It’s an odd-numbered year so identifying the favorite at the 30th annual Rosauers Open Invitational seems simple enough.
That’s a pattern the Manito assistant pro would like to see continue, but, as always, the Rosauers’ 156-player field is stocked with the West Coast’s top pros and amateurs.
The $135,000 Rosauers, the richest sectional event in the country, begins with the pro-am Wednesday and Thursday, followed by the 54-hole tournament Friday through Sunday at Indian Canyon.
“We have so many really good players in our (Pacific Northwest) section it’s honestly hard to pick one,” tournament director Gary Lindeblad said. “There are probably any of 20 guys that could win it if they get a few good bounces and putt well.”
The tournament returns to Indian Canyon, site of 26 Rosauers events, after MeadowWood hosted the 2014 and 2016 versions. Rosauers CEO Mike Shirts said a year ago future tournaments will be rotated among several area courses.
“I certainly think they’re going to take a hard look at the rotation, I don’t know the courses for sure,” Lindeblad said. “It’s such a wonderful event. I think it has the ultimate status of our sectional events. We want it to be perfect.”
Washington State University’s Derek Bayley lapped the field last year at MeadowWood, firing a magical second-round 59 en route to a 27-under 189. He’s playing in the PNGA Amateur in Eugene, Oregon, with match play beginning Wednesday. Bayley said he will play in the Rosauers if he’s been eliminated at the PNGA by Thursday.
Bayley and Cody Upham (2007) are the only amateur champions.
Prugh is coming off a third-place finish at the Lilac City Invitational last weekend. In addition to Prugh, past champions in the field include Tim Feenstra (2014), David Phay (2012), Kyle Kelly (2010), Jeff Coston (2008, 2006, 1997), Ryan Benzel (2005) and Rob Gibbons (1991).
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