Graybeal claims title

Travis Graybeal and Brad Christianson walk the course during the Round-Up City Amateur golf tournament Sunday at Pendleton Country Club.<br><I>Photo contributed by Wil Phinney

PENDLETON - Travis Graybeal shot five-under-par 139 over 36 holes Saturday and Sunday to win low gross for the field at the Round-Up City Amateur golf tournament at Pendleton Country Club.

Graybeal, 26, who grew up playing golf at PCC and now lives in Boise, was one of four players finishing the tournament under par. Defending champion Gordon Corder of Moses Lake made a final day run with a 3-under-par 69 but finished one stroke back at 140. Corder, who will try for his PGA card in September, won Sunday's sole survivor, which featured 14 golfers who shot 73 or better during the first round.

Six-time champion Brad Christianson, a Pendleton High School alumni now living in Tulsa, Okla., was tied with Graybeal at three-under after the first day, but shot even par on day two and finished at 141.

A quality field of nearly 200 golfers, mostly from the Northwest and California, and a course "there to be had" resulted in some of the best scores the tournament has ever seen. Golfers posted seven rounds under par, including 69 for Graybeal, Corder and Christianson.

Graybeal, studying marketing at Boise State University, relied on his short game and particularly his putter, to score well on the back nine, which most golfers consider the tougher side at PCC. He had nine-hole breaks of 37-32 for 69 on Saturday and 36-34-70 on Sunday.

"My putter and wedges were on fire all weekend," said Graybeal.

Graybeal had at least eight one-putt greens each day and canned several long putts.

Corder, who will play some 100 competitive rounds this year and was scheduled to play in the Oregon Open and the U.S. Public Links tournaments later in June, was impressed.

"That was probably the best putting performance I've ever seen," Corder said. "I've never seen anybody putt like that before."

During the tournament, Graybeal made three putts in the 40-foot range and on Sunday, with pressure from Corder, Graybeal canned two 20-footers for pars.

"He was getting up and down from the parking lot, I'm telling you," Corder said.

Graybeal was just as impressed with Corder's long drives. As examples, during the sole survivor Corder hit his drive about 350 yards on the par 5 seventh hole and had just 30 yards to the pin for his second shot on the 334-yard uphill par 4 ninth hole.

"I've never seen anyone hit the ball so far," said Graybeal. "I was keeping his score and just trying to keep my head above water. I probably got caught up in his score a little and tried to position myself. At times I was playing a little too conservative and that's not really my game."

It was Graybeal's sixth time playing in the Round-Up City Am and fulfilled one of his golfing goals.

"I've been following my Dad (Gary Graybeal 73-76-149) since I was able to walk," the younger Graybeal said. "It's nice to come home and play well."

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