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60th annual Fort Lewis Amateur

Amateur tourney turns 60 years old

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:13PM May 10th, 2018

Northwest Guardian

Chris Addleman watches his putt on the first hole during the 60th annual Fort Lewis Amateur golf tournament at Eagles Pride Golf Course on Lewis Main Saturday.

Final results

Overall champion — Jon McCalsin, 138.

Low Net of Field — Tom Lewis, 140.

Open Championship Flight — Low Gross, Sean Packer; Low Net, Brady White.

Open First Flight — Low Gross, Darin Robb; Low Gross, Jamie Follen.

Open Second Flight — Low Gross, Steve Buchberger; Low Net, Josh Whitley.

Open Third Flight — Low Gross, Tim Bartz; Low Net, Jeremy Gorham.

Open Fourth Flight — Low Gross, Charles Stanley; Low Net, Patrick Wagnon.

Senior Championship Flight — Low Gross, Craig Larsen; Low Net, Mike Cortinas.

Senior First Flight — Low Gross, David Hunter.

Senior Second Flight — Low Gross, Jee Kim.

Few events reach the diamond anniversary of 60 years, but the Fort Lewis Amateur golf tournament did Saturday and Sunday at Eagles Pride Golf Course on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Also known by the field as the Amateur, the two-day, 36-hole tournament fielded more than 100 golfers. It originally started as an event that was only open to active-duty Army service members and their guests, according to Jeff Clark, JBLM golf director.

Eventually, the tournament was opened to the community. This year’s field was comprised mostly of civilian golfers preparing for the upcoming Washington State Golf Association season, as well as military veterans from all over the west coast.

“We’re looking for the best golfers in the Puget Sound (area),” Clark said. “We have some from Oregon, one from British Columbia and in the past we’ve had (golfers) come from California.”

Mike Hagen, a former Army veteran, has played in the Fort Lewis Amateur regularly in the last 20 years. He said he marks the event on his calendar each year.

In addition to the high level of competition, Hagen said it’s a well-organized tournament that brings together some familiar faces from both military and civilian communities.

“It’s one of the few golf tournaments that bridge the civilian-military gap,” Hagen said.

The Fort Lewis Amateur golf tournament is the first amateur golf tournament of the season for Washington state and acts as a WSGA season kickoff. Depending on how a golfer does on Eagles Pride, it could be an indicator of how good the WSGA season will be.

“If you’re playing well in this tournament, you’re probably going to have a good year,” said Jacob Roy, from Tacoma.

Last weekend was Mike McCormick’s 10th year in the tournament, and the golfer from Spanaway knew going in how challenging the course layout was.

Eagles Pride’s long and hilly hole layouts make it a formidable early season test for even the most experienced golfers.

“It’s probably one of the most difficult courses,” McCormick said, who compared the Fort Lewis Amateur to tournaments like the Capitol City (Olympia) and Bremerton City amateurs.

The challenge of both the course and the talent of the playing field makes it exciting for someone like retired Tech Sgt. Chris Addleman. He and his golfing friends start the overall golfing season at JBLM with the Fort Lewis Amateur and end the season with the Whispering Firs Club Championship on McChord Field.

Addleman said his group always talks up the tournament to recruit younger service members to play. The $145 registration fee covers green fees, driving range balls, meals, tee gifts and up to two $20 practice rounds in the week leading up to the tournament.

“It’s a pretty good value, compared to what some local courses promote,” Addleman said.

Dean Siemon: 253-477-0235, @deansiemon