Northwest Open Invitational to Start Next Week

The historic Northwest Open is set to start August 20 at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. The annual three-day event is a stroke-play format. Corey Prugh, a PGA professional at Manito Golf & Country Club in Spokane, will return to defend his title.

The early years of the Northwest Open were dominated by Seattle Golf Club's Robert Johnstone (who won eight of the first 10 events) and "Long Jim" Barnes, the professional at Tacoma Country & Golf Club from 1911-1915. Barnes also won the first two PGA Championships (1916, 1919) in addition to the 1921 U. S. Open and 1925 British Open. Spokane's Marvin "Bud" Ward captured six Northwest Open titles over a 22-year span, five as an amateur and his last as a professional. Ward was also a U.S. Amateur champion and may have won a few more but for the lack of championships during World War II. Fifteen members of the Pacific Northwest Section's Hall of Fame are Northwest Open champions.

Prugh won the 2011 Northwest Open after firing a final-round score of 2-under 70, finishing with a 54-hole total of 10-under 206. He won by five strokes over PGA professional Brian Thornton of Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Wash., and amateur Dan Whitaker of Ellensburg (Wash.) Golf & Country Club.

Prugh will try to regain his title against a field that includes 2010 champion Thornton, Mike Schoner of Lakeview G&CC (2009), Rob Clark of Wenatchee G&CC (2008), Coston of Semiahmoo G&CC (2007, '01), amateur Erik Hanson of Sahalee CC (2004), and Brent Murray of Oswego Lake CC (1999).

The Northwest Open Invitational will begin on Monday, August 20, with tee times from 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. off the firsts and 10th tees. Tee times and results can be found at

Wine Valley Golf Club, opened in April of 2009, was rated fifth on Golfweek's "Best New Courses" list. The Dan Hixson design crosses rolling hills in the shadows of the Blue Mountains and features broad fairways, dramatic bunkers and large, undulating putting surfaces.