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Most competitive club championship in several years sees multiple golfers have chancee at this year's championships

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jerry Humphries makes a putt on the 17th green Sunday during the Meadow Lakes Men's Association Club Championship. Humphries went on to win the club overall title by a single shot over Jake Shinkle. Humphries shot rounds of 78-78 - 156 to earn the victory. The two-day tournament started Saturday morning and concluded early Sunday afternoon. For the past decade, just a handful of golfers have had a real chance to win the Meadow Lakes Club Championship.

Due to circumstances, this year's club championship was wide open, with multiple golfers having a chance to win the gross championship heading into the final hole.

"There was nobody that was clearly ahead of everybody else," Meadow Lakes Head Golf Professional Zach Lampert said Sunday, following the second day of the tournament. "Everybody in the championship flight had a shot at it and it came right down to four guys within two shots."

Heading into the 18th hole, four golfers were within two shots of each other.

Jake Shinkle held a narrow lead, but his tee shot veered to the right and landed near Crooked River in an unplayable lie.

After taking a drop, Shinkle finished the hole with a double bogey.

That was just enough for Jerry Humphreys to earn a come-from-behind victory.

Humphreys sank a birdie putt and ended up winning the 36-hole tournament by a single stroke.

"It was a bit of a surprise," Humphreys said later. "The guys that I was playing with were playing so good. Until we got to the last four holes, I think that I was trailing by a couple."

Humphreys won because of his consistency, firing rounds of 78-78 — 156 over the course of the two-day tournament.

"I had a few birdies and made a few pars and just tried to minimize the bad shots," Humphreys said of his win. "It is exciting. This is my first year of men's league and it's fun. It's been a fun experience and a great tournament."

Humphreys added that his brother served as caddy for him and that made the experience even more memorable.

"It didn't matter if I won or lost, It was fun just having time with him," he said.

Shinkle finished one stroke back with a score of 78-79 — 157, while Patrick Andrade and Tom Lijeholm were one shot further back with scores of 158.

Andrade was also a model of consistency, shooting rounds of 79-79. Meanwhile, the 80-year-old Lijeholm led after the first day with a round of 77. However, he appeared to tire late in the second round, finishing day two with a round of 81.

The net championship was even closer, taking a three-hole playoff to determine the winner.

"This is the first time that we have had a net playoff," Lampert said. "We had a tie one time, but one of the guys had left and we couldn't get ahold of him. Both of those guys (in the playoff) are in the C flight, so it's good to get those higher handicap guys involved in the overall championship."

Gerald Youel probably should have won the net championship in regulation. However, a three-putt on the 18th hole left him waiting in the clubhouse with a 36-hole total of 134.

Dave Christian, who was playing in a later group, birdied the 18th hole and the two golfers were tied.

After relaxing in the clubhouse, Youel was unable to find his game in the playoff with Christian. Youel hit into the water off of the first tee, and finished the hole with a 10. The next hole was even worse as he posted an 11. Meanwhile, Christian was on a hot streak, birdieing two of the three holes in the playoff and getting a bogey on the third, easily winning the title.

"It feels pretty good," Christian said of the victory. "It's the first time I've ever won the championship. He had a little trouble and I took advantage of it. It was just hitting fairways, fairways and chips."

Although the fight for the overall championship did not come down to a playoff, that didn't mean that there wasn't any drama.

Grant Kemp finished with the low gross score in the B flight with rounds of 80-84 — 164, while J.W. Miller was gross winner in the C flight with rounds of 91-87 — 178.

Christian actually had a better total, with rounds of 88-84 — 172, but as overall net winner, he was ineligible for the C flight gross title.

Andrade was the A flight net winner with rounds of 70-70 — 140, while Jim Johnson was the B flight net winner with scores of 75-64 — 139.

"It was a pretty good tournament," Lampert said. "Turnout was a little down because of conflicts in schedules and some medical stuff, but we still had a decent turnout."

Lampert added that for Sunday they made the greens a little faster, making the course more challenging.

"We sped them up before this tournament, so they were a little big quicker than they normally play," he said. "A little bit of a challenge. It makes the pins just a little bit tougher and putts break a little bit more when the greens are fast."

Despite the faster greens, players in the tournament were happy with the course conditions.

"This golf course is always in great shape," Humphreys said. "They do a great job with the greens and the fairways. This golf course is awesome, so I just want to give a little praise to those guys because it's a pleasure to play on."

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