.