State Amateur Championship -- Rashell's Two-Stroke Victory Tops Off Best Golfing Week

BREMERTON - Two years ago at the Washington State Amateur, Don Rashell looked wistfully at the trophy and thought how nice it would be to see his son's name, Rob, on it some day.

"I thought, `What a thrill that would be,' " said Rashell, a roofing contractor in Lake Stevens.

Yesterday, Rob, a University of Washington junior, earned a spot on the trophy.

With his father caddying, the Husky shot a five-under-par 31 on the back nine of the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain to recover after shooting 40, including a triple bogey, on the front nine.

Rashell birdied three of the final four holes to finish with a 1-under-par 71 and a four-round total of 286 (1 under). He played one round on the par-71 Cascade Course.

The two-stroke triumph was his second victory of the week and capped the best six days of golf of his life.

On Monday at the Wenatchee Country Club, Rashell won the qualifying tournament for next week's U.S. Amateur with a 68-70.

"The birdies just came today," said Rashell, who finished ahead of Washington State senior Max McCain, former Metro League champion from Ballard. Rashell was three strokes ahead of Craig Welty of Western Washington University, who started the day with a one-stroke lead.

Welty, who plays cross-handed, didn't have a single par on the front nine yesterday and made four birdies, two double-bogeys and three bogeys. He started out birdie-birdie, then played the next three holes 4-over par.

Defending champion Darren Slackman, a Husky senior from Spokane's Mead High School, tied for fourth at 290 with Ryan Kelly of Gold Mountain, who had started the tournament with a competitive course-record 63 on the Cascade course.

Slackman briefly held the lead yesterday after planting a 208-yard 2-iron within 4 feet of the pin on No. 8 and sinking the birdie putt. But Slackman's tee shot on the ninth hole bounced off a cart path in deep brush and cost him two strokes as a lost ball.

In additon to joining Fred Couples, Jack Westland and Kermit Zarley on the trophy, Rashell has the distinction of winning the first spike-free tournament in the history of the event. Gold Mountain is one of seven courses in the state known to have banned metal spikes for summer play.