KENT – The list of champions reads like an honor roll of the state’s greatest golfers.

Fred Couples, Ken Still, Don Bies, Rick Acton and Jeff Gove are just some of the greats to have been Washington Open champions, and beginning Monday at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Chris Griffin will try to enhance his place in tournament lore as he looks to become the first back-to-back winner since Todd Erwin in 1992 and 1993.

Not that it will be easy. There is a field of 168, including 32 amateurs. Among the top contenders are Brian Thornton, who won the event in 2009 when it was at Meridian Valley, Tim Feenstra, who won the Open in 2007 and 2011 and Jeff Coston, a four-time champion. Only Chuck Congdon, with five victories in the event (spanning from 1939 to 1962) has won it more times than Coston.

“I love playing at Meridian Valley,” Griffin said. “It’s a pretty tight course, so you have to drive it well. Fortunately, that’s a strong part of my game.”

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The nines at Meridian Valley will be reversed for the tournament and the final several holes are particularly difficult, which organizers think will make for an exciting finish.

Tee times begin at 7:30 a.m. each day. Admission is free.

A weekend pro-am preceded the event, with the proceeds going to Drive Fore The Cure, which benefits the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Scott Hanson: 206-464-2943 or