Coug puts 'Hurt' on course to take WA Amateur

COUGAR AUSTIN HURT began the final round nine strokes back in the 83rd Washington State Golf Association's Men's Amateur Championship. Not exactly Position A. But Hurt was knocking pins down and sinking birdie putts all day long on Palouse Ridge Golf Club -- and at the end of the day a course record and state golf championship was in hand.

Hurt, out of Bainbridge Island, set the Palouse Ridge course record on Friday -- a 7-under 65 -- to climb all the way to the top of the leaderboard in the final round.

It was a far cry from his opening-round 81 (+9) and Hurt was actually in danger of missing the cut. But he slowly climbed his way back after carding back-to-back second- and third-round scores of 69 (-3).

On Friday, Hurt capped off his front nine with a chip-in eagle on the par 5, 536-yard 9th hole, to shoot a 4-under par 32. He rolled in three more birdie putts on the back nine to card the best score ever recorded at Palouse Ridge.

Hurt's four-round total of 284 (-4) gave him the tournament victory by one stroke. Hurt didn't make a bogey over his final 41 holes.

The leader heading into the final round, Derek Berg of Kenmore, shot two under over his final three holes on Friday but missed an eagle try on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Hurt.

"Wow, what a fantastic round of golf by Austin!" said Washington State golf coach Walt Williams. "The Cougars made a great showing in this year's Amateur Championship."

Cougar senior Kevin Tucker out of Kennewick finished in eighth place with a 289 total (+1). Nick Ellis, a WSU junior out of East Wenatchee finished tied for 12th with a 292 total (+4).

Future Cougar Hank Frame from Spokane, who will join the Cougars in 2009-10, finished tied for 14th with a 294 (+6) that including a 3-under 69 in the second round. Kyle Hurt, the younger brother of tournament victor Austin and also joining the Cougars next season, finished tied for 53rd with a 310 (+22).

Former Cougar David Fern (Spokane, Wash.) was one of only seven individuals finishing even-par or better, completing the tournament with a 288 (E), tying for sixth place.

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