It had been a long time since Ben Gruher and Brian Humphreys went one-on-one on the golf course, but that’s what the 4A district tournament boiled down to Tuesday.
Gruher, a Union High School sophomore, shot rounds of 70 and 73 strokes for a combined score of 143 on the Tri-Mountain Golf Course, in Ridgefield. Humphreys, a Camas High School junior, rallied with a 70, but finished with a 144.
Gruher said they both played thousands of rounds together while growing up.
“We did every kind of competition two friends would do,” he said.
Although they now play for rival high schools, the respect is still there.
“We never talked about it, but I think we both wanted to be in this position,” Humphreys said.
“I don’t know if we dreamed about districts,” Gruher countered. “Maybe the U.S. Open?”
Gruher shot 2-under par Monday to gain a 4-stroke lead over Humphreys heading into the final round.
Humphreys put the pressure on Gruher during the last six holes Tuesday. He almost made an eagle putt on the 13 hole, but still picked up his first birdie of the day. He nailed a long birdie putt on 16 to get within one stroke, but couldn’t get any closer.
“It was just one of those days where I couldn’t get anything to fall,” Humphreys said. “It’s disappointing, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.”
Gruher scrambled to save par on the final two holes to maintain his one-stroke advantage. He approached the 18th green in better position than Humphreys and two-putted in for the championship.
“I really haven’t had a victory in a long time,” Gruher said. “It feels good to finally break through.”
Union clinched the district team title. Camas settled for third place behind Skyview.
Brett Ball took third place for the Papermakers, at 147. Levi Holscher earned eighth place, at 154. Humphreys and Ball are both bound for the state tournament. Holscher is also in consideration. Official allocations will be determined by spring.
Read more about this district golf tournament in the Oct. 21 print edition of the Post-Record.