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Gold Mountain in Bremerton gears up to host second USGA championship, the 2011 Junior Amateur.
Scott Alexander, director of golf at the Gold Mountain Golf Club, is hoping that by hosting the 64th Junior Amateur this month the course will attract the largest gallery a national championship has seen.
Admission is free and spectators will be allowed to stand alongside the golfers on the course.
"You get a much closer, intimate feeling about it," Alexander said, as opposed to other championships where the gallery must observe at a farther distance from the fairways.
This is the second United States Golf Association championship the course has hosted and the first time the tournament will be held on a municipal course.
In 2006, the course hosted its first nationally recognized tournament — the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
Alexander said it took the club about six to eight years to earn the right to host its first national tournament. It takes the combination of a quality golf course and a strong volunteer base to pull off a national championship.
But after the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, the association informed course staff they would like to host another national tournament at the course whenever the course was ready to do so, said Alexander.
"We thought this was a great fit for us," he said of the Junior Amateur.
After the club decided to host the championship, it only took about seven months to finalize details with the national association.
The course hopes to tailor much of the championship for a younger crowd, while also giving golfers a taste of the Pacific Northwest.
Alexander said participants will be checked in by younger staff, and the lodge will play popular music. The course also plans to offer a milkshake and popcorn stand, in addition to a game room with a pingpong table and Wii's, said Alexander.
The course will host a salmon bake as a casual welcome dinner for players on July 16.
The next day, the course will hold its more formal dinner for players aboard the USS John C. Stennis.
Jonny Miller, golf announcer and former winner of both the U.S. Open and U.S. Junior Amateur Championships, will speak at the Sunday night dinner.
The course did not need to make any significant changes to the Olympic Course, the 18-hole, 7,124 yard course that will host the championship.
Club members may notice that course staff has allowed the rough to grow a little longer — which forces championship competitors to make skilled shots in order to make their ball stop where they want it — but overall they will not be affected, said Alexander.
"We're a public course. Our biggest goal is to produce great recreational golf for local golfers," he added.
Alexander said that tailoring a week to the national tournament's needs will only increase the club's ability to serve its current members, as it will give the club national recognition that will hopefully draw in more members and increases course services.
The course also hosted one of the 61 sectional qualifying championships for the 2011 Junior Amateur on June 21.
Of the 73 golfers who competed, four earned spots at the national championship — Andrew Whalen of Ephrata, James Feutz of University Place, Chris Tedesco of Gig Harbor and Cameron Davison of Canada. Washington hosted one other sectional qualifying tournament in Spokane.
Seven countries will be represented in the championship, which will serve as the 24th United States Golf Association championship to be hosted in Washington.
In order to qualify for the championship, male golfers needed a national handicap index that did not exceed 6.4, and needed to be 17 or younger through July 23, 2011.
The 156 golfers now qualified for the tournament will play two rounds of stroke play on Monday and Tuesday of the weeklong championship.
The top 64 golfers of those rounds will advance on Wednesday to the first round of match play.
On Thursday, match play will eliminate players from the championship to eight golfers, and on Friday the quarter and semifinals will narrow the championship down to two competitors.
The top two golfers will compete in the 36-hole championship final on Saturday.
2011 Junior Amateur
July 18: First round of stroke play
July 19: Second round of stroke play
July 20: First round of match play
July 21: Second and third rounds of match play
July 22: Quarterfinals and semifinals
July 23: 36-hole championship
Start times have not been set yet.