Enumclaw’s Tyler Salsbury nearly fired his devoted longtime caddie before the final round of the 86th Tacoma City Amateur on Sunday morning.
The caddie drove right by the entrance to Fircrest Golf Club.
“We kind of got into a little squabble,” said Salsbury after a hearty chuckle. “He was almost fired before the first tee shot was even struck. He rebounded well after that quick bogey.”
Of course, when your caddie is your father — in this case, it was Dave Salsbury — things heal up pretty quickly.
And at the end of Sunday, the two got to share Tyler Salsbury’s three-stroke victory in collecting his first Tacoma City Amateur title.
Salsbury, a 22-year-old recent University of Washington graduate, fired the day’s only under-par round — a 3-under 68 — to chase down three-time Tacoma City Amateur winner and overnight leader Sean Packer (72).
Salsbury’s three-round total was 6-under 209, three shots ahead of Packer’s 212. They were the only golfers in the field who finished under par.
Tacoma’s Michael Almonte (72) placed third at 215. Defending city champion Casey Adams (73), of Lacey, finished fourth at 217.
But it was Salsbury’s day to take home the tournament crown, one he’s come close to winning over the past few years. He is a two-time TGA Junior Amateur winner.
“Winning is fun,” Salsbury said. “I will definitely enjoy this for a bit.”
The shot that shifted Salsbury into birdie-making mode was, oddly enough, one out of the sand.
At the par-5 seventh hole, his drive hugged the left side and landed in a fairway bunker — some 215 yards uphill to a perched green.
Salsbury ripped a 4-iron that never left the target, leaving him an easy two-putt from 45 feet for birdie.
“That was definitely the turning point,” Salsbury said.
And on the downhill ninth hole, Salsbury knocked a wedge approach shot next to the hole for an easy birdie — while Packer three-putted for a bogey.
The two-stroke swing gave Salsbury a three-shot lead over the former Western Washington All-American heading to the back nine.
“The timing of the way he played was what was impressive,” Packer said. “I had two bogeys in a row (at Nos. 5-6), and was on the ropes … and he took advantage because I was not applying the pressure.
“He landed some haymakers.”
Both golfers birdied the 10th hole. And at No. 11, with Packer in trouble — hitting a tree off the tee —Salsbury hit his second shot just short of the hole, and rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt to push his advantage to four shots.
“(Packer) is a good player, and you know he is never going to crack. He is never out of a tournament. He is never out of a hole,” Salsbury said. “To get it done on a course he has closed out on a couple of these (Tacoma City Am titles) is nice.”
It has been a long week for the Salsbury father-son duo. They were together for three days (Tuesday-Thursday) at the Washington State Men’s Amateur at Tacoma Country & Golf Club, then had to turn around, starting Friday, and play this three-round championship at three different courses.
“We have such a good relationship,” Salsbury said. “We give each other flak on the golf course, but we are able to forget it on the next hole. We try and keep each other honest, and keep each other sharp.
“It’s been a fun six days. I am definitely a little tired, and I am sure he is, too.”
Something odd happened before the start of the final round Sunday. After Tacoma Golf Association officials placed tee markers at 8 a.m., setting up the course at roughly 6,200 yards, the markers were mysteriously moved back on five holes before the tournament began at 10 a.m. —lengthening the layout by some 200 yards. … Over the past four years, the 31-year-old Packer has won this tournament (2014) and finished second three times. … TGA officials said the Tacoma City Amateur will remain on the second weekend of August for the near future. Next year, the final round is slated to be held at Tacoma C&GC.