Royal Oaks Invitational makes triumphant return

Former Oregon Duck Zach Foushee breaks tourney scoring record

VANCOUVER — It is one of the most prestigious amateur golf events in the Pacific Northwest, and nothing was going to stop it this year.

OK, maybe a thunderstorm delayed the Royal Oaks Invitational Tournament (ROIT) on Sunday, but it was just a brief suspension.

The signage was out at Royal Oaks Country Club as nearly 200 amateur golfers returned for one of the more prestigious golf events in the Northwest. Photo by Paul Valencia
The signage was out at Royal Oaks Country Club as nearly 200 amateur golfers returned for one of the more prestigious golf events in the Northwest. Photo by Paul Valencia

Once play resumed, a former Oregon Duck, naturally, thrived in wet conditions. 

Zach Foushee, who just recently regained his amateur status, set a tournament record with his three-day total of 12-under par, winning the tournament by a jaw-dropping 10 strokes.

Zach Foushee, left, and his caddy Todd Gerot made for a championship team this weekend at the Royal Oaks Invitational Tournament. Foushee, a former Oregon Duck, set the tournament scoring record at 12-under-par for the three-round event. Photo by Paul Valencia
Zach Foushee, left, and his caddy Todd Gerot made for a championship team this weekend at the Royal Oaks Invitational Tournament. Foushee, a former Oregon Duck, set the tournament scoring record at 12-under-par for the three-round event. Photo by Paul Valencia

By the end of June last year, many of the summer stops among amatuer golf had resumed, with a number of pandemic restrictions involved. But Royal Oaks Country Club was not yet ready to hold a tournament earlier in June. The event was called off.

The ROIT returned this year, with a bigger field, bringing back tournament golf to Vancouver.

“It’s been great getting close to being back to normal,” said Scott Leritz, head professional at the club. “We actually expanded the field from 168 to 180 this year just with the pent-up demand for people to play golf. Everyone’s super excited. We’ve got players who are in their 30th year playing. They really wanted to get back.”

And, of course, a lot of young amateurs with high hopes. The field consists of several current college players from across the West, as well as former Pac-12 players, such as Foushee. 

And local stars on the rise, as well.

Graham Moody, who graduated from Mountain View High School this week, scheduled the tournament around the ceremony in order to do both. He leaves next week for the University of Wisconsin.

Graham Moody, who graduated from Mountain View this week, also made time for the Royal Oaks Invitational. He finished tied for 15th. Photo by Paul Valencia
Graham Moody, who graduated from Mountain View this week, also made time for the Royal Oaks Invitational. He finished tied for 15th. Photo by Paul Valencia

“We were able to play quite a few events (last year), but it definitely feels a lot more normal now,” Moody said. “It’s awesome to play a home-course event. The event itself is run very well. This place is really sweet. I love any opportunity to play here, to compete against some of the best ams. You get guys coming from all over to play this event. A lot of college players and other really good ams make their way out here.”

Moody finished in a tie for 15th this weekend.

Long term, Moody said he wants to become a professional golfer. Until then, though, if his schedule is open, he will play at the Royal Oaks Invite.

Leritz credited the club’s ground crew for preparing the course for the event and being ready for all the rain that poured on Sunday. There was a brief delay during the final round, and three greens had plenty of standing water on them, but the greens were cleared and ready for play soon enough. The final group made it to the 18th green in plenty of time before darkness.

Foushee’s big lead going into the final round was never threatened. 

Foushee shined at the University of Oregon before turning pro prior to the 2017 season.

“It’s a lot different,” he said of life as a pro. “It’s a grind.”

He left that grind and opted for the long route to regain his amatur status. He got it back in late April.

“I took two years off and got a real job,” said Foushee, who is now in real estate. “I wasn’t thinking tournament golf for a while.”

A friend of his reminded him of the Royal Oaks Invite. Foushee played in the event years ago, when he was a college golfer.

“Now that I’ve settled in, got my amateur status back, I’ll play in these things,” he said. “I love competing, and now I don’t play for my livelihood. This is way more fun.”

Foushee said if his schedule allows, he will be back to defend his title in 2022. 

Mateo Fuenmayor, who plays at Oregon State, was the only other golfer to break par for the tournament. He finished at -2 to finish second. William Snow of Vancouver finished third at +1.

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