Humphreys, Tibbits win district golf titles

State champ, frosh phenom overcome soggy conditions

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 
photoCamas golfer Brian Humphreys

RIDGEFIELD -- Last school year's Class 4A state champion won this fall's district tournament.

Meanwhile, a newcomer to high school golf ruled the 3A district tournament Tuesday at Tri-Mountain Golf Course.

Brian Humphreys of Camas erased a one-shot deficit after Monday's first round to win the 4A district title by three shots.

Spencer Tibbits of Fort Vancouver followed his 7-under-par 65 on Monday with a 73 on Tuesday to claim the 3A title by 12 shots.

"Everything was dropping for me," Tibbits said of his magical Monday round. "I hit some good iron shots and hit a lot of greens."

He hit 16 of 18 greens on Monday.

The scoring conditions deteriorated Tuesday. Lightning forced a long delay when Tibbets and the rest of the 3A leaders had four holes to play.

Brandon Barnes of Columbia River finished second.

Not much of a chance to catch Tibbits, though.

Tibbits said he has lost leads before -- but never an eight-shot lead -- so he did not change his approach to Tuesday's round.

"I'm trying to beat the course, trying to shoot under par, just doing the best that I can, trying to win by as much as I can," he said.

It was not until after the front nine Tuesday that he relaxed a bit, knowing the title was his.

"I was 11 ahead with nine to go," he said. "I was pretty sure then."

Barnes followed a 73 with a 77 for a 150 total.

"That was frustrating," he said. "I didn't play as good as I could. I wanted to give him some competition. I'm just glad I made it to the next level."

The top six players in the 3A tournament advance directly to the state tournament, which returns to a Clark County course this spring. The next eight golfers will play in the bi-district tournament in the spring for one final chance to qualify for state.

There was a lot more drama in the 4A district tournament.

Eddie Abellar of Union shot a 69 -- the first time he has broken 70 in tournament golf -- on Monday for a one-shot lead over the defending state champion. Humphreys responded with a 3-under 34 on the front nine of Tuesday's round, taking a two-shot lead into the back nine.

"That was nice to get off to a quick start when I was trailing Eddie," Humphreys said.

Humphreys had birdies on 1, 4, 7, and 9 with a bogey on No. 3.

That bogey bugged him for a minute or two. Abellar birdied that hole to jump back into the lead.

"I thought, 'Really? You gave the shot back that quickly?' I knew I had holes left, but that was disappointing," Humphreys said. "I was expecting Eddie to play like he did yesterday, and I couldn't afford that."

Humphreys got three more birdies on the front nine and never lost the lead on the back nine. He finished with a 1-under-par 71 for a two-day total of 141.

Abellar could not find the stroke on the greens.

"I had never been in that situation before (playing with the lead going into a round), but I felt pretty good going into it," Abellar said. "I hit the ball fine and putted well, but the putts wouldn't drop today."

Abellar ended up with a 75 for a two-day total of 144. He tied for second with teammate Ben Gruher, who recorded back-to-back 72s.

"It was solid, definitely," said Gruher, a freshman. "My first district tournament. I didn't know what to expect. Pretty fun."

Humphreys, a sophomore, just missed winning the district title last fall. He bounced back with the state title in the spring. Still, this one meant something to him.

"It's nice to get this tournament this year," he said. "It didn't feel right to finish second at district and win state."

The top five 4A golfers go directly to state, with the next eight going to bi-district.

Union won the 4A team title for the fourth consecutive season and already is thinking about 2014."We're getting used to winning the district title," said Abellar, noting that every Titan is expected back next year, too. "It feels good, but it also feels like we're supposed to win it."

Columbia River won the 3A team title.

"We were undefeated all season (in league)," Barnes said. "Good to get the league title and the district title, too."