Kearney, Whitaker lead at Northwest Open Invitational

The top 70 golfers advance to today's final round.



Golfers — who appear rippled and distorted from 90-plus-degree heat bouncing off sun-drenched fields — carry their bags from the spot of green on the ninth tee down the fairway of Wine Valley Golf Course on the second day of the Northwest Open. The tournament concludes today.

WALLA WALLA - Professional Brandon Kearney of Bend Golf and Country Club in Bend, Ore., and amateur Dan Whitaker of Ellensburg Golf and Country Club in Ellensburg lead after the second round of the Northwest Open Invitational at Wine Valley Golf Club Tuesday.

They stand at 10-under par 134 after the first two rounds, two strokes ahead of amateur Michael Haack of Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Wash., and three ahead of PGA professional Jeff Bender of Golf Universe in Kennewick and Rob Gibbons of Arrowhead Golf Course in Molalla, Ore.

The top 70 golfers advanced to today's final round. All golfers under or tied at 150 qualified for the final.

Kearney and Whitaker both carded first-rounds of 68 Monday, and took two strokes off to take the two-stroke lead over Haack into today's final round.

Richland's Jason Aichele, the leader after the opening round Monday, followed his first-round 66 with a 72 Tuesday to drop into a tie for sixth. Aichele is tied with Gordon Corder of Manito Golf and Country Club in Spokane and Brian Thornton of Meridian Valley in Kent, Wash.

Elijah Perkins, an assistant pro at Wine Valley, is in an eight-player group which includes Brady Sharp, an assistant pro at the Walla Walla Country Club, tied for 20th at 143.

Walla Walla amateur Jim Pliska, who plays his golf at Wine Valley, is tied for 46th at 147.

And Walla Walla's Jeff Neher, an amateur out of Veterans Memorial Golf Course, took six strokes off Monday's 77 to card a 71 Tuesday to sit in a seven-way tie for 53rd at 148.

Local amateur Scott Larsen and Wine Valley head golf pro John Thorsnes just missed the cut for today's final round. Larsen followed his first-round 74 with a 77 to sit at 151. Thorsnes improved by five strokes over his opening 78 to shoot 73 Tuesday and join Larsen and join four others at 151.

Northwest Open leaders

Dan Whitaker (a), Ellensburg 68-66-134

Brandon Kearney, Bend, Ore. 68-66-134

Michael Haack (a), Kent, Wash. 68-68-136

Jeff Bender, Kennewick 71-66-137

Rob Gibbons, Molalla, Ore. 68-69-137

Gordon Corder, Spokane 72-66-138

Jason Aichele, Richland 66-72-138

Brian Thornton, Kent, Wash. 70-68-138

Rob Clark, Wenatchee 70-69-139

Cameron Whittle (a), ML 70-70-140

Bob Rannow, Florence, Ore. 71-70-141

Casey McCoy, The Dalles 73-68-141

Josh Immordino, Kent 72-69-141

Brent Murray, Lake Oswego 71-70-141

Todd O'Neal, Washo.l, Wash. 73-69-142

Scott Krieger, Seattle 70-72-142

Jerry Johnson, Olympia 73-69-142

Derek Berg (a), Bellevue 74-68-142

Ryan Malby, Kalispell, Mont. 73-69-142

Jim Dunlap (a), Portland 72-71-143

Elijah Perkins, Walla Walla 69-74-143

Tyler Wong, Bellingham 72-71-143

Brady Sharp, Walla Walla 73-70-143

Corey Prugh, Spokane 74-69-143

Adam Syverson, Spokane 73-70-143

Michael Kloenne (a), Portand 70-73-143

Erik Hanson (a), Seattle 71-72-143

Kyle Miller, Bellevue 75-69-144

Lon Hinkle, Big Fork, Mont. 70-74-144

Mike O'Keefe (a), Snoq., Wash. 69-75-144

Steve Stull, Kennewick 70-74-144

Mark Gardner, Spokane 69-75-144

Louie Runge, Willapa Bay 72-73-145

Justin Bos, Sunnyside 72-73-145

Greg Smith, Willow Lake 71-74-145

Joey Hord (a), Portland 76-69-145

Darek Franklin, Salem, Ore. 71-74-145

Ryan Benzel, Marysville 69-76-145

Sean Arey, Corvallis 76-69-145

Brian Nosler, Vancouver, Wash. 76-69-145

Chris Griffin, Tacoma 69-76-145

Taylor Ferris, Tacoma 77-68-145

Chris Bae (a), Snoq., Wash. 74-72-146

Jeff Coston, Blaine, Wash. 73-73-146

Barry Walters, Yakima 74-72-146

David Bobillot, M.V., Wash. 74-73-147

Keith Crimp (a), Ellensburg 73-74-147

Dan Ostrin, Bend, Ore. 73-74-147

Scott Adams (a), Spokane 74-73-147

Paul Pavlos (a), Snoh., Wash. 76-71-147

Jesse Sitterud (a), Snoq., Wash. 74-73-147

Jim Pliska (a), Walla Walla 73-74-147

Bruce Stewart, Molalla, Ore. 75-73-148

Brent Wolf, Coeur d' Alene 74-74-148

Jeff Neher (a), Walla Walla 77-71-148

Mike Toll, Renton, Wash. 72-76-148

Steve Prugh, Spokane 78-70-148

Matt Epstein (a), Everett 74-74-148

Jeff Neeley (a), Mukilteo, Wash. 75-73-148

Christopher Smith, Spokane 76-73-149

Steve Bowen, DSG 75-74-149

Mike Early, Port Townsend 77-72-149

Tim McElhinny, Spokane 76-73-149

Josh Gold, Blanchard, Idaho 74-75-149

Mike Hegarty, Mission, Ore. 71-78-149


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