Planet Golf — 30 July 2012 by Jim Street
Teen stellar in State Amateur tourney

Three former champions and an up-and-coming golfer just out of Shoreline High School are among the 16 players who qualified Monday for the championship flight of the Washington State Women’s Golf Association tournament at Sand Point Country Club in Seattle.

Two-time champion (2005-‘06) Denise Kieffer, Gretchen Klein and 17-year-old Cassie McKinley shared the low rounds of the day at 6-over 77, while defending State champion Leslie Folsom carded a 79, as did Dona Dunovant.

Folsom, who plays out of Rainier in Seattle, is looking for her fifth State title. She won in 2005, ’07, ’08 and last year. McKinley, who recently accepted a scholorship offer from the University of Idaho, is playing in her first State Amateur tournament.

Former State amateur champs Leslie Folsom (left) and Denise Kieffer are among 16 players in the championship flight

Jane Harris, the State champion in 2010, also finished among the top 16 finishers with an 81.

A field of 78 players (two players withdrew before Monday’s qualifying) is competing in the event, which is celebrating its 90th year, making it one of the longest-running tournaments on the map. (The theme for this week’s event is “Celebrating 90 years . . .The Grand Tradition”). Utah is the only western state that has played a women’s state amateur tournament longer – No. 106 is scheduled for August 7-10 at the Logan Golf and Country Club.

State champions already have been crowned in Idaho, Montana, California and Hawaii.

This is Washington’s week in the spotlight, followed by New Mexico (Aug. 6-9), Arizona (Aug. 15-19), Nevada (Sept. 17-19) and Oregon (Oct. 8-10).

The five-day tournament at Sand Point CC started Monday morning with stroke play to determine the championship and subsequent flights. Match play starts at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, culminating in a 36-hole championship match on Friday.

Here are the championship flight contestants and their scores on Monday:

(77): Denise Kieffer, Gretchen Klein, Cassie McKinley; (79): Dona Dunovant, Leslie Folsom; (80): Sharon Drummey, Flora Weeks; (81): Jane Harris, Katie Kitner; (82): Nancy Elgin, Linda Spear, Jenny Park, Cathy Uptain; (83): Robin Cole, Denise Jeffries, Sue Ursino.

The remainder of the tournament will be match play. The two finalists will play a 36-hole match on Friday.

There will be an additional four flights (based on handicap index) of competition for the remaining field.


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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, made his first and only hole-in-one on March 12, 2018 at Sand Point Country Club in Seattle and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick, Gleneagles and Castle Stuart in Scotland, and numerous gems in Hawaii are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League Baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and has an 8-year-old grandson, Andrew, who is the club's current junior champion at his home course (Oakmont CC) in Glendale, Calif.

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