Six days of heaven

Brian Humphreys earns second place at Oregon Amateur Championship

Six days of golf felt like heaven to Brian Humphreys, even if it was pushing 100 degrees outside by the weekend.

After finishing off five opponents and keeping his hopes alive for 143 holes, the 19-year-old from Washougal brought home a second-place trophy from the Oregon Amateur Championship. Cole Madey defeated Humphreys 5 and 4 in the finals Sunday, at the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn.

“It was a big day for both of us,” Humphreys said. “I was trying to win the championship after getting second last year. Cole wanted to win the whole thing on his home course. When that’s the case, you’re not focused on the heat and how much you’re sweating. You just want to go out there, play well and win.”

The match started off evenly between the two Division-1 college players. Madey (UCLA) took the second hole with a par, and then Humphreys (Boise State) birdied the fourth hole to make things all square. The match remained tied until Madey delivered back-to-back birdies eight and nine. Four more birdies on 13, 14, 15 and 18 put Madey up by seven through the first 18 holes.

Humphreys birdied five and eagled 10 on the second go around, before bowing out after the 32nd hole between the two.

Although Humphreys hoped for a better result in the finals, he was happy to earn the opportunity to play for the championship again. The hot weather on a hilly course was grueling. Humphreys tipped his cap to Madey. They both know each other from playing junior golf together.

“It’s fun to go head-to-head with somebody like that,” Humphreys said. “When we’re both playing well, we’re very evenly matched.”

Humphreys played his best match in the semifinals Saturday afternoon. He made five birdies to finish off Riley Elmes, of Lake Oswego, Oregon, in 14 holes.

“When you’re playing well like that, you just can’t wait to get back out there,” Humphreys said. “Golf is fun when you’re exceeding expectations and playing to the best of your ability.”

Three birdies helped Humphreys defeat Daniel Cheremnov, of Hubbard, Oregon, 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals Saturday. Humphreys only needed 13 holes on Friday to knock off Chace Daskalos, of Albany, Oregon, in the Round of 16.

“I hit a lot of good drives. I didn’t get in much trouble off the tees. That gives you chances to attack the pins from the fairways,” Humphreys said. “I would say my driving and my short putting were the keys.”
Sinking a 50-foot eagle putt on 15 gave Humphreys the cushion he needed to defeat Billy Pollock, of Eugene, Oregon, 2 and 1 Friday in the Round of 32.

“Sometimes when you’re just trying to lag it up there, you put the right speed on it and it goes in,” Humphreys said. “You’re going over so much green, you don’t know what’s going to happen. When it’s like 10 feet out; ‘Oh, that looks really good.’ And then, it’s like 5 feet out; ‘That could go in.’ You find out, eventually.”

Humphreys beat Michael Senatra 4 and 3 Thursday in the Round of 64.

Although he settled for the 22nd seed after the first two rounds of stroke play, Humphreys studied every hole to get ready for the matches. After laying up on hole 10, which is a par 4, Humphreys discovered he could reach the green in one. He birdied that hole four times during match play and got an eagle in the finals.

He liked all the different nooks and crannies on every hole.

“I love this course. It’s not like any of the other course we play at all,” Humphreys said. “There’s trouble on most of the holes, and you have to hit good shots. If you hit good shots, you’ll be rewarded.”
The Sahalee Players Championship is up next for Humphreys, July 5-7, at the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington.

By placing second at the Oregon Amateur Championship, Humphreys achieved his goal of qualifying for the Pacific Coast Amateur, July 18-21, at Chamber’s Bay, in Tacoma. He will be a part of Team Oregon with Madey and Will Snow, of Vancouver.