14-year-old Kelowna golfer making pro push

Cooper Humphreys competes at this year’s Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship

As one of the youngest players on the amateur tours, Cooper Humphreys might have had a lot of doubters.

Those doubters were silenced after the 14-year-old finished third at the 117th annual B.C. Men’s Amateur Golf Championship at Pemberton’s Big Sky Golf and Country Club in early July—only six shots behind the 18-year-old winner.

“My finish in Pemberton meant a lot to me,” Humphreys said. “Because at my age, I wasn’t expected to contend. It gave me the confidence to play against better competition.”

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With the impressive third-place finish, Humphreys is taking his clubs to the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship and the Canadian Junior Boys Championship on the East Coast over the next two weeks of August.

Winning the championships would lead to more invitations to bigger and more prestigious tournaments; a win at the men’s level would mean an exemption into the 2019 RBC Canadian Open. Points can also be earned for the 14-year-old with positive results from the championship. Points accumulate to give recognition to top-performing amateur and junior golfers across B.C; the higher the finish, the higher the points.

Pushing his way through tours against older, more experienced golfers, he’s learned to block out the noise to improve his game.

“Some things I’ve learned as a junior golfer are to be patient on the course and to keep practising. In the long run, it pays off,” Humphrey’s said.

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Humphreys is hoping his tenure at the Okanagan Golf Club will help him during these next tests in his career. He said playing the Bear and Quail courses have improved his game because straight drives are needed in order to score well, something that often translates well at championship courses.

Dan Matheson at the OGC said Humphreys’ level of play is increasing quickly.

“Anytime, in any sport, a 13- or 14-year-old young man, or woman, starts competing against adults and holding their own, if not (winning) competitions, you know you have a very special talent with the potential for greatness,” Matheson said.

“Fair to say Cooper is in that category.”

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Humphreys’ current sights are on the upcoming competitions, but he hasn’t taken his eyes of future goals.

He hopes to continue improving his play and work toward making it into a university golf program.

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