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Cowell’s 68 gives him three-shot lead at 87th Washington Open Invitational

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on May 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm with No Comments »
May 21, 2013 6:59 pm

Friday Harbor’s Matt Cowell will have a lot to think about sleeping on the lead at the 87th Washington Open Invitational.

The assistant professional at Lake Padden Golf Course in Bellingham shot the day’s best round Tuesday – 4-under-par 68 – for a two-round total of 7-under 137 at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent.

He has never held the lead at this tournament. But two guys behind him – Tacoma’s Todd Erwin and Blaine’s Jeff Coston – have plenty of times, winning the Washington Open four times apiece.

“That’s very exciting,” said Erwin, who shot 72 on Tuesday. “We are old. Combined, we are 108 years old.”

Erwin, Coston (69) first-round leader Chris Griffin, of Lakewood (73), and Burien’s Casey McCoy (71) are tied for second at 140.

Cowell golfed for Friday Harbor High School (2001-04), then played at Santa Barbara City College. After that, he returned to work in the pro shop at Lake Padden – and won the Bellingham Amateur in 2009.

He turned professional in February of 2012, and finished 31st at last year’s debut at the Washington Open.

“I have a pretty good plan, been playing pretty safe,” Cowell said. “I’ve never had the lead in a major before. It is a new position.”

If he slips up in the final round Wednesday, lots of experienced champions are right behind him.

Erwin is in great position. He was 3 over through six holes, but birdied the seventh hole on a 10-foot putt – and missed just one green in regulation after that.

“That birdie was big, because I was having a little talk with myself after the double (bogey),” Erwin said. “There were two ways to go – forward or backward. And I rallied and played pretty solid, because the pins today were not real easy.”

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