Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, August 28, 2019, Page 9, Image 9

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Wednesday, august 28, 2019
HeRMIstOnHeRaLd.COM • A9
Hermiston’s Lerten has a
big game and a soft heart
There are two things you
should know about Colby
Lerten. He’s a heck of a
golfer for being just 12 years
old, and he has a passion for
helping others.
Lerten, who started sixth
grade at Sandstone Middle
School in Hermiston this
week, won an Oregon Golf
Association junior tour-
nament at Wildhorse Golf
Course in Pendleton on
Aug. 9. The following day,
he won another OGA junior
event at La Grande.
His luck ran out Aug. 13
in The Dalles, finishing third
to a pair of golfers a year
But his performance at
the first two events qualified
him for the Charlotte Tour-
nament of Champions on
Sept. 21 at Creekside Golf
Club in Salem. It will be his
second trip to the event.
“If you win one of the
qualifiers, you get to go play
for a trophy and be the best
in the state,” Lerten said. “I
won two of three. In The
Dalles, the guys who beat
me are ranked No. 1 and No.
2 in the state. They have 3
and 9 handicaps. I’m a 25.”
Lerten finished eighth in
the Charlotte last year in the
11-year-old division, but he
said he has it figured out this
“If you stay focused, it
doesn’t get to you,” he said.
“If you let them get in front
of your game, you could
lose the tournament.”
The Charlotte is an
18-hole stroke play compe-
tition. Girls 8-11 and boys
8-9 play nine holes.
A chip off the old block
Lerten, who also plays
lacrosse and basketball and
runs cross-country, got his
first set of clubs when he
was about 2 years old. They
were made of plastic and
they were for right-handed
No problem. Lerten just
turned the club around so he
could hit left-handed.
His parents, Kris and
Stacey, started playing golf
when Lerten was a toddler,
and he has grown up play-
ing Big River Golf Course
staff photo by Benjamin Lonergan
A bridge crosses between the 11th and 12th holes at the
Pendleton Country Club.
Wildhorse enhances
area’s golfing options with
purchase of country club
staff photo by Ben Lonergan
Colby Lerten, 12, shows off his swing at the Big River Golf Course in Umatilla on Wednesday
in Umatilla.
“He can beat his mom,
but not me — yet,” Kris
Lerten said. “His short game
might be better than mine.
He spends most of his time
playing with adults. It’s a
fun family thing.”
Lerten and his mom tied
for fourth gross in the sec-
ond flight with a 77 in the
Campus Life Golf Tourna-
ment on Saturday.
“This tournament helps
kids,” Lerten said before-
hand. “I want to golf, and
helping kids is exciting.”
Lerten has a big heart for
a young man. He has been
attending Rotary meetings in
Hermiston this summer with
his grandma, Jeanne Jewett,
and helped the organization
with its booth at the Uma-
tilla County Fair. He likes
that Rotary helps people
locally and internationally.
An honor student, Ler-
ten also was in Leadership
Club at Rocky Heights Ele-
mentary School in the fifth
Lerten would like to take
his game to the PGA, but not
After purchasing the
Pendleton Country Club
and completing a number
of renovations around its
course at Wildhorse Resort
& Casino earlier this year,
the Confederated Tribes of
the Umatilla Indian Reser-
vation is aiming to provide
a premiere golfing experi-
ence to the area.
“The golf course and
facilities are the perfect
supplement to the ser-
vices Wildhorse Resort
& Casino currently pro-
vides,” Wildhorse Pub-
lic Relations Manager
ber said via email of the
newly acquired property.
“The golf course provides
options for players when
the Wildhorse golf course
is fully booked or closed
for tournament play.”
Following the purchase,
CTUIR delegated Pendle-
ton Country Club opera-
tions to Wildhorse, which
has operated its current
18-hole golf course on its
resort property for the last
25 years.
The PCC property totals
248.5 acres in the Birch
Creek Valley and is located
seven miles south of Inter-
state-84. The course sits on
the southwest edge of the
original land reserved for
the Walla Walla, Cayuse
and Umatilla tribes in the
Treaty of 1855.
Along with combining
PCC with its previously
owned course at Wild-
horse, the acquisition was
significant to CTUIR in
taking control of the con-
servation efforts and water
rights associated with the
Amenities at PCC
include a pro shop, din-
ing room, bar, 120 seat
banquet room, an outdoor
pool, a fitness center and
RV parking.
While Liberty-Traugh-
ber said long term devel-
opment plans are still in
the works, so far Wild-
to be famous or pocket a lot
of money.
“I have been watch-
ing tournaments on TV,” he
said. “I want to donate to
St. Jude’s and the American
Heart Association. The more
kids who are helped have a
chance to play golf and be
successful in what they want
to do.”
Love of the game
Lerten’s parents have fos-
tered his love of golf. They
are members at Big River,
they take him to tourna-
ments, have him work with
a swing coach, and recently,
they put a bunker and put-
ting green in their backyard.
“I can practice whenever
I want,” Lerten said.
Lerten has worked with
Chris Issacson at Wine Val-
ley Golf Course in Walla
Walla on his swing, and
he likes to play the differ-
ent courses in the area, with
Wildhorse being his favorite.
“Chris has taught me a lot
of stuff,” Lerten said. “Wild-
horse has better greens and
they are fast. They have a
nice clubhouse, a golf simu-
lator and a restaurant.”
His top course is Las
Vegas National. He has
played there once, and
would like a return trip,
before he’s 21.
His favorite player is Jor-
dan Spieth, but his favorite
person to play golf with is
recent Hermiston graduate
Garrett McClannahan.
“I’ve played with some
pretty good golfers, but Gar-
rett is my favorite to play
with,” Lerten said.
Lerten has a few years
before he can play for Herm-
iston High School, which is
the first step in his planned
golfing future.
“I want to get a schol-
arship to the University
of Oregon and play in the
PGA,” he said. “Not a lot of
my friends golf, but some
have been learning the
game. I want to grow the
game more.”
Editor’s note: Colby
Lerten is the grandson of
Jeanne Jewett, multimedia
consultant for the Hermis-
ton Herald.
Tournament tees off for Special Olympics
The fourth annual Herm-
Olympics Fundraising Golf
Tournament raised $6,351.
The winning team, spon-
sored by Ensure CBD/Jeff
Edmundson, was led by
captain Mitch McClanna-
han and included his daugh-
ter, Madison, his son, Gar-
rett, and Carlos Chavez.
The foursome shot a blis-
tering score of 51 during
the 18-hole scramble for-
mat contest. They received
assistance from mulligans
and the popular red rope
score enhancement devices,
which contributed to the
net earnings of the event,
said Kristi Smalley, Special
Olympics communications
The Aug. 10 event was
held at Echo Hills Golf
Course. Participants were
treated to a barbecue ham-
burger lunch served by rep-
resentatives of Our Lady of
Angels Knights of Colum-
bus Council #3999 and
Doris Boatright, who has
supported the local program
for more than 40 years as a
bowling coach and board
Although not placing in
the tournament, a team of
four Special Olympics sup-
porters comprised of Union
Local Program head golf
coach Pam Thompson, Pat
Vaughn, Hermiston/Pendle-
ton golf coach Cal Harris and
John Edmundson, grand-
father of Special Olympics
athlete Jillian Smalley, shot
a 59. The foursome wore
horse has made changes
to PCC’s kitchen and bar
areas to reflect their own
facilities for the sake of
Ultimately, the goal is to
maintain PCC as an attrac-
tion in the area.
To meet that goal, Wild-
horse and CTUIR will
have to address the mem-
bership problems that
plagued PCC up to its sale.
previous PCC member-
ships are being honored
by Wildhorse, though the
course has been opened to
the public.
With that change and
other improvements to
come, Liberty-Traughber
said Wildhorse is planning
on an increase in players at
the course.
The purchase and
investment into improv-
ing the experience at PCC
compliments the efforts
at Wildhorse to upgrade
facilities at its on-site golf
course. While a number
of other renovations are
underway throughout the
resort, the golf course was
headlined by a brand new
clubhouse that’s already
been finished.
“Renovations are nec-
essary as facilities age
and business grow,” Lib-
erty-Traughber said. “A
new, larger clubhouse was
needed to accommodate
growing numbers of guests
and the services they
expect and deserve.”
The new building stands
in the same spot as before
and now holds a large ban-
quet room, bar and a cov-
ered patio to go along with
its more spacious pro shop.
There’s also a new work
room for tournament scor-
ing and rules evaluations,
along with additional mon-
itors placed around the
building to update players
of their scores in real time
during tournaments.
Another new feature is
a simulator room, which
uses Doppler radar to help
golfers analyze their swing
and improve their games.
Golf tournament slices
into impact fund
Photo contributed by Kristi smalley
Special Olympics supporters John Edmundson, Pat Vaughn, Pam Thompson and Cal Harris
shot a 59 during the Hermiston/Pendleton Special Olympics Fundraising Golf Tournament,
held Aug. 10 at Echo Hills Golf Course.
Special Olympics golf shirts
provided by Special Olym-
pics Oregon.
Gold Medal Sponsors
for the event included Uma-
tilla Electric Cooperative,
A & A Mini Storage, Rog-
er’s Toyota of Hermiston,
Jim Purswell’s Pumps Co.
Inc., Knights of Columbus
and Wyatt Harris/Northwest
Special Olympics pro-
vides athletic training and
competitions for individuals
with intellectual and devel-
opmental disabilities at no
charge. Local athletes will
begin bowling and swim-
ming starting the first week
in September. For more
information, contact local
coordinator Angela Schnei-
der at 541-314-0166.
zling time is in store for
those who tee off in the
upcoming Hermiston Fire-
fighters Fundraiser.
In its second year, the
four-person golf scram-
ble tournament is Satur-
day, Sept. 7. Check-in is at
8 a.m. with a shotgun start
at 10 a.m. at Big River
Golf Course, 709 Willa-
mette Ave., Umatilla.
The cost is $100 per
person and includes lunch,
a golf cart and 18 holes of
golf. It also features door
prizes, raffles and cash
prizes. Mulligans, putter
strings and “cut the cor-
ner” advantages also are
available for purchase
Presented by Herm-
iston professional fire-
fighters L-2752, the event
raises money for its com-
munity impact fund, which
is used for community
projects. To register your
team, call 541-561-8013.
To reserve a golf cart, call