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Coston returns to defend title

Defending champion Jeff Coston has won the Rosauers three times.  (File / The Spokesman-Review)
Defending champion Jeff Coston has won the Rosauers three times. (File / The Spokesman-Review)

He’s only golfer to win Rosauers Open 3 times

It’s that time of the year when Jeff Coston starts feeling young again.

And that probably doesn’t bode well for the other 167 golfers expected to compete in this year’s $135,000 Rosauers Open, which will play out this weekend at Indian Canyon Golf Course.

Coston, a 53-year-old teaching professional who runs Jeff Coston Golf Academy at Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club in Blaine, Wash., will be back to defend the title he won last year to become the only three-time champion of the Pacific Northwest Professional Golf Association’s richest tournament, which kicks off this morning with a two-day pro-am event.

Coston won’t tee it up until Friday’s start of the 54-hole tournament proper. But when he does, he will do so with a major level of confidence stemming from the past success he has had on the 6,255-yard Indian Canyon layout.

“I’m definitely looking forward to coming over again,” Coston said earlier this week. “It’s warmer over there, and as an old guy, I like that. It makes me feel younger.”

Last year, Coston overcame a four-stroke deficit on the final day of the tournament to overtake second-round leader Ryan Benzel and claim his third Rosauers title – the first of which came back in 1997. And he comes into this year’s event having recently qualified for the 2009 U.S. Senior Open that will be played later this month at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.

“I don’t know for sure what it is,” Coston said, when asked what has made him such a dominant force in the Rosauers. “Part of it, I guess, is that – in my mind, at least – it’s the finest atmosphere of any tournament in our section. People come out to watch, the volunteers are terrific and there’s even this guy, Doug, giving me a massage every day before I play.

“Plus, it offers the biggest purse in the section, and I’ve got lots of bills to pay, so there’s plenty of motivation.”

This year’s winner will once again earn $8,000, which should help motivate everyone in the 168-man field that includes five other past Rosauers champions – host professional Gary Lindeblad (1990), Rob Gibbons (1991), Chris Mitchell (1989, 92), Casey McCoy (2001) and Benzel (2005) – along with some of the top amateurs in the Pacific Northwest.

Also entered in this year’s event is 2009 Oregon Open champ Brian Nosler and 2009 Washington Open winner Brian Thornton.

“It should be a heck of a tournament again,” said Jeff Ellison, executive director of PNWPGA. “The course is in perfect condition, and the field is loaded.”

Patience will again be a key to winning, according to Coston.

“A lot of things can take place on that golf course,” he said. “You can really get it going out there – or it can get you going. At times, it plays short, but you still have to hit shots and make your putts. And you still have to be patient.”