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Thursday, May 25, 2006 - Page updated at 01:53 PM

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Local Golf: Relaxed amateur wins Open

Seattle Times staff reporter

GIG HARBOR — Josh Immordino, a 24-year-old amateur from Riverbend Golf Course in Kent, won the Washington Open Invitational Wednesday by hitting one fewer tree than Tony Robydek on the fourth playoff hole.

Robydek, 35, an assistant pro at the host Canterwood Golf and Country Club, had forced the playoff by dramatically getting up and down from the front bunker on the 18th hole, sinking a 12-foot birdie putt. Immordino had bogeyed the 18th, missing a 7-foot par putt.

After three playoff holes, Robydek pulled his drive "just a tiny bit" on the par-4 13th hole into a dogwood tree about 120 yards from the tee.

Robydek gambled on his next shot and wound up hitting into a cedar tree 30 yards ahead. From there, he hit into a greenside bunker and wound up two-putting from 40 feet for a double-bogey six.

Immordino's second shot clipped a Douglas fir branch and he was left 15 yards off the green. He chipped to 6 feet and two-putted for the win.

It was the first playoff in the tournament since 1993. Immordino is the third amateur since 1986 to win the tournament. He is allowed $650 in winnings as an amateur and Robydek got the first-place check of $5,000.

"This is a huge stepping stone just in confidence," said Immordino, a Kentwood High School graduate who was a three-time NCAA Division II All-American at Western Washington University. "If I can win something like this, I feel I can play on the next level."

He said he is interested in turning pro at the end of the summer.

Immordino said his caddie, Eric Hinrichs, an assistant pro at Riverbend, where Immordino works and plays, kept him relaxed throughout the final day.

"He kept me really calm," Immordino said. "If you saw us out there, we were laughing and joking."

Immordino had entered the day four strokes behind the leader after two rounds, fellow amateur Jim McNelis, the Canterwood club champion.

McNelis, 49, an Alaska Airlines pilot, shot 5-over 77 and finished fifth at 219. A double-bogey six on the 15th hole took him out of contention.

Brian Thornton, assistant at Meridian Valley, and Ryan Benzel, assistant at Seattle Golf Club, tied for third at 218.

Immordino, winner of last summer's Seattle Amateur, shot a final-round 71 and Robydek shot an even-par 72 to finish tied at 1-over 217.

Robydek had a chance to shut the door on the first playoff hole, No. 10, but missed an 8-foot birdie putt. He hit his tee shot on No. 11 into trees but recovered with an approach shot through a high opening between three trees onto the green and two-putted from 30 feet.

Both golfers had routine pars on the par-3 12th hole and the match was settled on No. 13.

Washington Open Invitational

At Gig Harbor

(Played at the 6,874 yard, par 72, Canterwood Golf & Country Club.)

FINAL ROUND

(a-amateur)

Josh Immordino (a) 72-74-71 — 217
Tony Robydek 70-75-72 — 217
Brian Thornton 74-72-72 — 218
Ryan Benzel 75-71-72 — 218
Jim McNelis (a) 74-68-77 — 219
Jeff Coston 75-72-73 — 220
Steve Prugh 73-76-72 — 221
Mike Gove 74-74-74 — 222
Brian Coury 72-76-74 — 222
Chris Mitchell 77-71-74 — 222
Todd Erwin 75-71-76 — 222
Richard Lee (a) 71-79-72 — 222
Zack Shriver (a) 76-74-72 — 222
Chris Griffin 81-69-72 — 222
Bob Rannow 72-76-75 — 223
Tom Mueller 77-75-71 — 223
Mike Roters 71-75-77 — 223
Rob Gibbons 72-80-71 — 223
Erik Hanson (a) 78-75-71 — 224
Rich Friend 76-74-74 — 224
Louie Runge 77-74-73 — 224
Birk Nelson 77-70-78 — 225
Brad Leiken 77-71-77 — 225
Michael Combs 74-74-77 — 225
Fred Haney 78-73-74 — 225
Keith Crimp (a) 73-78-74 — 225
Justin Johnson (a) 73-76-77 — 226
Tom Brandes (a) 78-75-73 — 226
Tom Sovay, Trilogy 77-75-74 — 226
Chuck Milne 72-79-75 — 226
Mike Schoner 82-76-69 — 227
Paul Houvener (a) 79-73-75 — 227
Matt Ristine (a) 77-71-79 — 227
Paul Bonorden (a) 78-78-71 — 227
Brandon Richardson 76-73-78 — 227
Jeff Tachell 71-79-77 — 227
Tyler Sweet 77-77-73 — 227

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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