Eighteen holes of golf between friends Ben Gruher and Brian Humphreys didn’t settle the score Sept. 15.
The Camas Papermaker and the Union Titan finished 4-under on the par-72 Tri-Mountain Golf Course, in Ridgefield. They needed to play one more hole to determine the winner of the Jeff Hudson Invitational.
Humphreys’ drive sailed out of bounds. After taking a drop, his approach shot landed in the sand trap. This led to a difficult bogey putt, and he missed.
“I’ve played in a lot of tournaments, but playoffs are a situation I’m not used to,” Humphreys said. “It’s just a good lesson I can draw from. I played well most of the day. Maybe next time I can get first instead of second if it comes down to a playoff.”
Gruher kept his drive on the fairway. His approach landed in the deep rough, but he chipped on to the green and made a nice par putt to win the playoff for first place.
“It would have been cool if both of us got first, but I’ll take the solo win,” Gruher said. “It’s unfortunate one of us had to lose, but we both still had good rounds and we had a lot of fun.”
The Jeff Hudson Invitational featured 78 golfers from 18 different schools in Southwest Washington. Union finished in first place with a score of 296. Skyview took second with a 300 and Columbia River followed in third with a 301. Camas earned fourth place with a 312.
Humphreys led the Papermakers with a 68. Adam Wourms added a 78, followed by Logan Miller (81), Trevor Gjerswold (85) and Braden Taylor (91).
Washougal settled for 15th place with a 418. Curtis Crosby shot a 95 for the Panthers, followed by Everest Krabbenhoft (100), T.J. Melton (111) and Alan Anderson (112).
“You see a lot of varieties in style of play and you get to meet a lot of cool people,” Gruher said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 4A, 3A or 2A. That’s just where your high school is. You can still be the best golfer in the state, even if you are 1A.”
Gruher and Humphreys played with Spencer Tibbets, who finished in second place for Fort Vancouver at the 3A state tournament back in May.
“It was a playoff like atmosphere coming down the stretch. The entire round was a competitive experience,” Humphreys said.
“We’re all friends, so it was a really fun pairing,” Gruher said. “Any one of us could have taken it. I feel privileged to walk away with a win.”
The trio hit several birdies and a few eagles during the round. Gruher eagled the seventh and 13th holes, and made birdies on 5, 12 and 16. Humphreys hit an eagle on nine, and birdies on holes 1, 6, 14 and 18. Tibbetts chipped in for an eagle on the 18th hole to finish 1-under par.
Gruher and Humphreys will cherish this 4-under par day and the playoff. Just like their showdowns at the Titan Cup, Sept. 9, and the district tournament last fall.
“It’s nice that we can play something that competitive and still be good friends,” Humphreys said. “We golf together all of the time. It’s nice to battle it out in a real life situation on the course and then laugh about it afterwards.”