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Eklund, Mulflur move into women's semifinals

A sense of normality returned to the Southern Oregon Golf Tournament Saturday as the favorites to advance into today's third round did just that at Rogue Valley Country Club.

Instead of previous champions being upset, which happened twice on Friday, the second round featured names typically surfacing on the leaderboard at crunch time.

Reena Eklund beat Jennifer Ausland 5 and 4 to set up a rematch of last year's women's championship flight final between the 21-year-old Medford resident and Mary Lou Mulflur, who topped Heather Holte 6 and 4 on Saturday. Mulflur, 40, won last year's 31-hole dual 7 and 5 to notch her fourth Southern Oregon title.

She's a great player, Eklund said of Mulflur. She's real consistent and scrambles extremely well. I'm just going to try to hit fairways and greens and see what happens.

Eklund used similar efforts to ease past Ausland during Saturday's action, hitting 12 of 14 greens. She unfortunately wasn't able to capitalize, posting no birdies in Saturday's round.

No putts dropped, but I managed to be solid all day, Eklund said.

Eklund expects today's round to have a different feel than last year's matchup.

I feel more confident over the ball than I did last year at this time, she said. If I keep striking the ball, as far as putting, as well as I did today, they'll drop eventually.

Putts will drop and putts won't fall. It just depends on who gets the putts and who doesn't. A lot of it comes down to your putting.

Although Eklund stands two match wins from her first-ever Southern Oregon title, she's definitely not looking past Mulflur or any of the remaining women's field.

You have to go through Sunday to get to Monday, she said. If you make it through, it's a completely different ballgame on Monday. Everybody's competitive level is up and ready to go.

Rounding out foursome in the women's championship flight will be Lara Tennant and Kristin Couch. Tennant topped Lunetta Ah-Sam — and 2 on Saturday, while Couch upended Trina Rasmussen 7 and 6.

Eklund said any one of the four have a legitimate chance at the title.

There should be two really good matches tomorrow. It should be interesting, Eklund said.

The men's championship flight is shaping up to be just as intriguing, with eight talented players vying for the title. To add to the intrigue, the men will be faced with two challenges during Sunday's action, with both foursomes teeing off around 9 a.m. and then the winners returning to do battle in another grouping at about 2:30 p.m.

Up for the challenge will be Doug Luther, Ken Hernandez, Brooks Newsom, Mark DeBoer, Jerry Anderson, Glen Clark, Brad Bills and Pat Moore.

Which player will take home the title appears to be a mystery.

I think you could flip a coin, said Clark.

Anybody up on that board could win it right now. We're down now to whoever plays good golf is going to win.

The Medford resident said he mixed a bit of the good with the bad in his 5 and 4 win over Rob Mullaney, starting hot before cooling off in the middle holes. After regrouping, Clark was able to close out the match thanks to a deft putting touch.

We got it rolling pretty good today, and made some putts when we needed to, he said.

Clark will be paired with Anderson, who knocked out medalist Ian Parent 1-up on Saturday. Clark said the two friends should make for a lively competition.

He's a character, Clark said of Anderson. I'm giving up a little height and a little weight, but we should have a ball tomorrow.

Having been in the quarterfinals before, Clark said he wouldn't mind taking another step during today's action.

I'd like to be playing on Monday, but we have a lot of golf in front of us tomorrow, he said. Thirty-six holes can be brutal.

Hernandez said he would also love the chance to take another step in his quest for the title, having made it as far as the quarterfinals five years ago.

To go another step certainly would be fun, he said. If I play well, I like my chances.

The Central Point resident said he has struggled through his first two rounds, playing just well enough to upend Luke Brosterhous in the first round and Eric Austad — and 2 on Saturday.

So far it's been tough. I haven't played really well, but I happened to play two guys who played a little worse I guess, he said.

With match play, Hernandez said anything is possible.

You can shoot 68 and lose or 85 and win, he said.

In the senior men's championship flight, Bob Harrell, David Town, Richard Reardon and Dick Swanson each advanced in tough Saturday matches, with all but Town needing 18 holes or more to ensure a semifinal spot.

In the junior-senior men's championship flight, Doug Ward will face Tom Deatherage and Kevin Klabunde will face William Bednar in today's semifinal.

In the senior women's championship flight, Pam Hubbard will face Brenda Hill and Deanna Wilson will face Bunny Casey in today's semifinal.