Looking across the water at Alcatraz, Brian Humphreys wondered how he was going to land his golf ball in the center of that famous island green on the PGA West’s TPC Stadium Course, in Palm Springs, Calif.
The 13-year-old from Washougal pulled out his 9-iron and dropped his first shot of the Future Champions of Golf World Championship about 12 feet from the flag stick. The only blemish on that first hole was a 2-putt par, instead of a birdie.
“It wasn’t the ideal hole to start with, but I thought I played it pretty well,” Humphreys said. “I knew I’d get another crack at it.”
Humphreys got the best of Alcatraz in the final round, by sinking a 30-foot putt for a birdie. It gave him the cushion he needed to walk off the course as the Boys 13- to 14-year-old Division FGC World Champion.
“I felt pretty proud of myself,” Humphreys said. “It was a really challenging course, with a lot of water hazards and bunkers. I played pretty consistent, and I didn’t make too many mistakes. Basically, I just outlasted everybody.”
The par-72, TPC Stadium Course stretches to 7,300 yards in total length. On July 17 to 19, Humphreys scored rounds of 70, 71 and 72 for a combined three-day total of 213 strokes. He was the only golfer in his division to finish under par in the tournament.
Humphrey’s 3-under bested San Diego Junior Amateur Champion Patrick Murphy by four strokes. One shot behind Murphy, Humphreys got hot by hitting three birdies on his first four holes in the final round.
“That put me in the lead,” he said. “I knew if I played conservatively the rest of the way, and didn’t make any mistakes, I would be able to pull it off.”
Humphreys also talked about the 40-foot green side bunker on Hole 16, promptly named the San Andreas Fault. Add that to the island green on 17 and the water-lined fairway on 18. Humphreys said those are three of the toughest finishing holes he has ever seen.
“You know it’s a tough course when the people who play on it are trying to qualifiy for the PGA Tour,” he said. “To know you can shoot well on that course is kind of inspiring.”