Port Townsend’s Gabriel Tonan, right, accepts medalist honors as Washington State Hickory Golf Tournament Champion from Martin Pool of the Northwest Hickory Players after he won the event at Trophy Lake Golf & Casting Club in Port Orchard on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020.

Port Townsend’s Gabriel Tonan, right, accepts medalist honors as Washington State Hickory Golf Tournament Champion from Martin Pool of the Northwest Hickory Players after he won the event at Trophy Lake Golf & Casting Club in Port Orchard on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020.

GOLF: Port Townsend pro claims state tourney title

Plus more golf news from around the Peninsula

Shaking off nagging neck pain due to a likely pinched nerve, Port Townsend’s Gabriel Tonan claimed his third Washington State Hickory Golf Tournament with a 4-over-par 76 Saturday at Port Orchard’s Trophy Lake Golf & Casting Club.

Tonan, the head pro and general manager at Port Townsend Golf Club, has won the event, which uses old-fashioned, hickory-shafted golf clubs based on models from the early 20th century, three out of the last four years, claiming the title in 2017, 2019 and again this year.

“I couldn’t play in 2018,” Tonan said. “I had to reschedule the men’s club championship, then found out the tournament was the same date as the men’s club event, so that was unfortunate.”

Tonan was pleased with his Saturday round, considering how little golf he’s played since neck and shoulder issues began popping up a few months ago.

He was about three holes away from his goal of shooting par or better in a hickory golf competition.

“I was getting excited because I have never shot even par or under par tournament-wise,” Tonan said.

“I’ve shot 73 in one event, but haven’t hit or broken par.”

And he’s still chasing another hickory golf dream: hitting a hole-in-one with the old-style clubs.

Tonan said he played the final three holes of Saturday’s tournament in 3-over par.

“I kinda struggled to finish, my tank did run out, but I think I did well overall, especially considering the pain I’ve been in.”

Tonan said his late-round struggles were primarily a result of some poor dietary decisions — or a lack thereof.

“I think I got tired, honestly,” Tonan said. “I didn’t eat breakfast that day and I didn’t get anything to eat at the turn. I was just drinking water. And when you get tired, little things in your swing get sloppy. Last few holes I hit a couple of errant tee shots and had to take some unplayable lies.”

Warm weather didn’t help matters.

“It was hot, temperatures were in the mid-90s,” Tonan said.

“I need to remember to make myself lunch. Have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with me or some granola bars. I would have never let a [former player] head out for state without having something for fuel. But we made the turn and I didn’t even think about food. I look over on hole No. 10 and see one of my playing partners eating this big wrap and I was kicking myself.”

Tonan uses a club set that is modeled on a 1930s-era Bobby Jones set.

“When you really hit one solidly with the hickory clubs it really is cool,” Tonan said. “It’s such a different sound and a different feeling when you really catch one with a hickory club.”

And he enjoys the challenges of playing with the lesser technology.

“It makes it a different game,” Tonan said. “You play some shots differently. You don’t have high [degree of angle] loft wedges, so you can’t get the same spin on the ball. You play a lot more bump-and-run and sometimes you putt from off the green on shots that I would never attempt with a modern putter.”

Tonan said he plans to play at the next hickory golf national championship, the 2021 U.S. Hickory Open, in September 2021 at Gearhart Golf Links in Gearhart, Ore.

He’ll have local knowledge, having won the Gearhart Hickory Open in July.

Driving in the Dark

Tonan mentioned Port Townsend Golf Club would host Port Townsend’s Sunrise Rotary’s 16th annual Driving in the Dark golf tournament Sept. 19.

“It’s a five-person scramble event with nine holes in daylight with regular golf balls on the back nine, then play the front nine with glow balls at night,” Tonan said.

The cost is $65 per person and includes a putting contest. Glow golf equipment is provided.

For more information, call the Port Townsend Golf Club at 360-385-4547 or email tournament organizers at [email protected].

PC holds benefit

The annual Pirate Athletics Golf Tournament a fundraiser for Peninsula College athletic scholarships, will be held at The Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim on Saturday, Aug. 29.

The four-person scramble event has tee times beginning at 9 a.m.

Players can choose from a $100 green fee or a green fee plus player package which includes two mulligans and a putt for wine for $125 per person.

A meal voucher for 7 Cedars Casino’s 7 Brothers restaurant also is available.

Players will have a shot at splitting a $10,000 hole-in-one prize with the Pirate Athletic Association, and Wilder Auto is sponsoring a shot at winning a car.

Sponsorships are available by emailing Peninsula men’s basketball head coach Donald Rollman at [email protected] or by calling 360-417-6467.

To register for the golf tournament, visit pcgolftournament.bpt.me.

Results, tee prizes, food and more will be offered at 7 Cedars Casino after the tournament.

Save the date

The inaugural Mitch Black Memorial Golf Tournament, will be held at Port Ludlow Golf Course on Sunday, Sept. 13.

Black, a Chimacum High School history and physical education teacher until his retirement in 2005, founded the golf team at Chimacum and coached the team for 39 years before retiring after the 2015 season. He lived abroad for much of the year in his retirement and died suddenly in Thailand in late May.

A scholarship fund in Black’s name was set up through The Friends of Chimacum Schools Education Foundation. Donations can be made in Black’s name at focsef.org.

The 18-hole event has a four-person scramble format. Tee times are likely to be in the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. range.

The cost is $100 per player, $400 per team, and includes green fees, cart use, lunch and on-course competitions.

Mulligans will be available for $5.

To register for the event, call Port Ludlow at 360-437-0272 or email Port Ludlow assistant pro Adam Barrows at [email protected].

Cedars ladies

Linda Case recently claimed The Cedars at Dungeness Women’s Golf Association’s President’s Cup, a prelude to the group’s Club Championship (results next week).

Bobbie Piety was runner-up to Case in the championship bracket, while Judy Reno claimed a Consolation Bracket win over Jan Clendening.


Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or at [email protected].

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