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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Jim Meehan: Spokane’s Andrew Von Lossow ready to test his improving game at U.S. Amateur

Andrew Von Lossow has been involved in golf for most of his 34 years and he’s come to a few realizations.

He prefers playing golf versus caddying at several of the nation’s finest courses. He prefers playing over practicing. He prefers tournament golf over just about everything else.

Von Lossow settled in Spokane about five years ago and it’s no coincidence his amateur career has flourished in that time frame. He’s in contention regularly at prominent amateur events as well as PGA Pacific Northwest Section tournaments. He’s making inroads at the United States Golf Association (USGA) level, teaming up with former Idaho Vandal Sean Langham to compete at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship last May in Birmingham, Alabama.

And last month, Von Lossow’s crowning achievement thus far – earning a spot in the U.S. Amateur as co-medalist with Canadian AJ Ewart at a qualifier at The Home Course in DuPont, Washington.

“I’d say it’s my biggest (accomplishment),” Von Lossow said. “Making sectionals for the U.S. Open was really cool, but the Amateur with the history and one of the original majors of the game, it’s pretty awesome.”

Von Lossow was surrounded by golf growing up in Seattle. His father, Jim, had a stint on the PGA Tour in 1979-80 and later operated a club fitting and repair shop inside the family home for decades. The younger Von Lossow played for Southwestern Oregon Community College and captured the 2009 NWAC individual title with rounds of 66-68 at Veterans Memorial G.C. in Walla Walla.

Von Lossow took a swing professionally on the Dakotas Tour in 2010, but soon returned to school at Eastern Washington, which didn’t have a golf team at that point, over walk-on offers from Idaho and Washington State.

“I suck at math,” Von Lossow cracked, “but I knew I needed extra help to (go to Idaho or WSU).”

Golf mostly took a back seat as he went to school and spent summers caddying at Yellowstone Club in Montana. That pattern – playing in tournaments occasionally while caddying in Montana, Nashville or at Gozzer Ranch near Lake Coeur d’Alene – continued for a few years after he finished at EWU in 2012.

Von Lossow’s parents moved to Spokane in 2017 and, after briefly living in Las Vegas, he followed suit shortly thereafter. The stability of residing in one location has done wonders for his game.

Von Lossow opened the Glen Cove Trading Company, which specializes in golf hats, shirts, apparel and other items, often for courses or tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. His business allows him flexibility to work odd hours and fine-tune his game, usually at Indian Canyon or Manito. He might spend early morning hours designing a new hat, hit the course for a round and then return to his computer to work in the evening.

“Getting back in, it started in 2018,” Von Lossow said. “I like striving to get better. I love the adrenaline and big crowds if people are around. It was, ‘Shoot, let’s see how good I can get.’ If you look at the history of the game, it’s cool to see how long you can play and know you can be competitive for a long time and not just have a short window.

“I’ve played in enough events to see how good players are. I can compete, I can hit the ball pretty well. It’s taken me awhile – I’d have moments with a good nine holes and then I’d cool off. I look at the incremental victories where you can build on it going forward. If I have a bad mindset, I’m done before I start.”

Von Lossow’s results have reflected those incremental gains as he incorporates lessons learned along the way. He won the Spokane City Championship in 2018 and 2019. At a U.S. Open final qualifying, Von Lossow was one shot off the lead after the opening 18, but became impatient on the closing 18.

“I got into the mindset of needing to make birdies and I started making bogeys,” he said. “Just pressing too much. This year I’ve done a better job at making birdies later in rounds.”

He won the 2021 Washington Champion of Champions in a three-way playoff and finished tied for fourth at the 2022 event. He shared third at the 2022 Oregon Open and tied for eighth at the Rosauers Open Invitational last month.

Von Lossow played the first two Rosauers rounds with Oregon-based pro Scott Erdmann, the 2019 champ and 2022 runner-up. In the second round, Erdmann pulled up to his ball in the fairway at No. 2 at Indian Canyon to a pleasant surprise. For one of the rare times, he outdrove Von Lossow, by a single yard on the 469-yard par 5.

As Von Lossow steered his push cart within eyesight at the top of a ridge, Erdmann playfully flexed, fully aware his ball had the good fortune of bounding off hardpan and the cart path while Von Lossow’s 340-yard bomb was airborne for most of its journey.

“He’s got all the game in the world,” Erdmann said of the Spokane amateur. “He hits it forever and hits it straight. No weaknesses in his game. I would expect him to do well in the (U.S.) Amateur, too.”

Von Lossow has some unique accomplishments on his golf resume. He had a ridiculous streak of five holes-in-one in roughly 13 months, including aces on the same hole at Wine Valley on consecutive days. He also captured the U.S. Hickory Open (hickory-shafted clubs) last summer at Gearhart (Oregon) Golf Links.

One of the biggest improvements in Von Lossow’s game didn’t involve a club, swing change or acres of grass. He was disappointed with a sluggish finish on the back nine at a bigger tournament a few years ago and decided to do something about it. So a few years ago, Von Lossow and Manito pro Gordon Corder started working out at 5:30 a.m. five days a week at Corder’s home gym, which occupies a section of his garage. The two have gained strength and stamina while shedding pounds.

Von Lossow went from barely bench-pressing 135 pounds to hoisting 225 eight times. He’s dropped about 20 pounds and his clubhead speed has reached 122 MPH. He was particularly proud of finishing strong with a 65 after shooting 70 in the morning round at the qualifier at The Home Course. His best score at the Rosauers was a 6-under 66 in the closing round of the 54-hole tournament.

Next up: The U.S. Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club and Arcola Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey, from Aug. 15-21. Two rounds of stroke play will determine the 64 players advancing to match play. Ridgewood is a par 71 measuring 7,487 yards (subject to change) while Arcola is a par 70 at 7,256 yards.

“I do feel confident about my game,” Von Lossow said. “I play a few times a week and practice so I’m still on my schedule. The next week or so I want to work on 145 yards and in because (Ridgewood) is a longer course. In the Rosauers, I finished 11 under and had a lot of good looks at birdie but the one thing I could have done better was being more accurate with wedges and leaving myself in the right spot.”