Jeff Olsen takes 2017 title in 5-hole playoff
Aug. 22, 2017 – Snoqualmie Falls, Wash.
By Martin Poole
The fairways were baked, running hard and fast. Plumes of dust rose in the air with each mashie shot. (Yes, Virginia, there is dust in Seattle.) With a recent record of 56 consecutive days without rain, the sites of the 3rd annual Pacific Northwest Hickory Championship, played at Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course and Mount Si Golf Course (est. 1927), offered unfamiliar tests for the Northwest hickory players. As it was in the 20s, the roughs were rough, and the fairways rougher. But the hard grounds also had its advantages as 270 yard drives were not uncommon for the long hitters.
Day 1 at the par 71 Snoqualmie Falls GC, played at 5649 yards, saw some very fine scores with six players at 75 gross or better: Scott Miller – 71, reigning U. S. Hickory Senior Champion Jim von Lossow – 72, John Lavendoski – 73, Dave Paremski – 74, Jeff Olsen – 75, and Kit Ledbetter – 75.
Day 2 was played at the par 72 Mount Si GC at 6008 yards. In a stirring finish, Jeff Olsen of Shoreline, Wash., came from behind to tie Scott Miller of Issaquah, Wash., in regulation, both finishing the two rounds with a score of 147. Olsen and Miller went to a playoff and in an epic battle, Olsen prevailed after going five extra holes. It was another in a string of heart breaks for Miller as he has finished runner-up each year of this event.
John Lavendoski of Bainbridge Island took the low net honors in the Open Division.
In the Senior Division, Kit Ledbetter distanced himself from the field, by adding to his solid round on the first day with another on the second for a two-day score of 149. John Quickstad took the low net honors. In the Super Senior Division, Larry Hardy followed his victory in the Arizona Hickory Classic to win yet another title. John Wise won low net. In the Women’s Division, Paula Anderson shot 97-89 for a come-from-behind victory over Roberta Robbins, the reigning U.S. Women’s Hickory Champion.
Before the second round got under way, we received the sad news of the passing of our dear friend, Jack Wilson. Jack was passionate about hickory golf, as a collector and as a player. He was one of the founders of the Northwest Hickory Players, and few in the world could match his knowledge and passion for hickory clubs. A perpetual trophy for the Pacific Northwest Hickory Championship will be named in his honor. We will all miss him very much. Rob Birman’s stirring tribute to Jack can be read here.
For more photos of the event, go to Northwest Hickory Players Facebook page.