For a day, 40 area amateur golfers experienced a sample size of what it’s like playing professional golf.
On their way to Snoqualmie for this weekend’s Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, 10 PGA Champions Tour talents, including Whatcom County’s own Jeff Coston, swung by Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club for the Champions Tour Charity Pro-Am on Monday morning, Aug. 17.
Ten groupings of five players — four amateurs and one pro — played a shamble-style round of golf with a shotgun start, and while scores were kept, they hardly impacted the day.
When the final grouping came to the clubhouse, a Woods Coffee sponsored team composed of Wes Herman, Taylor Herman, Connor Herman, Collin Morrow and pro Olin Browne was revealed the winner with a score of 50.
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“We were just playing to have fun,” Morrow said. “It worked out, and we had a good time. Keep it fun, and you play well sometimes.”
Playing with Browne, who’s won one Champions Tour tournament this season and has four top-10 finishes, was an outstanding experience, Morrow said.
“He was great,” Morrow said of Browne. “He couldn’t have been more fun to play with. He was totally into it, helping us read all our putts, giving swing tips. He was a total enjoyment to play with.”
Pro Frank Esposito’s group came in second. The grouping, which included Shari Boggs, Steve Ellingson, Darrin Morrow and Ed Peterson, finished with a score of 52.
Coston’s and pro Grant Waite’s group tied for third with a score of 53. Yogi Hutsen, Stuart Rolfe, Brad Walker and Pat Kennedy were in Coston’s group, while Kam Sihota, Herman Sihota, Mark Rose and Richard Synnott played with Waite.
Pros Rocco Mediate, Roger Chapman, Russ Cochran, David Frost, Mark Calcavecchia and Joey Sindelar also competed.
And even though most pros compete in weekly pro-am’s, playing a round with amateurs and learning where Coston does his teaching was a treat.
“Today, I guess I had four golfers that Jeff Coston coaches and instructs, and he did a good job with them, because we did really, really well today,” said Frost, who has one win and three top-10 finishes on this year’s Champions Tour. “It’s a special cause that Jeff has now raised this money for. I think he’s done really well for the first time he’s brought 10 pros in, and he’s been quite fun to have on tour the last year.”
The real winner Monday was Bellingham’s PeaceHealth Cancer Center, the tournament’s beneficiary.
Semiahmoo Golf Director Brett Eaton couldn’t provide an exact number, but he said the tournament raised more than $25,000.
“It was a great two days,” said Coston, who has been with Semiahmoo for the past 21 years. “It was even better than I expected. ... For the first year, this thing ran amazing. I am really proud of everyone involved, No. 1. I had all these amateurs come up here and go, ‘Man, those pros were so good, so nice,’ right? And all of them have won tournaments on the tour, but me. ... It was a great cause, St. Joseph Cancer Center, and so it was a home run all the way around.”
Being able to donate the funds to the cancer center was especially important for Coston. His sister in law is at the center battling.
“You hear about people who have cancer and you think, ‘Oh, man, that’s horrible,’ but for me personally, until it really hits close to home, my sister — I call her my sister in love, not sister in law — till it hits close to home and you walk through that with somebody, it’s been challenging and tough.”
Coston, who unlike other tour players, teaches and plays, will compete in the Boeing Classic this weekend and already spoke of hopefully doing the pro-am again next year.