Once they get here, once they play in the Royal Oaks Invitational Tournament, they’re hooked.
“I found out about this from a buddy of mine. I came down here last year, and I loved it,” said Reid Martin, who lives in Mukilteo but plays college golf at the University of Central Florida. “I couldn’t wait to get back here. Beautiful course. Perfect shape.”
The 55th Royal Oaks Invite once again has a full field of 200 amateur golfers. And just as in so many years past, the tournament attracts golfers not just from the Vancouver-Portland area, but all over the Northwest and throughout the college ranks.
Once again, there are Cal Bears roaming the fairways of Royal Oaks this week, for example. There are Washington Huskies, too. Even some who are decked out in Duck gear.
The Invite has a great reputation throughout college golf.
“This is my first time here,” said Blake Snyder, who is from Seattle and plays golf at the University of Hawai’i-Hilo. “The field looked really good, and I heard the course was amazing. I decided to give it a shot. I’m having a great time.”
Eric Grimberg of Portland plays for Saint Mary’s College in California. This is his fourth appearance at Royal Oaks.
“It’s a really good preparation for other summer tournaments,” he said. “The course is in really good shape, and it’s really narrow. Punish yourself early and that makes the rest of the summer easier.”
Other golfers agreed with that assessment. Royal Oaks has challenging fairways and fast greens with tough hole locations.
“After you play this golf course, it makes a lot of the other courses easier than they are,” Martin said. “You have to be precise on every shot.”
“You have to hit each shot as straight as you possibly can hit it,” Snyder said, adding there is no margin for error.
Martin said Royal Oaks is one of his favorite courses. Playing at UCF most of the year provides him the opportunity to see a lot of courses.
“Being able to practice every day in the warmth is such a huge advantage,” he said of the reason for he left the Northwest to play at UCF. “But I play all the Northwest tournaments in the summer.”
The Royal Oaks Invitational is now in his summer plans.
The three-day tournament concludes today. The leaders are scheduled to tee off around 2 p.m.
Grimberg shares the second-round lead with Kevin Pom Arleau of Redmond, Ore., both at 4-under-par 140.
They have a two-shot lead over Landon Banks, and three shots over Charlie Hughes and Jake Wagner.
Royal Oaks Invitational
At Royal Oaks Country Club, Vancouver
Yardage: 7,017; Par: 72
Second Round Leaders
Eric Grimberg 140 -4
Kevin Pom Arleau 140 -4
Landon Banks 142 -2
Charlie Hughes 143 -1
Jake Wagner 143 -1
Trevor Simsby 144 E
Kasey Young 144 E
Tyler Simpson 144 E
Matt Epstein 145 +1
Gaston De La Torre 146 +2
Gregg Guernsey 146 +2
Brett Johnson 146 +2
Charles Kingsbaker 146 +2