Blaine resident Chris Jorgensen competed in the U.S. Senior Open Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, last week after claiming the only spot from the qualifier held in May at Sudden Valley Golf Course.
Jorgensen, 50, who overcame a back injury the day of the qualifier, was the only player to finish under par in Sudden Valley on May 18. After shooting two-over-par on the front nine, he rallied a three-under on the back half. He took medalist honors, scoring 71 on the par-72 course, the sole qualifying spot. PGA professional Jeff Coston, also of Blaine, took the first alternate spot, shooting par on the day.
To be eligible for the U.S. Senior Open, golfers must have reached their 50th birthday by July 8 and be either a professional or an amateur with a handicap index – a number used to represent a player’s potential scoring ability – of 3.4 or less. In his prime, Tiger Woods had a handicap index of 9.4 when he won two world championships and two majors. He had a career low of 3.7.
In Omaha, Jorgensen said he struggled to get his game together. He shot 12-over par in each of the first two rounds and ultimately missed the cut of 66 to continue onto the final rounds. “On one hand it was an unforgettable, amazing experience,” he said about competing at the national championships. “On the other hand, it was disappointing.”
Jorgensen graduated from Blaine High School in 1989 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019 for winning a golf state championship his senior year and going onto a professional career.
Jorgensen won the 1991 Washington Amateur Championship and the 1993 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Men’s Amateur. He then went pro, competing on the Korn Ferry Tour – the development tour for the PGA – for several years. He now works as director of operations for Matsunami Glass in Bellingham and holds the North Bellingham Golf Course record, with a 59 he shot in July 2016.
Jorgensen is the son of longtime Blaine resident and retired Port of Bellingham commissioner Jim Jorgensen, who he missed having at his side. “I really had him on my mind and was hoping to play better,” Chris said. “I would’ve loved to come home and say, ‘Hey pops, look how well I played.’”