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Freshman leads North into state

South Medford easily earns other berth as the overall SOC champion

Mail Tribune

KLAMATH FALLS - Mike Barry appeared in a hurry to win the Southern Oregon Conference boys golf title.

That in itself is illogical when you consider he's only a freshman at North Medford and seemingly has forever to put that notch in the barrel of his driver.

Well, forever is here.

Barry overtook sophomore teammate Adam Browne, the first-day leader, with a 77 Tuesday at Reames Golf and Country Club to become medalist.

He won with a two-day total of 152, three shots better than Browne, who came in with an 82 Tuesday after an opening-round 73.

Those two and Chris Daggitt, who tied for third, catapulted the Black Tornado into the state tournament, where it will join South Medford.

State is Monday and Tuesday at Langdon Farms in Aurora.

North goes by virtue of its win at district. It shot 631 over two days to outdistance host Klamath Union (639) and Roseburg (640).

South earned a berth by capturing the overall conference title - lowest stroke total for five regular-season matches and the two district rounds.

The two rounds the Panthers played here were easily their worst of the season, but they were so dominant from the season's start, they still won the overall crown by 25 shots.

"We had some slip-ups over the last two days," said South coach Bill Singler, "but we had a big enough cushion, we could handle that."

It's the first boys conference golf title for South and the first year the entire teams from both Medford schools have qualified for state.

Barry seemed to be a walking contradiction as he held steady on another cold, breezy day in the Basin.

On the one hand, he showed a laid-back demeanor and a swing so fluid from his 6-foot-2 frame it seemed to pour into the ball; on the other, he sometimes teed up quickly and fired as others were still arriving to the box, and he spent so little time over some putts, you'd think he was standing on hot coals.

"The shorter you stand over a putt, the more you trust it and the more you make," said Barry. "That's what I think."

Who could argue?

In fact, it was that facet of the game that served him best.

He got up and down for a couple of one-putt pars at the 13th and 14th holes. About the same time, Browne, playing in the final group directly behind Barry's, was in the grips of three straight bogeys.

"I was definitely scrambling," said Barry. "My short game saved me this week. I was making 6-footers when I had to."

Aware on the last couple of holes that he was in control, Barry tried to play it safe but found himself a bit off-line.

At 17, he chipped from behind a tree to get close to the green, but was unable to get up and down and took only his second bogey on the back nine.

At 18, his tee shot faded to the tree line, but he had an angle to the green and made a nice shot out of fluffy rough from about 125 yards. Two putts gave him par and the win.

Barry and Browne had talked the night before, not about the individual battle they found themselves embroiled in but the importance of getting the team to state.

"That was the main thing," said Barry.

His personal plan coming in was to try to stay with Browne. If he could accomplish that, he reasoned, he'd be in the thick of things.

Browne tied for fifth at district last year and went to state as an individual, placing 13th. He had reason to believe he would return as the district titlist.

He and Barry played a practice round at the Running Y Ranch Resort prior to district, and Browne, getting a little help on his swing from Barry, shot 5 under par.

"After that," said Browne, "I thought I'd win. My confidence level was really high. Then after yesterday, I again thought I'd win."

It was about the fifth hole that Browne realized he didn't have his best game.

Although Browne was the leader of the Tornado in stroke average heading into district at 76.67, nearly two shots better than Barry, he hadn't played as well as he's capable.

"Adam has scored well, but he hasn't played as well as he's scored," said North coach Kevin Klabunde. "I'm hoping he has a breakout at the state tournament and gets in the top 10."

Heading into district, Klabunde was concerned that his team would even make it to state.

The final regular-season match was at Reames, as was district, giving Klamath Union a home-course advantage.

To top it off, Roseburg, a perennial contender, had shot a 310 here and was capable of going low.

"It was a very tight race between the top four teams," said Klabunde, adding that the league, especially North and South, has "made a quantum jump in terms of stroke average."

He said Roseburg's SOC-leading score last year entering district would have placed it only fifth this season.

Two players, both from Roseburg, qualified as individuals. Tyler Robinson tied for third at 156 and Ryan Malone was fifth at 157.

South Medford had one player in the top 10 in Noah Horstman. The senior shot 78 on Tuesday for a two-day score of 159, tied for seventh.

Joey Rossknecht, the defending champion from Grants Pass, shot — over par on the back Tuesday for an 82 and a tie for 10th place at 161.

TOP FIVE INdivIDUALS

1, Mike Barry, North Medford, 152; 2, Adam Browne, North Medford, 155; 3, (ite) Chris Daggitt, North Medford, and Tyler Robinson, Roseburg, 156; 5, Ryan Malone, Roseburg, 157.

DISTRICT TEAM STANDINGS

NORTH MEDFORD (631) - Mike Barry 75-77-152, Adam Browne 73-82-155, Chris Daggitt 77-79-156, Dave Mayer 86-82-168, Miller/Strahm 86-90-176.

KLAMATH UNION (639) - Craig Paulsen 80-79-159, Joe Putnam 76-85-161, Justin Leeper 84-79-163, Greg Hamilton 80-78-158, Kameron Gordon 82-86-168.

ROSEBURG (640) - Tyler Robinson 77-79-156, Ryan Malone 77-80-157, Tyler Miller 80-83-163, Pat Jovin 82-82-164, Goodell/Yraguen 83-85-168.

SOUTH MEDFORD (649) - Noah Horstman 81-78-159, Brodie Sullivan 80-82-162, Alan Johnson 82-82-164, Ryan Ulbricht 85-81-166, Chris Traivs 83-91-174.

GRANTS PASS (694) - Joey Rossknecht 79-82-161, D.J. Mazzola 86-86-172, Jay Kirkwood 84-93-177, Tom Cohen 89-95-184, York/Schmitke 101-95-196.

CRATER (700) - Rylan Wood 90-79-169, Tristan Webb 88-88-176, Lenny Pierce 88-88-176, Colby Callahan 93-92-185, Brandon Wood 100-86-186.

ASHLAND (709) - Jeff Skinner 81-86-167, Rick Ferguson 89-87-176, Marc Orr 94-88-182, Jesse Oldfield 94-90-184, Bob Tucker 94-95-189.

EAGLE POINT (747) - Chris Lilya 92-84-176, Chris Hurley 93-96-189, Shawn Calhoun 95-95-190, Chris Prestley 97-95-192, Hafterson/Nackerud 110-108-218.

OVERALL TEAM STANDINGS

1, South Medford, 2,129; 2, (tie) Klamath Union and North Medford, 2,154; 4, Roseburg, 2,188; 5, Grants Pass, 2,342; 6, Crater, 2,363; 7, Ashland, 2,488; 8, Eagle Point, 2,501.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail