May 25, 2011 in Sports

WV-Yakima’s Gravbrot wins boys 3A golf duel

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Eric Gravbrot played steady from tee to green on the final day of the State 3A boys golf tournament Wednesday at MeadowWood.

It was his game between the ears, though, that proved pivotal.

Gravbrot of West Valley-Yakima eagled the par-5 12th hole on his way to a 4-under 68 as he overcame first-day leader Samson Martinez of Pasco to earn a state championship.

“I reminded myself that I eagled the hole in my practice round,” Gravbrot said. “I was watching this golf psychology video and took the advice to recall past success. I remembered the eagle.”

Gravbrot drained a downhill 20-foot putt to pull into a four-way tie with Martinez, Hayden Whaley of Blanchet and Carl Johnson of Bainbridge at 5 under.

The tie was whittled to just Gravbrot and Martinez going into the uphill, 165-yard par-3 17th hole. Gravbrot put his tee shot on the green and Martinez was long left on the apron.

Gravbrot’s putt from about 35 feet kept picking up speed near the hole and slipped by about seven feet. Martinez’s putt off the green hit a dirt spot and spun past by four feet. Gravbrot made his comebacker while Martinez missed, and Gravbrot went to the 18th tee with a one-shot lead.

Gravbrot, who finished 15th at state as a junior and sophomore, wasn’t about to let the opportunity to slip past him. He placed a nice drive in the middle of the fairway while Martinez hit into the trees lining the right side of the fairway along the cart path. Martinez didn’t have much of a shot, having to poke it out to the right of the green. Gravbrot hit the green, leaving himself a 30-footer downhill.

Gravbrot’s chip slipped just past the hole and all Gravbrot had to do was two-putt. His margin for error increased when Martinez missed a 3-footer for par.

The round started to take off for Gravbrot when he chipped in for birdie on No. 9 about 25 feet from the pin.

That came just after he called a penalty on himself as he addressed the ball preparing to chip from just off the green the hole before. He noticed the ball oscillate a smidge during his address so he called in a WIAA official for a ruling. It was ruled he had to take a penalty stroke because the ball moved as he addressed it.

“I told myself I could get it back,” said Gravbrot, who plans to play at Montana State-Billings next year.

Both Gravbrot and Martinez made birdies at No. 15 as they moved to 7 under. That’s where Gravbrot would finish, but Martinez would give two back with bogeys on the final two holes.

“I had seven birdies and couldn’t break par,” Martinez, a junior, shrugged after he shot a first-day 67.

Seattle Prep captured the team title with 87, well ahead of runner-up Enumclaw (70). Mt. Spokane took home its first boys state golf trophy, placing fourth (62.5). Tye Morrison led the Wildcats with rounds of 78 and 70.

“The key was we had a strategy that we executed,” Mt. Spokane coach Greg Schultz said. “It’s the first time we’ve had three players in the final round and Tye’s round was the lowest state round in school history.”

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