Final group features a similar pair

Staff writerMay 21, 2014 

It should be an interesting stare-down in the final group of the 88th Washington Open Invitational on Wednesday.

The leaders – Bellevue amateur Michael Haack (9-under-par 135) and Yelm professional John Cassidy (7-under 137) – happened to be crowned state high school champions the same year (1997) but in different classifications (Haack was 4A; Cassidy was 3A).

And the two of them played collegiately at the University of Nevada in Reno but at different times.

Their paths will cross at one more important juncture Wednesday in the last group at Meridian Valley Country Club, which tees off at 2:15 p.m.

“I would not say I know Mike well,” Cassidy said. “I like the guy, and we are on good terms. But we have more mutual friends who we are closer to.”

Despite his 1-under 71 in Tuesday’s second round, which saw many golfers struggle, Haack’s lead shrunk. That is because Cassidy had the round of the day – a 4-under 68 – to close the gap.

Cassidy finished off a stellar opening nine by hitting a utility club into the water-surrounded par-5 18th that stopped 10 feet from the hole. He had an easy two-putt for birdie to make the turn at 4-under.

“I did not feel like I played great,” said Cassidy, who works as a teaching professional at Alderbrook Golf and Yacht Club in Union. “I left quite a bit out there. But at the end of the day, I know I got my ball in the right spots on these greens.”

Haack said he wasn’t as sharp as he was Monday when he registered his sparkling 64, but he persevered.

“I was able to get it in the hole,” Haack said. “Obviously it is always good to lead a tournament.”

Cassidy played in the last group in the final round of 2007 Washington Open Invitational at Glendale Country Club but faded to a 73 and finished tied for second behind winner Tim Feenstra of Lynden.

Haack is trying to become the first amateur to win this tournament since Kent’s Josh Immordino in 2006.

Defending champion Chris Griffin shot an even-par 72 on Tuesday and is tied for 48th at 3-over 147.

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