The grades weren’t quite as good for Kevin Murphy and Mike Barry on Day 2 of the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships.
One day after they combined to shoot 15 under par, the two waged a battle of attrition before Murphy pulled away for a three-shot victory in the men’s championship division Sunday at Centennial Golf Club.
“I knew I didn’t have my A swing,” said Murphy. “It was more like my C or C-minus swing. I was kind of all over the place, but fortunately I rolled in quite a few putts. Par putts, birdie putts, that helped me a lot.”
Murphy pieced together a 2-under 70, while Barry came in with a 74.
Barry had taken a one-stroke lead into the final round on the strength of a 64 Saturday, as Murphy went for a 65.
Murphy, an Oregon State sophomore who this week will try to extend his record winning streak to four in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at Rogue Valley Country Club, had a two-day total of 135. The 27-year-old Barry, who figures he plays about once a month, was second at 138, and Mark Wilson Jr. placed third at 145.
Terry Levis, who also defends her SOGC title this week, won the women’s division with a second straight 73.
In the new men’s junior-senior division, Marty Morlan triumphed with a 141, while Gary Loeb took the men’s senior at 143 and Jon Paauwe the men’s super senior at 140.
Like Murphy, Barry didn’t have a swing that would land him on the dean’s list.
“It used to be pretty easy on off days like this to kind of feel my way around the course, alter my swing how I needed to,” said Barry. “And I tried to do it today, but it’s just tough to fix the swing and have a swing that can kind of get you into the clubhouse with a decent score without really swinging a whole a lot.”
Murphy opened the round with two birdies to pull even with Barry, who also birdied No. 2.
They were so far ahead of the rest of the field, it felt like match play, each paying close attention to the other.
“It did, totally,” said Murphy. “From the first couple of holes, then it was like, who’s away, and we totally played honors off the tee. It was awesome. It’s kind of what you look forward to.”
A big swing occurred at No. 9, with Murphy two shots ahead and staring at an 18-foot eagle putt on the par 5.
Barry, meanwhile, chipped his third shot on the green but it was woefully short. Undaunted, he ran in the 30-footer for birdie, and Murphy proceeded to three-putt — his 4-foot birdie try horseshoeing out.
Instead of widening his lead, Murphy saw it dwindle to one.
“It didn’t really faze me because I knew I was putting well and it happens,” said Murphy. “You’re not going to make every putt.”
By the turn, a stiff breeze had picked up, a stark contrast to the calm of the day before. Neither player was hitting it particularly straight, and the conditions exacerbated errant shots.
“It makes you feel like you’re not playing as good even though you might still have the same game,” said Murphy.
After the fortuitous ninth, Barry proceeded to hit two balls into the left hay on No. 10. He found the important one, the first one, but not the second and went on to make bogey, dropping the shot he’d just regained.
“That was a big hole,” said Barry.
He lost a stroke on each of the 12th and 13th holes, leaving him four behind. He and Murphy then matched scores over the next four holes, making Barry’s birdie on the 18th to Murphy’s bogey meaningless.
Murphy ran in long putts for birdie on No. 16 and for par on No. 17 to extricate drama from No. 18.
“My focus was on my short game this week because I knew that’s what it was going to be about,” said Murphy, who won the tournament, alternately known as the city tournament, in his third try. “It always comes down to putting, pretty much. I think that’s what it was. I think I putted just a little better than Mike. He putted well yesterday, but it kind of fell off today.”
Barry was happy with his putting stroke, but he regularly missed to the right on anything of about 8 feet or longer.
“A kind of erratic swing without making any putts was a tough combo,” he said.
Levis, a long hitter from Gilroy, Calif., was steady throughout, making two bogeys against one birdie.
“I figured par was my friend,” she said after her debut in the tournament. “I had a decent lead, so just go out and par every hole and you should win.”
She began the day with a three-shot edge on Kelly Loeb and extended it to a four-stroke win.
Levis didn’t feel especially sharp entering the tournament because her duties as mother to three boys and as a full-time nurse — “The usual women’s story, I think,” she said — kept her from playing much.
She gradually worked into a good vibe, even though she wasn’t able to fully capitalize on her best asset.
“The course plays pretty short for the ladies,” said Levis. “For me, that’s not a benefit. I’m a long-ball hitter, so it brings in more of the competition because my short game is not my No. 1 game. If you make the course longer, I feel like I have more of an advantage.”
An example was her lone birdie, which came only after she was just short on a 17-foot eagle putt on the par-5 11th.
Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships
MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
GROSS: 1, Kevin Murphy, 135; 2, Mike Barry, 138; 3, Mark Wilson Jr., 145; 4, Jake Quast, 147; 5, Maurisio Rayas, 147; 6, Alex Street, 150; 7, Joey Walker, 150; 8, David Murphy, 152.
K.P.: Taylor Klemp.
LONG DRIVE: Mike Barry.
K.P.: Jake Quast.
LONG DRIVE: Mike Barry.
MEN'S OPEN FLIGHT
GROSS: 1, John Kandaris, 147; 2, Dave Husel, 147; 3, Kevin Pepper, 147; 4, Jaime Burton, 152.
NET: 1, Jacob Gooding, 136; 2, D.L. Richardson, 137; 3, Dave Mayer, 137; 4, Pat Reynolds, 137.
K.P.: Don Donaldson.
LONG DRIVE: Dave Husel.
K.P.: Jerdsen Gamble.
LONG DRIVE: John Kandaris.
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR FLIGHT
GROSS: 1, Marty Morlan, 141; 2, Bill Albers, 145; 3, Brad Bills, 147; 4, David LaRosa, 147.
NET: 1, DeWayne Robinson, 129; 2, Bobby Foote, 134; 3, Steve Wilt, 134; 4, John Justin, 137.
K.P.: Bill Albers.
LONG DRIVE: Brad Bills.
K.P.: John Justin.
LONG DRIVE: Brad Bills.
MEN'S SENIORS - FIRST FLIGHT
GROSS: 1, Gary Loeb, 143; 2, Phil Cardin, 147; 3, Mark Wilson Sr., 147.
NET: 1, Glen Clark, 138; 2, Paul Reynolds, 141; 3, Marshall Holman, 141.
K.P.: Glen Clark.
LONG DRIVE: Mark Wilson Sr.
K.P.: Chuck Gryness.
LONG DRIVE: Bob Bowers.
MEN'S SENIORS - SECOND FLIGHT
GROSS: 1, Chuck Fowler, 155; 2, Jeff Blum, 163; 3, Ken Weist, 164.
NET: 1, Mel Friend, 139; 2, Jim Palazollo, 140; 3, Steve Watkins, 146.
K.P.: Steve Watkins.
LONG DRIVE: Pat Smullen.
K.P.: Pat Smullen.
LONG DRIVE: Art Aviles.
MEN'S SUPER SENIORS - FIRST FLIGHT
GROSS: 1, Jon Paauwe, 140; 2, Larry Sullivan, 153; 3, Dick Brekke, 155.
NET: 1, Doug Wesson, 132.
GROSS: 1, Terry Levis, 146; 2, Kelly Loeb, 150; 3, Christina Phelps, 152; 4, Kathy Kolar, 155.
NET: 1, Georgia Vukovich, 136; 2, Toni Watkins, 139; 3, Deanna St. Martin, 139; 4, Pam Turnipseed, 140.
K.P.: Kelly Loeb.
LONG DRIVE: Kathy Pauck.
K.P.: Tracie Armitage.
LONG DRIVE: Leslie Gainey.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email firstname.lastname@example.org