Marty Morlan has long admired the "big boys" he's come up against in golf tournaments.
The Kevin Klabundes and the Glen Clarks, he said.
RECAP: Marty Morlan of Ashland has the round of his life and leads the men's senior division in qualifying. Other division leaders are Jimmy White (men's), Kevin Klabunde (men's junior-senior) and John T. Johnson (men's super senior).
up next: Today, qualifying for out-of-town men and all women.
"They really are my heroes," said Morlan. "I've always just kind of tried to pick up their scraps."
Now, the big boys have something to admire in Morlan.
The Ashland golfer shot a personal-best score of 68 on Tuesday in men's senior division qualifying in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at Rogue Valley Country Club.
He posted six birdies and two bogeys in a round that had him momentarily "freaking out," he said, noting that he got to 5 under par at one point on the par-72 Rogue Course.
"I've never been 5 under," he said, "and I'm thinking, 'Hey, this is uncharted territory.'"
Morlan's round gives him a shot at medalist honors in the division.
Out-of-town men and women qualify today, after which medalists will be determined, barring playoffs to break ties later in the week.
Match play in the weeklong tournament begins Thursday.
Morlan's 68 was ahead of 70s by Chris Littleton and Jim Hoffman. Marshall Holman and Steve Wood shot 71s.
In the men's division, Jimmy White took the day's top honors with a 70. Bobby Foote shot 73 and Daniel Wozniak 74.
In the men's junior-senior, Kevin Klabunde recorded a 71, Dan Westbrook was at 72 and Brad Bills and Bret Breeze at 74.
The men's super-senior leader is John T. Johnson, who turned in a 73. Doug Olson was next at 75.
The best Morlan had done in the more than 20 years he's played in the Southern Oregon was win a first-flight championship, he said.
Now, it seems, all he does is win.
He captured the senior titles in men's club play at both Centennial and Stone Ridge golf clubs, then last weekend, he made a splash at the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships at Centennial.
Morlan, who is down to a 2 handicap, made a hole-in-one — the third of his career — during the opening day of the tournament that is considered the city championships. It helped him to a 73, putting him in a tie for second place entering the final round on Sunday.
But he stumbled down the stretch on Day 2, making a triple bogey on the last hole and failing to place.
"That just really put a bad taste in my mouth," said Morlan. "I've been chewing on that, so I really wanted to come out today and prove that I'm better than what I did on Sunday in the city, and I did. I played great. I played really solid today."
Morlan shot 33 on the front and, despite two bogeys, 35 on the back.
He made a curling, 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th green, then left an 8-foot, left-to-right breaking birdie putt on the lip of the cup at No. 18.
Morlan's success this summer, he said, can be traced to a book that Brent Santoni, an assistant pro at Quail Point Golf Course, encouraged him to read. "Putting Out of Your Mind," by Bob Rotella, said Morlan, got him to quit over-thinking his putts and not dwell on potentially negative outcomes.
Morlan called it "the best tip I've ever gotten in my life."
"That book was tailor-made for me," he said. "It explained exactly what I'm doing wrong. It pretty much had my name on it. That book has really set me free because I've always been in my head so much."
The lessons he gleaned from it helped him when he began "freaking out" over doing so well, he said.
Now, if he could only hit his driver as well as his putter and his irons, he said, he'd really have something.
But a chance at medalist in the SOGC isn't bad.
"For me, that's the highlight," said Morlan, "because I've always been the 8-handicap in this tournament. I've always been the guy on the outside looking in, and I've never been able to play with the big boys. I never thought I was worthy enough, I never thought I was good enough.
"Now, I feel like I can somewhat join the club with them."
They would most likely feel the same way.
MEN'S REGULAR — Jimmy White 70, Bobby Foote 73, Scott Wise 73, Daniel Wozniak 74, J.T. Compher 75, Daniel Schuler 75, Brandon Crosier 76, David Cuttrell 77, Jake Quast 77, Kevin Wu 77, Michael Payne 78, Matt Stringer 78, Trevor Telford 78, Mike Barry 78, Thomas Avalon 79, Ryan Kantor 79, Drew Telford 79, Mark Wilson 79, Derek Zwagerman 79, Rich Owens 80, Tom Leavens 81, Justin Azevedo 82, Eric Engelbach 82, Jay Klemp 82, Joey Walker 82, Phillip Heiner 83, Brandon Chun 84, Brandon Dahl 84, David Mayer 85, Jim Palazzolo 85, Craig Smith 85, Scott Weiland 85, Jim Garrison 86, Alex Hobson 86, Robert Husel 86, Ryan Suvoy 86, Spencer Frantz 87, Dave Judd 87, Keith Lallo 87, Jonathan Purtzer 87, Fritz Schuler 87, Justin Wise 87, Derek Davis 88, Glen Johannes 88, Nick Malone 88, Ron Statham 88, Bryan Wheelock 88, Jordan Anderson 89, Jason Caplan 89, Joe Arnesen 90, Darrell Flora Jr. 90, Brian Georgeson 90, Eric Linerud 90, Tom Pepple 90, Cody Stover 90, Ray Cox 91, Tyler Shelton 91, Mike DeLagrange 92, Mark McUne 92, Scott Anderson 93, Eric Ford 93, Brady Inn 95, Jake Witte 95, Ben Humphrey 96, Josh Godfrey 97, Darren Bruhns 98, Rick Holcom 99, Mike Stavish 99, Jason Rowen 99, Mark Pagan 100, Matt Daniken 101, Sean McGlinn 102, Jeremy Ross 105.
JUNIOR-SENIOR — Kevin Klabunde 71, Dan Westbrook 72, Brad Bills 74, Bret Breeze 74, Eric Austad 75, Robert Neff 75, Todd Osterson 76, Kevin Dixon 77, Ken Stringer 77, Brent Barr 78, Doug Engle 78, Hank Munn 78, Dennis Richards 78, Todd Dixon 79, Kelly Owen 79, John Justin 80, John Buda 81, Richard Warner 81, Paul Chitwood 83, Kevin Jones 83, Eddie Bostwick 84, Craig Knips 84, Tom Mayer 84, Mark Weiss 84, Eric Artner 85, Brian Adolph 86, Steve Bernard 86, Don Boucher 86, Bret DeForest 86, Steve Ferreira 86, Greg Jacobs 86, Dave Card 87, Alex Mann 87, Brian Edwards 88, Matt Hansen 88, Rick Dyer 90, Gordon Humphrey 90, Tony Nieto 90, Scott Reed 90, William Stewart 90, David Culbertson 92, Joe Mahar 92, Dewayne Robinson 92, Timothy Trower 92, Joe Davis 95, Jack Lewis 98, Bill Powell 100, Jason Miller 103, Matthew Stormberg 105, James Figueroa 106.
SENIOR MEN — Marty Morlan 68, Jim Hoffman 70, Chris Littleton 70, Marshall Holman 71, Steven Wood 71, Bryan Schlafke 73, Billy Crenshaw 74, Jerry Eklund 75, Greg Miller 76, Ron Lewis 77, Glen Clark 78, Terry Buntin 79, Craig Galpern 79, Steve Lovich 79, John Brittain 80, Bob Cox 80, Jim Anderson 81, Gary Bates 81, Ron Harvey 82, Roger Schnoes 82, Neil Smith 82, David Street 82, Gene Allred 83, Jeff Blum 83, Al Raduski 83, Michael Bauer 84, Howard Hunt 84, Greg Stormberg 84, Bill Allen 85, Mike Confer 85, Doug Hartley 85, Paul Reynolds 85, Larry Schmaltz 85, Charlie Tissen 85, Steve Watkins 85, Steve Boldish 86, Terry Smith 86, John Zupan 86, Michael Armitage 87, Mel Friend 87, Scott Weaver 87, Mike Jantzer 88, Dan Marshall 88, B.G. Brosterhous 89, Steve Lavin 89, Dennis Slattery 89, Michael Jones 90, Ron Moore 90, Lloyd Thompson 90, Lee Fortier 91, Dan Fowler 92, John Lawton 92, Gary Bonner 93, Don Pinkham 94, Craig Prewitt 95, Tim Wray 96, Sam Cribbs 97, Frank Lucas 99, Darrell Flora Sr. 101, Scott Lubich 109, Steve Dabrowski 110.
SUPER SENIOR — John Johnson 73, Doug Olson 75, Dan Dixon 77, Terry Anderson 79, Michael Miller 81, Larry Garvin 82, Bob Crews 83, Robert Maentz 83, Gary Klouda 84, Bruce VanZee 84, Steve Warrington 84, Tom Hamlin 85, Jim Hatton 85, Dick Entinger 86, Bruce Hanson 86, Ron Primasing 86, Dick Brekke 88, Bill Drewien 88, Gary Puente 89, Michael Goldman 90, Arn Whitol 90, Jim Kauffman 91, Michael Trovato 91, Alan Vogel 91, Donald Young 91, Ron Dixon 92, Bernie Fraser 92, Richard Larsen 92, Rick Murdoch 92, Gordie Carrigan 93, Bob Barber 95, Leon Flinchpaugh 95, Walt Packard 95, Robert Given 96, Tom Barry 97, Bob Hutchins 97, Raymond Smith 98, David Rasmussen 99, Jan Garner 100, John Jenssen 100, Bob Glover 101, Phillip Gossner 102, Jim Quinn 102, Bob Reed 102, Dick Kari 112, Joe Sayre 112.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email firstname.lastname@example.org