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Seasoned Allred ready for return

After an intense summer of junior golf, Jason Allred is coming home.

Allred, 17, who spent the past four months near Palm Springs, Calif.playing for Palm Desert High's boys golf team and finishing his junior year,will return to Ashland High in August to begin his senior year.

But before Allred comes home, he has a few stops to make. In additionto playing in seven national tournaments, including the USGA national finalsand the Junior World tournament in San Diego, Allred will make a three-daystop in Houston, Texas, to work with celebrated teacher Butch Harmon, whocontinues to be the primary teacher for Tiger Woods.

I'm spending parts of two or three days with him in Texas (Dallas),says Allred. My dad (Gene Allred) set that up. You have to make anappointment to even work with him. I'm looking forward to getting some newideas from him.

Allred spent the spring playing golf in his free time at Bighorn GolfClub in the Palm Springs area. Jason and his younger brother, Kyle, took$45 apiece from PGA Senior Tour player Jim Colbert, one of the top moneywinners on the tour in 1997, in a team competition at Bighorn last Sunday.

We had a lot of fun, and both Kyle and I played really well,says Jason, who shot a 1-under-par 71. We were a little surprisedto beat them.

ALLRED SAYS HE HAS IMPROVED the tempo of his swing. And, he says he hascontinued to add distance off the tee as he has improved and grown.

When most Rogue Valley golfers think of Allred, they remember the littlekid who used to impress with 235-yard drives off the practice tee at RogueValley Country Club. But now, Allred is 6-foot-2 and hits the ball nearly300 yards off the tee.

The scary part is that he's just 17 years old and destined for more growthand mental and physical development.

College golf is a year away for Allred. He will apparently have his choiceof attending one of the top college programs in the nation on a full golfscholarship. He will visit Stanford, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Pepperdine.

I will make five visits, says Allred. I'm not surewhat the fifth school will be yet.

But before college golf, Allred says he has some unfinished businessat Ashland High. He will return as the No. — player for coach Arlen Foote'sAshland High team. The No. 2 man is expected to be Kyle Allred, who willenter his freshman year at Ashland High.

Jason Allred recently finished 10th in the California prep finals atTemecula. He shot a 1-over-par 73, but that was only good enough for 10thplace in probably the most competitive high school state tournament in thecountry.

KYLE ALLRED WILL PROVIDE at least some

balance to the Ashland team, to go with Jason, who can already be projectedas the favorite to win SOC and state championships next spring.

Kyle is going to be good, and he will help us next year,says Jason Allred. I'm looking forward to playing with him. It willbe fun.

Allred starts his summer junior season in the Nabisco Junior Championshipsat Rancho Mirage. He will continue to play in the USGA national junior atHilton Head, S.C.

He won't return to defend his age 16-17 age-group title in the OregonGolf Association junior match-play championships. His priority will be playingin national tournaments, improving his game and showcasing his talents tocollege coaches in attendance.

HOLE OF THE WEEK. I'm sure some of you have wondered why the seventhhole at Cedar Links Golf Course wasn't my first hole of the week. It's re-gardedas one of the toughest, most unforgiving holes in Southern Oregon.

At first glance, this hole doesn't look that tough. It plays just 391yards from the white tees, where most players hit from. But there are problems.

Those problems start at the tee. If you are playing the white tees, youcan look down the seventh fair-way and see a large man-made lake cuttingacross the middle of the fairway. If your drive travels 233 yards, you'rein the water.

The key here is to lay up in front of the water. If you put your teeshot 10 yards in front of the water, it will leave 175 yards into the green.

But here come the problems. The green is at the top of a hill and slopesseverely from left to right. The temptation is to play the ball to the leftand let it roll back down and onto the green. But a large cedar tree, whichcontinues to grow at an alarmingly rapid rate as far as golfers are concerned,guards the left side of the green and will snag shots hit left.

Hit the ball right at all and you are flirting with out-of-bounds stakesjust 12 yards off the right side of the green.

This has proven to be a heart-breaking, score-wrecking hole for a lotof golfers in the Rogue Valley.

It takes 285 yards of carry to clear the lake, says CedarLinks head professional Scott Lusk. That's not an option.

I hit a 3-iron and lay up, says Lusk. Then, it usuallyleaves me about 165 to 170 yards to the green. The green will hold a goodshot, but keep in mind it slopes to the right, and you can lose the ballout of bounds to the right very easily.

My advice: Think conservatively here and walk away quietly with a bogey.Don't risk a double bogey. If you happen to hit one exceptional shot, withan iron or putter in hand you can still make par.

Randy Hammericksen is the Mail Tribune's sports columnist. He can bereached at 776-4499.