Columns & Blogs

U.S. Open: Chambers Bay not for the short of breath

I’m excited to see how the professionals take on Chambers Bay this week in the U.S. Open.

Built in an old sand and gravel quarry, it’s a very vertical course. So you’ve got to be in shape to walk the 18 holes each day.

That shouldn’t matter to the pros. But for duffers like me, on a course that doesn’t allow carts, it’s a big deal.

I got the chance to play the course on a media day back in 2007, just about a month after it opened.

It was a shotgun start, and I birdied two out of the first three holes. The rest of my foursome was patting me on the back, but I warned them that as an 18 handicap, things were going to get worse for me. That it’s better to be lucky than good.

I was right. I struggled the rest of the day.

But what I remember most was walking up the course on one hole. Our forecaddie, Charles, heard me breathing heavily as we moseyed up the course.

“Jeff, are you all right?” Charles asked.

“Yes,” I said in a gasping voice, “but you may have noticed that I’m a tad bit overweight.”

I lied. I was a lot overweight.

“Give me your pull cart,” Charles said.

“But Charles,” I protested, “You’re already carrying two other bags.”

“Just give it to me, and you worry about getting yourself up the hill on this hole,” Charles snapped. “We’ve only been open three weeks, and we’ve already had three guys drop dead of heart attacks out here.”

I quickly handed over my pull cart.

While Chambers Bay will test the mental toughness of the PGA Tour pros this week, it’s definitely going to be a physical battle too.

NWAC Hall of Fame

The 2015 Northwest Athletic Conference Hall of Fame Class was inducted June 4 at the Pasco Red Lion.

Six individuals and two teams were honored: Spokane’s Sam Brasch; Spokane’s Anthony Davis, who graduated from Pasco High School and went on to play in the NFL; Spokane’s Mike Rice and Vic Wallace; Columbia Basin College’s Curt Didier and Mike Fitzpatrick.

The 1983 Wenatchee Valley football team and the 1986 Walla Walla football team also were inducted.

Names that jump out at me from the Walla Walla squad include Ty Fischer, Keith Dupuis, Jay Judy, Brian Cordray, Jay Covington, John Wunderlich and Marc Yonts. All are from the Tri-Cities.

Other notes

Nathan Ruane (Richland) signed with Angelo State University — an NCAA Division II school located in San Angelo, Texas — to play baseball next year. Ruane just finished two seasons playing for Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix. Ruane hit .321 as a freshman and followed it up with a .265 batting average as a sophomore, batting mainly in the cleanup position all year because of other players’ injuries. The league was wood bat only. ... Washington’s Elizabeth Quick (Richland) set a personal record of 13 feet, 6 1/4 inches to place third in the women’s pole vault at the Pac-12 Conference championships May 17. ... Senior Samson Martinez (Pasco) was named a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Playing for Whitworth, Martinez had a 3.43 grade point-average through January and graduated in only three years as a business and accounting double major. His average score was 75.4 this season on the way to first team All-NWC recognition. ... Catcher Alex Shuster (Connell) was named NWAC softball tournament co-MVP after she helped lead Spokane to a 12-3 win in the title game against Mt. Hood on May 18. Shuster was a sophomore. Shortstop Kylee Andreason (Hermiston) and utility player Courtney Kent (Richland) also play for Spokane. ... Summer baseball: Anthony Hinkson (Tri-Cities Prep), who plays college baseball for the Pacific Boxers in Forest Grove, Ore., is spending the summer playing for the Denver Cougars of the Rocky Mountain Baseball League. ... Junior Cole Lorenzo (Richland) finished 58th at the NAIA men’s golf national championships May 21 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Playing for Lewis-Clark State College, Lorenzo had a three-round total of 225.