It seemed a reasonable question after Mike Barry shot an 8-under-par 64 on the first day of the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships Saturday at Centennial Golf Club.
Where in the name of Arnold Palmer did that come from?
“Who knows,” said Barry, who manages to play about once a month around his family and work responsibilities.
“Every once in a while, some old stuff comes out,” said the 27-year-old former state champion for North Medford High, who went on to play collegiately at San Diego and Oregon State. “It was a fun day out there today.”
It took a phenomenal round, including an eagle on the par-5 11th hole, to hold off a current Oregon State player, Kevin Murphy of Rogue River.
After Barry made five birdies and shot 31 on the front side, Murphy fashioned a 31 of his own the back and crept within one shot by round’s end.
Murphy gained a stroke on Barry on each of the final two holes en route to a 65, making it a two-man race heading into the final round today in the men’s championship division. Alex Street is third at 70.
In other divisions, Marty Morlan leads the newly-formed men’s junior-senior with a 70; Phil Cardin has a narrow lead in the men’s senior following a 71; Jon Paauwe cruised to a 68 for a nine-shot lead in the men’s super senior; and Terry Levis leads the women’s with a 73.
Barry last won the RVSP, or the city tournament, as it’s commonly referred to, in 2010.
Not since 2001, when Brad Bills did it, has there been a repeat champion. Last year’s winner, Dylan Wu, isn’t entered this year.
There was nothing to suggest prior to Barry’s round that this was in the offing.
He played a practice round Friday in a group that included Murphy and “was spraying it all over the place,” he said.
He went to a driving range early Saturday but still had no answers.
“Then I got to Centennial and everything felt a little better,” said Barry. “I was still spraying my driver a little bit, but I was able to keep the ball in play and still give myself an opportunity on every hole.”
He birdied each of the odd numbered holes on the front side, indicating, he said, his swing hadn’t changed much since the days when he played regularly.
“It was kind of fun to see the ball going where I was aiming for a change,” he said, adding that he didn’t overreact to the hot first half. “After nine holes, I wasn’t too uncomfortable. It was a good feeling to know I could still compete at a high level like that.”
At No. 11, he smashed a drive, then hit 7-iron to 15 feet below the cup and drained the putt for eagle. Murphy had about a 10-footer for eagle but settled for birdie.
Birdies at Nos. 14 and 16 got Barry to 9 under, but he went bogey-par on the last two.
Murphy went par-birdie on the same two holes to pick up two shots.
“That was probably the most boring 65 I’ve ever seen in my life,” laughed Barry of his counterpart’s round. “That kid, he’s a stud. It’s a lot of fun playing with him.”
Barry said he was going over his round in his mind on the 18th green when it dawned on him that Murphy hadn’t made any bogeys and had poured in quite a few birdies.
“It was like, ‘Oh, shoot,’ he’s only one behind,” said Barry. “I was shocked. He’s that kind of player. He’s so solid, you don’t even notice how low he’s going. He just always seems to put a good number up there.”
The men's championship lead group of Barry, Murphy and Street will tee off at 2:30 p.m. today.
Tee times for the leaders in the other divisions are 8:30 a.m. for the men’s super senior, 9:33 a.m. for the women’s, 11:12 a.m. for the men’s senior and 12:24 p.m. for the men’s junior-senior.
Mike Barry 64, Kevin Murphy 65, Alex Street 70, Mark Wilson Jr. 72, Maurisio Rayas 72.
John Kandaris 70, Kevin Pepper 72, Dave Husel 72, Jamie Burton 76, Jacob Gooding 76.
Marty Morlan 70, David LaRosa 72, Jay Klemp 73, John Justin 73, Bill Albers 74, Kelly Rasmussen 74, Bobby Foote 74.
Phil Cardin 71, Marshall Holman 72, Mark Wilson Sr. 73, Gary Loeb 73, Glen Clark 74, Bob Bowers 74.
Men’s Super Senior
Jon Paauwe 68, Chris Littleton 77, Jim McCabe 77, Larry Sullivan 77, James Achenbach 78, Dick Brekke 78, Brooks Hodapp 78, Doug Wesson 78.
Terry Levis 73, Kelly Loeb 76, Christina Phelps 77, Tracie Armitage 79, Kathy Kolar 79.