Local golfers excel in North Carolina

Brian Humphreys places second at U.S. Kids Golf World Championship

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It has been a great summer for two local golfers – particularly with a recent trip to the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C.

Brian Humphreys, of Washougal, placed second out of 152 golfers in the boys age 12 division.

“It was really great,” he said. “It was the biggest tournament of the year. My goal was to finish in the top 10. This was way beyond my goal.”

Humphreys shot a 71, 69 and 68 at Pinehurst Resort. It was his fourth time participating in that tournament.

“It’s such a high level of competition,” Humphreys said. “It’s really cool to play against all of those people from all over the world.”

By placing in the top 10 during the championship Aug. 4 through 6, he earned an opportunity to play in the U.S. Kids Golf World Cup – also held at Pinehurst.

The Aug. 7 event featured 10 golfers from the U.S. and 10 from countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Colombia and Singapore.

“It was really cool,” Humphreys said. “They had an opening ceremony.”

He was paired with Brad Dalke, of McKinney, Texas, as the U.S. team won.

Humphreys is in the seventh grade at Liberty Middle School. He is coached by Harold Bluestein, at Green Mountain Golf Course.

Humphreys also plays baseball and basketball.

“I like that golf is an individual sport,” he said. “If I lose, I can’t blame it on everyone else.”

Humphreys is the son of George and Robin Humphreys.

Ben Gruher, of Camas, also played in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship – placing 25th out of 135 golfers in the boys age 10 division.

“I met so many kids I did not know,” he said. “Meeting new friends is a big thing in golf. You play with two other kids per round. About 50 total are international.”

The age 10 division included top golfers from the United Kingdom, Colombia and Mexico.

“The scores are so low,” Gruher said. “There are some really, really good golfers out there. They work their butt off.

“You have to practice very hard,” he added. “The courses at Pinehurst are very difficult.”

Gruher shot a 75, 80 and 79.

His practice regimen can include playing nine holes, going home, hitting a couple of buckets of balls on the driving range, practicing putting and then playing five holes with coaching from Camas Meadows pro Conan Elliot.

Gruher, a student enrolled in the sixth grade Excel program at Illahee Middle School, has hemophilia-a bleeding disorder.

With that diagnosis, he is not able to participate in contact sports.

“I enjoy golf, because it’s a mellow sport,” Gruher said. “I love the competition. Golf is very relaxing. If I need to get my mind off of something, I just go to the golf course and my mind is focused on golf.”

Gruher is the son of Jim and Monica Gruher.