By Brad Ziemer
Cooper Humphreys, all 14 years of him, didn’t get mad. Instead, he got even with Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club.
The Grade 8 student rebounded from a rocky start that saw him triple-bogey two of the first four holes in the second round of the GolfBC Championship. Humphreys made eight birdies in his round and played the back nine in 30 shots to salvage an even-par 71. Humphreys, who attends Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School in Kelowna, birdied five of his last seven holes.
“I just tried to put them (the two triples) past me and just grind it out,” he said. “I made eight birdies today. I have only done that once before.” And it surely wasn’t during a PGA Tour Canada-Mackenzie Tour event.
Humphreys earned a sponsor’s exemption into the tournament by winning the Zone 2 Junior Tour Order of Merit. He shot a five-over 76 in Thursday’s first round and vowed to be better on Friday. For a while, it looked like he might have trouble living up to that pledge. He tripled the first and fourth holes, which you would think might shake up a 14-year-old.
But with the encouragement of caddie Michael Hooper, who is Humphreys’ golf coach at Aberdeen Hall, he started to battle his way back.
“He just told me there are a lot of birdie holes and to forget about those triples and grind it out,” Humphreys said. “It was good advice.” Hooper had to leave after nine holes to tend to some school graduation business and Humphreys’ dad, Scott, took over on the 10th tee. His son put on quite a show for him.
“It was unbelievable,” Scott Humphreys said. “Mike kept Coop nice and calm after the two triples and his attitude was great. He just kept grinding and his teacher was just amazing with him. It was a great experience.”
Humphreys said he will take lots of confidence out of Friday’s round.
“I am feeling pretty good about the back nine and I am happy I was able to grind out a good score,” he said.
And how did he make all those birdies? “There were some tough putts that I made, but a lot of them were from 10 or 15 feet,” he said.
Humphreys finished at five-over par and missed the 36-hole cut by six shots. So if you take away those two triples. . . He will compete next month in the B.C. Junior Boys Championship at Fairwinds Golf Course in Nanoose Bay. He also hopes to qualify for next month’s B.C. Amateur Championship at Big Sky Golf Club in Pemberton.