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No putter no problem for Deatherage

Using borrowed putter, Medford High alumnus posts lowest qualifying round at SOGT

The Southern Oregon Golf Tournament has always been a family affair for Tom Deatherage, it just took on new meaning Wednesday afternoon at Rogue Valley Country Club.

The 1974 Medford High graduate and current Bend resident suffered an untimely mishap last Sunday when the head of his putter fell off during a practice round.

In dire need of a short stick for the Southern Oregon, Deatherage went the family route, testing his children's putters before finally settling on daughter Laura's blade.

Considering what happened next, the 15-year-old Summit High student may not get her putter back.

Deatherage found a back-nine groove en route to a 3-under-par 69 during Wednesday's qualifying rounds for women and out-of-town men. His score earned Deatherage medalist honors in the junior-senior division, and proved to be the best qualifying round among the entire contingent covering two days at RVCC.

— It's always exciting to get below 70, said Deatherage, 48. Seventy is a good, solid score, but 69 is just that much more special. It gets people's attention.

In reality, Deatherage's low score Wednesday didn't do much to alter his stance among the junior-senior elite. He was the 2001 medalist in that division and has advanced to the semifinals in two of the past three tournaments.

Laura Deatherage's putter was on its way to a short-lived appearance in her dad's golf bag as Tom Deatherage failed to convert birdie putts within 12 feet on the first five holes.

I was a little timid early because I had heard all the talk about how fast the greens were, admitted the elder Deatherage, whose father Bill still practices law in Medford. I'm usually a pretty aggressive putter but I kinda held back a little bit. I only reached the hole once on those first five holes, and that one lipped out.

After posting a 37 on the front nine, Deatherage turned up the heat with a 32 on the back nine ' capping the round with a 6-foot, downhill birdie putt on No. 18.

The front nine wasn't really happening but I started clicking on the back nine, he said. I think on the back side I finally figured her putter out.

Deatherage admits he'll have to maintain his steady roll if he's going to get past the semifinals for the first time in a junior-senior division featuring the likes of defending champion David Boals, Doug Ward, Jerry Eklund, etc.

Now the hard work starts, said Deatherage, who has gone as low as 68 at RVCC. There are so many good players (in the junior-senior). There are guys who are definitely — or 2 handicaps.

Eklund carded the second-best score among the junior-senior contingent with an even-par 72.

Another Bend resident walked away with medalist honors in women's qualifying as Nettie Morrison posted an even-par 74 to best her nearest competitor by five strokes (Nikki Mack, 79).

The 60-year-old Morrison had been penciled in to the senior women's grouping but was moved into the regular women's division thanks to her reputation as an amateur standout in Oregon.

On Wednesday, she didn't disappoint as she carded a 38 on the front and 36 on the back in windy conditions.

Nettie's a good player, said Amanda Nealy, who qualified third with an 80. Nettie plays a lot of golf and doesn't miss too many shots in the fairway.

Nealy's youngest sister, Johnna, managed an 81 to tie Linda Johnson for fourth. Trina Rasmussen came in fifth with an 82.

Johnna just hits the ball too far, said Amanda Nealy, one of four Nealy sisters competing in the 75th SOGT. She kept hitting it through the fairway and had to chip out a few times. She's still got to be considered one of the favorites.

Molly Nealy's 87 equaled the score of Calista Crenshaw and Mo McFaddin and bested sister Josie Nealy by one stroke.

For at least one day, however, Amanda Nealy had bragging rights in the family.

That's the best 80 I've shot in a long time, said the 35 year old. I have not been playing at all. For me to shoot 80 today was great and I'm happy that I kept getting better. It started out rocky but I was actually hitting fairways and greens by the end of the day.

Terry Anderson's 71 proved to be the top mark in the senior men's division, while Mary Ellen Plankenhorn and Carmen Akins each carded an 82 and will play a nine-hole playoff Friday to determine the senior women's medalist.

Also Friday, the men's medalist playoff will feature a foursome of Brooks Newsom, Glen Clark, Nick Nieto and Rick Dimick. Each carded a 70 during Tuesday's qualifying and were not challenged by the out-of-towners on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Qualifyin g Results

REGULAR MEN

Mike Ryan 72, Johan Willhoite 72, Doug Luther 73, Mike Finnell 76, Don Gorman 76, Mike Spiegel 76, BJ Boek 77, Frank Clugage 77, Ryan Hawkins 77, Sonny O'Grady 78, Scott Lewis 78, Larry Miller 79, Mark Binegar 80, Travis Boersma 81, Greg Englund 81, Jim Mansfield 81, Ted Stark 81, Greg Findley 82, Gary Sterton 82, Sam Garcelon 83, Kurt Schneider 83, Johnathan Ausland 84, Chris Campbell 85, Kevin Clugage 85, Raef Lillesve 85, Geoff Loomis 85, Petes Rathbun 85, Ken Rhodes 85, Jerry Sessions 85, Ron Farino 86, Brooks Gard 86, Joe Rossknecht 86, Derek Schweitzer 86, Andy Luther 87, Michael Munden 87, John Stark 87, Kevin Tucker 87, Travis Brink 88, Brian Maxwell 88, Derron Moreland 88, Mark Decker 89, Erick Doolen 89, Darrell Hunt 90, Derek Lillesve 90, John Morris 91, Daryn Clark 92, Adam Mitchell 94, Scott Olson 94, Gary Pirkkala 94, Jack Adair 95, Lane Chistopherson 95, Scott Sterton 95, John Steward 95, Jim Stormo 95, Jim Hauck 96, Steve Warrington 96, Tim Gallagher 99, Duane Mataczynski 99, Lynn Knight 105, Rob Hauck 110, Michael Tucker 111.

JUNIOR-SENIOR

Tom Deatherage 69, Jay Audia 74, Gary Lukas 75, Rob Stassi Jr. 76, Gary Loeb 77, Scott Louis 77, Douglas Potter 77, Doug Ward 77, Vaughn Schneider 78, Fred Gilleland 79, Rick McCabe 79, Mike McCann 80, Mark Morrow 80, Joel Jessel 82, Steve Skinner 82, Scott Mayfield 83, Billy Crensaw 83, Dean Hellweg 84, Ted Decker 85, Steve Wood 85, Chuck Carnese 86, Dave Koch 86, Warren Wagner 87, Glenn Kilroy 88, Brad Heilman 89, John Tomlin 90, Gary Wood 90, Tom Droves 92, Ken Phipps 92, Kevin Aguirre 93, Dave Edgren 93, Tony Decker III 95, Tim Hornecker 95, Joel Riley 95, Dave Blake 96, Tim Lernihan 96, Kelly Timmins 96, Frank Holminski 98, Mark Turner Michael Diehl 101, Mike Snyder 103.

SENIOR MEN

Terry Anderson 71, John Dunkin 77, George Mack Sr. 78, Jack Peat 78, Bruce McDonald 79, Don Rose 80, TA Watson 82, Hal Light 83, Brent Orrico 83, Steve Audland 84, Wayne Chamberland 84, Dick Sorenson 84, Kirk Straw 84, Erik Hinge 86, Jerry Bailey 87, Paublo Barbera 87, Bob Bassett 87, Roger Colwell 87, Harvey Myers 89, Fuzz Primasing 89, Gilbert Striepeke 89, Larry Brown 90, John Barker 91, Ken Gilmore 91, Dave Mansfield 92, Bud Saulnier 92, John Teays 92, Dan Leary 93, Howard Phearson 93, Pete Puljan 93, Ralph Perry 94, John Root 95, Wendall Towe 95, Scott Milne 97, Tony Decker 98, Dan Dunphy 100, Mike Brown 102, Ben Watrus 104, Ronald Van Vleet 108, Ted Hughes 110, John Herbert 115.

WOMEN

Nettie Morrison 74, Nikki Mack 79, Amanda Nealy 80, Johnna Nealy 81, Linda Johnson 81, Trina Rasmussen 82, Molly Nealy 87, Mo McFaddin 87, Calista Crensaw 87, Josie Nealy 88, Joanne Beyer 89, Missy Coombs 91, Nancy McDonald 91, Tracie Armitage 93, Claudia Robbs 94, Ginger VanWey 96, Marianne Metzger 98, Kelly Loeb 99, Alison Meyers 99, Marnie Mason 100, Bed Stuart 101, Janis Crensaw 102, Parri Ward 103, Stephanie Heilman 105, Judy Morron 105, Cris Kohler 106, Barb Stormo 106, Jocelyn Mitchell 109, Jennifer Park 110, Nicole Waskom 119

SENIOR WOMEN

Mary Ellen Plankenhorn 82, Carmen Akins 82, Nancy Breitenstein 84, Gayle Jantzer 87, Debbie Cordell 88, Sara Anderson 88, Karen VanSant 89, Cathy Dunlap 89, Kathy McMurtrey 90, Bogey Loyd 92, Vivki Moffatt 92, Nancy Gish 93, Jan Selby-Hughes 93, Pamela Faurote 94, Paula Cracraft 96, Karen Louis 96, Janet Starr 96, Joy Simms 98, Pam Turnipseed 98, Judy Korepta 98, Pat Humphrey 101, Judy Etinger 101, Yvonne Schlafke 103, Linda Basgen 103, Coral Edwards 105, Lynda Weinhold 105, Alice Petrich 105, Maggie Kilroy 107, Margaret Gillette 107, Becky Barry 110.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail