The birdies didn’t fall into the holes for Brian Humphreys during the Hogan Cup, but the 15-year-old from Washougal kept his cool and shot even par.
“My ability to recover and make par on hole after hole was nice,” Humphreys said. “Perseverance is key to playing consistently well. You can’t blow up if you have one bad hole. It’s going to happen.”
Humphreys shot a 72 Saturday and Sunday for a combined total of 144 strokes, at the Riverside Golf and Country Club course in Portland, Ore. He finished tied for fifth place out of 48 golfers from Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii and British Columbia, Canada. Humphreys dropped 14 strokes off his final tally from playing in his first Hogan Cup a year ago.
“I definitely learned a lot from playing here last year,” he said. “I really like this golf course. It’s cool to have such a big regional tournament close to home.”
The Hogan Cup has a rich 45-year history. Famous golfers such as Fred Couples, Peter Jacobsen and Tiger Woods have played in this tournament.
“You just look at the names,” Humphreys said. “These are the guys who are on tour. I hope I can follow in their footsteps.”
Since winning the Class 4A state championship for Camas High School, Humphreys has gained the most points in the Oregon Junior Golf Association this summer. He shot personal best rounds of 65 and 63 strokes and represented Team Oregon in the Junior America’s Cup.
Humphreys made eight pars in a row to begin the Hogan Cup Saturday. His chip shot on to the ninth green rolled past the hole and led to a bogey. Humphreys turned it around on 10. His tee shot landed in the rough, but he lofted his ball out of the deep grass and in the middle of the fairway. His approach dropped close to the pin and he made his birdie to get back to even par.
“It was a good bounce back hole for me,” Humphreys said. “I got my confidence right back.”
Humphreys finished the round with eight more pars in a row. His approach shot on 18 landed short of the green just like it did on nine. But this time, Humphreys put the perfect amount of spin on the ball and watched it roll close to the hole. He tipped his cap to the applauding audience and finished the day at even par with a smile.
“A lot of those [birdie] putts just grazed the edge,” Humphreys said. “If I take the same approach, and get some of those putts to drop, it should be a good round.”
Humphreys nailed four birdie putts Sunday. He was shooting 2-under before a double bogey on 14 put him back up to even par, where he stayed the rest of the way. He finished three strokes behind the leader, Kevin Vigna, of British Columbia.
Tropical Storm Flossie didn’t dampen the experience for Humphreys or the other 71 golfers in the Junior America’s Cup July 30 to Aug. 1, at Wailea Golf Club, in Maui, Hawaii. Heavy winds and rain caused flooding and trees to fall around the golf course, but the grounds crew got it cleaned up and ready to play in time for the first round.
Humphreys shot rounds of 75, 72 and 71 strokes, improving his score each day. He made two birdies and 11 pars in the first round, and four birdies and 11 pars in the second and third rounds. He also birdied the 15th hole all three days.
“It was cool to play in a high level tournament in a place that was so much fun,” Humphreys said. “I got to play on a beautiful course and then hang out with my team on the beach afterwards. It was the best of both worlds.”