Prins claims All-City title in playoff

Tournament winner Greg Prins hits from the rough on the 12th hole during the Walla Walla All-City Championships at Walla Walla Country Club Sunday

Tournament winner Greg Prins hits from the rough on the 12th hole during the Walla Walla All-City Championships at Walla Walla Country Club Sunday Joe Tierney

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Jorge Martinez shoots for the ninth hole as he played in the final foursome Sunday.

WALLA WALLA — Greg Prins had a two-stroke lead with two holes to play here Sunday at the Walla Walla Country Club in final round action of the 62nd Walla Walla All-City golf tournament.

With one hole left, Prins trailed by one.

Prins birdied No. 18, Jeff Neher parred, and after 36 holes the two were even at 142, 2-under par.

Prins knocked in a 3-foot birdie putt on the first sudden-death hole, while Neher just missed a 15-footer, and Prins claimed his first All-City Championship crown.

“I’d been hitting my shorter approach shots pretty good today,” Prins said of his second shot of sudden death. “I played 50 yards and tried to stick it as close as I could. I tried to pretend that it (the putt to win) was just an ordinary putt. It was pretty straight forward.

“It was fun to play with a friend (Neher),” the University of Idaho senior pre-dental student said. “Jeff played really well (2-under-34) on the back.”

Jorge Martinez, one stroke behind entering Sunday, went out in 1-under and after his birdie on No. 9 was tied with Prins at the turn.

Prins and Martinez birdied No. 10, but Martinez’s drive on No. 11 found a tree that knocked it down, and Martinez settled for a triple-bogey seven.

“After the front nine, I knew the other guys had slipped a little and that we were tied,” Martinez said. “On 11, I said, ‘Don’t hit that one limb that is hanging there.’ I ended up hitting it. It seemed like it went downhill from there.

“All-in-all, I was happy with the first 27 holes,” Martinez said of his first All-City experience. “I was glad to see those guys (Neher and Prins) do well. Until next year.”

Barry Wofford, the veteran on the final foursome, tied Neher for Sunday medalist honors with an even-par 72, but after a 2-over front nine, never challenged for the lead.

“I bogeyed two of the first four holes,” Wofford said. “I think it was nerves of playing in the last group for the first time. I hit the ball real well all day and played solid on the back to get to even. I was glad I signed up (to play) as my window is getting smaller, and I played solid.

“These guys are great guys (Martinez, Neher and Prins),” Wofford added. “They are good kids (Neher and Prins). It was fun to watch good golf.”

All four birdied the par-5, 452-yard No. 10 to open the back. Neher, who was two-over at the turn, birdied No. 11 to pull within two shots. Prins bogeyed 13 and with a par, Neher crept within one shot.

Neher’s only bogey on the back came at No. 14, and pushed the Prins lead to two. Both got pars on No. 15 and 16 to set up the faithful No. 17.

“I knew anything could happen,” Neher said. “I tried to hang in there and grind out as hard as I could.”

On the par-3, 204-yard No. 17, Neher hit his tee shot within 10 feet of the cup, but Prins went left off the green and under the trees.

Prins second shot found the sand bunker and Prins struggled to a double-bogey five.

“It had to do with my attitude going into it (No. 17),” Prins said. “I had a 6-iron in and I couldn’t feel good over it. I pulled the trigger and swung and it went left. Then it was kind of fluffy rough and I got under it (the second shot) and hit it right into the sand.”

Neher nailed his birdie putt and No. 17 produced a three-stroke swing as Neher grabbed a one-stroke lead going to 18.

“I knew if I made the putt, it was a three-stroke swing,” Neher said. “It was crucial.”

Prins put his second shot on the par-5 18 above the hole and just on the edge of the practice putting surface. Prins rolled his third shot down the hill to the edge of the green in front of the pin.

Prins drained his 15-footer and forced the playoff.

“I figured it was now or never,” Prins said of No. 18. “I geared up and wanted to make eagle. I was debating (the third shot) if I should try and flop it and land it on the green or just run it down. I tried to run it down, but played it the wrong direction. The 15-footer was a double breaking putt. I read it the best I could and it went in.”

Both Neher and Prins reached the green in two with birdie opportunities on the par-4 first hole.

Prins’ second shot was within three feet, and Neher had to look at a 15-foot birdie opportunity.

Prins made the short putt for the 2012 title, and Neher’s putt to tie came up inches left.

“It was just like a couple of years ago when I lost to Rob (Broadhead, the 2010 champion),” Neher said. “He holed (an eagle on the first sudden death hole) out. We (Neher and Prins) grew up together and I expect nothing more than great shots from him. I’m proud of him.”

In first flight net competition, Shane Smith’s 131 claimed the first-place prize.

Dan Kaylor and Eric Kimball finished tied for second with a net of 141.

In second flight action, Jim Sanders took Sunday medalist honors with an 82.

In the overall gross play, Jim Kent’s 171 led the way, with Tiffany Buissink’s 173 finishing second.

In net play, Onie Bloomberg posted a 136 net to edge out Tony Billingsley, who finished with a net of 137.

First Flight All-City Championship

Gregory Prins 69-73—142

Jeff Neher 70-72—142

Barry Wofford 72-72—144

Jorge Martinez 70-79—149

Bill Herron 76-73—149

Eric Kimball 77-75—152

Shane Smith 77-75—152

Sean Taylor 73-80—153

Mike Lemm 78-76—154

Ronnie Smith 79-77—156

Dan Kaylor 78-78—156

Bill Boggs 77-79—156

Joan E. Schille 80-80—160

Zach Armijo 76-84—160

Luke Hamada 81-79—160

Richard Taylor 81-80—161

Bruce Murr 83-78—161

Dona Dunovant 82-82—164

Jacob Barnhart 80-88—168

Jan Harvey 88-81—169

Robert Houston Rice 88-84—172

Dustin Stocking 88-85—173

Justin James 88-88—176

Dick Simon 89-90—179

Mike Clark 88-93—181

Sarah Michelson 94-91—185

Donald Zarndt 97-91—188

First Flight Net: 1, Shane Smith, 131; 2, Dan Kaylor, 141; 2, Eric Kimball, 141; 4, Bruce Murr, 142; 5, Luke Hamada, 143; 5, Mike Lemm, 143, 5, Zach Armijo, 143.

Second Flight Gross: 1, Jim Kent, 171; 2, Tiffany Bussink, 173; 3, Scott Adams, 178; 4, Pat Grimm, 182.

Second Flight Net: 1, Onie Bloomberg, 136; 2, Tony Billingsley, 137; 3, Michael Postlewaite, 143; 4, Ron Miller, 144; 5, Brandon Hatch, 145; 5, John McKern, 145.

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