Frank Garber, a high school senior headed for Matt Thurmond’s nationally ranked University of Washington golf team this fall, came from two shots back to catch first round leader Matt Hartley and claim his first Puget Sound Amateur title.
Garber, who attends Juanita High School in Kirkland, posted a two round total of 6-under-par 136 over the weekend of May 17-18 at Chambers Bay. A field of 120 players battled the Robert Trent Jones II-designed links style layout that next June will welcome the world’s best players for the 115th annual U.S. Open Championship.
Round one on Saturday was played under sunny skies and mild temperatures, and the great scoring conditions made the championship layout seem vulnerable to low scores. But the course lived up to its reputation as an U.S. Open-quality layout as wayward shots found thick rough and the severe sloping greens proved a formidable test for even the best putters. By the end of the day, Garber and Hartley distanced themselves from the rest of the field with outstanding play.
Sunday's second round brought a bit of wind and rain and added another element to challenge the area’s best golfers. No one could make a run at the leaders, and by the end of the first nine holes Garber had caught Harley. Garber's steady play down the stretch led to a 4-shot victory.
Garber has been named player of the year by both the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and the Washington State Golf Association. He has won the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys' Amateur and the AAA State High School championship, among others.
The Puget Sound Amateur, conducted by Pierce County Parks and Recreation, will return to Lake Spanaway next year - its 50th year - while Chambers Bay prepares to host the U.S. Open. Lake Spanaway, which is renowned architect Vernon Macan’s last design, represents a different challenge with traditional tree-lined fairways combined with natural northwest greens. Lake Spanaway was the home of the Puget Sound Amateur for 47 years prior to the addition of Chambers Bay three years ago.
Tony Bubenas, Pierce County Golf supervisor
Hunter George, Pierce County Communications