Late surge lifts Engle past Barry
Despite being one of the most unassuming golfers in the men's championship division, 18-year-old Daniel Engle made the boldest move Saturday during quarterfinals play in the 80th edition of the Southern Oregon Golf Championships.
Paired against two-time defending champion Mike Barry, Engle found himself 2 down with only seven holes to play before mustering an unflinching surge that left him with a 1-up victory in front of the largest gallery of the day at Rogue Valley Country Club.
"I've seen Mike play and, personally, I think I caught him on an off day," said Engle, who graduated in June from Phoenix High. "I had a few up and downs that really made a difference."
Engle went par, birdie, birdie to win hole Nos. 13, 14 and 15, respectively, and take a 1-up lead over Barry. The former North Medford High standout had opportunities over the final three holes to strike back but simply couldn't capitalize.
The result left Barry unable to become the first player in the event's history to earn three straight titles in the men's championship division, while Engle earned his first trip to the semifinals in two appearances.
"He was consistent all day and when he did hit it in trouble he managed to make a par or better out of there and that's what you've got to do in match play," said Barry, 22, of his counterpart. "You can't give any holes away, and he didn't really do that today and I kind of did there at the end. He took advantage and that's what you need to do."
For his efforts, Engle will match up today against Ryan Schaefer in one semifinal at 10:20 a.m., while three-time champion Brooks Newsom will face Casey King in the other men's semifinal. Schaefer outlasted John Warner for a 2-up triumph Saturday, while Newsom topped J.T. Compher 1 up and King won 4 and 3 over medalist Chris Polski.
In the junior-senior quarterfinals, Brad Bills scored a solid victory over Scott McLean (4 and 3), while Jerry Eklund edged Kevin Dixon (1 up), Marty Morlan topped Kevin Wu (2 up) and Jim Mansfield beat Joe Jessel (2 and 1). The junior-senior semifinalists tee off at 10:10 this morning.
Kevin Klabunde remained on course for a shot at earning a SOGC title in a third division, winning 4 and 3 over Greg Miller in senior men's competition. Klabunde won the junior-senior title in 1996 and '98 and the regular men's crown in 2001.
Also in senior men's action, George Mack Sr. won 2 and 1 over Gregg Willits, Terry Anderson earned a 2-and-1 victory over Bill Shevlin and Chris Littleton scored another big win with a 1-up showing against Stein Swenson. The senior men continue today at 10 a.m.
For the women, Trina Jones remains the only golfer capable of earning a repeat title after dispatching Lori Humphrey 1 up in Saturday's quarterfinals. The defending champion has a formidable obstacle ahead of her in today's 10:30 semifinal, where she will face 2007 champion Linda Johnson, who was a 4-and-2 winner over last year's runner-up Kelly Loeb.
In the other women's semifinal, a pair of young guns will square off in former Ashland High star Stephanie Johns and recent St. Mary's High graduate Aubrie Street. Johns, who now plays at Portland State, scored a 6-and-5 win over former champion Nikki Mack in the quarterfinals, while Street upended two-time former champion Amanda Nealy by the same score.
Among the senior women, Bogey Loyd, Deb Stuart, Judy Johnson and Janice Davis all advanced to today's semifinals at 10:40 a.m.
Coming off a win in the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships last Sunday at Centennial Golf Club, Engle was steady to the green against Barry for the first dozen holes but didn't quite have his putter going full steam. He missed a downhill 5-footer to give Barry a 2-up advantage heading into the 13th hole, but quickly turned things around from there.
After Barry's 8-foot comebacker for par fell one revolution shy of falling into the cup at No. 13, Engle stepped up and drained a 4-footer to win the hole.
Engle then took advantage of his playing partner's misfortune on No. 14 to even the match. Barry's towering drive found its way directly behind a tree and his effort to punch out went awry as the ball ricocheted off the tree about 30 yards to the right. A few moments later, Engle rolled in a birdie putt.
Barry easily outdistanced the field off the tee on the 355-yard 15th hole, but watched helplessly as his 40-yard chip ran past the flag to the back of the green. The Oregon State senior almost made up for the miscue moments later, but his curling 30-foot putt burned the edge and forced him to settle for par. Faced with a 15-foot birdie putt, Engle secured the lead with a solid uphill strike.
With the crowd following the foursome of Barry, Engle, Schaefer and Warner now approaching about 75 strong, Engle came up with what could be considered a match-saving effort on the par-5 16th hole.
A drifting drive to the left side forced Engle to play his approach shot with both feet on the cart path and that second effort ran hot and into the water at the bottom of the hill. Hitting his fourth shot after a penalty, Engle stuck a chip about 10 feet above the hole and then somehow found the nerves to drain his next effort for par and push the hole with Barry.
"That was a heckuva par save for me," said Engle, who hopes to be a walk-on for the OSU golf team this season.
It followed another wayward chip by Barry and ensuing hole-burning putt from 20 feet away.
Engle opened the door for Barry on the par-4 17th hole when he fanned his tee shot to the right and then sailed his approach shot over the left edge of the green. Barry, too, was in a bind after his drive forced him to play around a tree, but he followed with a beautiful punch shot that rolled up the green and settled pin high and 16 feet away from the hole.
Engle's third shot wound up across the green, while Barry's sidehill left-to-right putt was struck too softly and rolled dead about 21/2 feet from the cup. Engle then barely missed a sidehill right-to-left putt to finish with a bogey 5, all but conceding that he would go into the final hole all square with Barry.
That scenario didn't play out, however, as Barry's putt to win the hole lipped out on the left edge.
"That was a little tough," said Barry. "I hit a good putt, though, so it's hard to be mad at those. I don't know if it hit a bump or what. I might've hit it too hard, I don't know. I tried to keep my head down a little bit and I just looked up in time to see it lip out."
Nerves finally got the best of Engle on the 372-yard 18th hole, where he admittedly has struggled throughout his golfing career to find that fairway. His tee shot went into the trees on the left side and, despite a narrow alley to play through, Engle got aggressive. Eschewing the advice of his father and caddie Doug Engle to play it safe to the right of a blocking tree, the young gun opted to put the pressure on Barry by going left and punching out a beautiful shot well up the middle of the fairway.
Engle's third shot attempt was still shy of Barry's drive on the left side of the fairway, but he made it count by plopping the ball just in front of the green. With 77 yards left for his approach, Barry caught it too clean and his chip sailed to a precarious spot high on the right side of the green.
Fighting to the very end, Barry fell a whisker away from draining the downhill, twisting 16-footer. With no chance of stopping unless it hit the hole, the ball eventually settled about 6 feet below the hole.
"That's an impossible putt and he took an aggressive line and almost made it," said Engle.
Barry's comebacker burned the edge again and left him to settle for a bogey and a handshake for Engle after they pushed the final hole.
"I had my chances on the last three holes to win the hole and I couldn't do it," said Barry. "My chipping was kind of off all day and I was right around the edge all day on my putts. The ones that I did get to the hole, they'd run over the edge, but then I left a few costly ones short that were right in the middle and I just didn't give them enough speed."
Barry and Engle were extremely complimentary of the other during and after the match.
"With players in a position like Mike, a lot of times they're not as nice as him," added Engle. "He was going for his third title and I'm sure he knows how to try and get in my head or whatever but he missed that putt on 13 coming up the hill for his par and right away he told me, 'Knock it in there, man.' Stuff like that, you know most other guys are not going to be that way."
Dan Engle d. Mike Barry 1 up; Ryan Schaefer d. John Warner 2 up; Brooks Newsom d. JT Compher 1 up; Casey King d. Chris Polski 4 and 3.
Greg Findley d. Todd Dixon 3 and 2; Tommy Smith d. Erik Pederson 2 and 1; Justin Azevedo d. Mike Spiegel 1 up; Ryan Hawkins d. Ryan Suvoy 1 up.
Jon Robinson d. Alfanso Powers 5 and 4; Justin Wise d. Hamilton Baehr 1 up; Thomas Avalon d. Jerom Gilbert 2 up; Kyle Freeman d. Mark Wilson 3 and 2.
Greg Jones d. Dave Judd 19th; David Hoff d. Perry Hunt 1 up; Justin Duncan d. Sonny O'Grady 5 and 4; Kelly Owen d. Brooks Gard 2 and 1.
Aaron Rayburn d. Jeff Morgan 5 and 4; Shane Sevcik d. Marc Henderson 4 and 3; Brent Barr d. Bobby Foote 4 and 2; Mike Nieto d. Michael McCaslin 5 and 4.
Bryan Brutke d. Nick Nieto 1 up; Jeremy Burrows d. Brent Willits 7 and 5; Andy Badia d. Kelly Green; Orette Facey d. Rob Graves 7 and 5.
Matt Hansen d. Brooks Jenkins 1 up; Richard Buchler d. Mike Schmidt 3 and 2; Rom Jones d. Mike Running 1 up; Thomas Hamlin d. Scott Sterton 1 up.
Jeff Childreth d. Matt Morris 1 up; Jim Stormo d. Tanner Lawton 1 up; Nic Corbett d. Jake Rockwell 1 up; Lynn Knight d. Bob Hauck 1 up.
Jim Mansfield d. Joe Jessel 2 and 1; Jerry Eklund d. Kevin Dixon 1 up; Brad Bills d. Scott McLean 4 and 3; Marty Morlan d. Kevin Wu 2 up.
Glen Clark d. Ron Harvey 3 and 2; Pat Moore d. Joel Engleson 5 and 4; Tom Pepple d. Scott Mayfield 1 up; David Kaplan d. Tom Powley 1 up.
Dennis Slattery d. Jim Botsford 2 up; Glenn Kilroy d. Bruce Buehler 1 up; Gary Loeb d. DeWayne Robinson 4 and 3; Gary Sterton d. Bob Tennant 3 and 2.
Brent Orrico d. Randy Rupert 3 and 2; Robert Husel d. David Orr 1 up; Matt McMillan d. Randy Goosmann 5 and 4; Scott Swendiman d. Tim Trower 3 and 1.
Tom Hall d. Chuck Carnese 2 up; Steve Ausland d. Hank Munn 20th; Doug Hartley d. Dan Wayman 2 and 1; Russ Batzer d. Tim Hornecker 1 up.
Rick McCabe d. Mike Galante 1 up; Pete Nikolich d. Dennis Richards 1 up; Roger Peck d. Andy Luther 4 and 3; Steve Watkins d. John Buda 1 up.
Terry Buntin d. Troy Alexander 1 up; Rich Warner d. Les Cracraft 1 up; Gary Glass d. Mike Hite 6 and 4; Jim Palazzolo d. Frank Lucas 4 and 3.
Mike Snyder d. Ron Moore 2 and 1; Tim Mort d. Jason Bouzos 19th; Kevin Aguirre d. Todd Andres 1 up; Bob Watson d. Mark Smith 1 up.
Steve Ekwall d. Chris Miller 2 up; Tony Nieto d. Dino Picollo 1 up; M. Sorenson d. Scott Knight 1 up; John Lawton d. Don Webb 3 and 2.
Derek Davis d. John Walker 6 and 4; Dan Fowler d. Mike Diehl 3 and 2; Mike Confer d. Bill Batzer 6 and 5; Gregg Rupert d. Craig Prewitt 1 up.
George Mack d. Gregg Willits 2 and 1; Kevin Klabunde d. Greg Miller 4 and 3; Terry Anderson d. Bill Shevlin 2 and 1; Chris Littleton d. Stein Swenson 1 up.
Jerry Cochrane d. Bob Pond 3 and 2; Steven Welch d. Larry Nilson 1 up; John Dunkin d. Stan Smith 1 up; Scott Weaver d. Don Pinkham 2 and 1.
Rick Hassmann d. Jim Hatton 5 and 4; David Williams d. Wayne Van Wey 2 and 1; John Kruesi d. Larry Schmaltz 3 and 2; Jim Garrison d. Dick Brekke 1 up.
Bill Drewin d. Bernie Frasier 5 and 4; Dan Leary d. Mark Pagan 5 and 4; Ward Moyer d. Dean Keller 2 and 1; Larry Brown d. Wendall Towe 2 and 1.
Howard Phearson d. Terry Tallis 3 and 1; Bob Crews d. Mike Hornbeck 1 up.
Dennis Ramsden d. Ralph Perry 2 and 1; Alan Schneider d. Dick Sorenson 3 and 2.
Jim Stough d. Jan Garner 1 up; John Barker d. Gary Mann 2 and 1.
Lloyd Thompson d. Jim Hauck 19th; Eldon Powley d. Gibb Mitchell 1 up.
Pat Iribarren d. Steve Warrington 1 up; John Anhorn d. Terry Driskill 1 up.
George Parsons d. Mike Arant 1 up; Bob Reed d. Phil Cash 1 up.
Ken Gilmore d. Jerry Hanson 20th; Dan Kosmatka d. John Kilroy 4 and 2.
Bob Hutchins d. Steve Polus 4 and 3; John Watt d. Garth Harrington.
Trina Jones d. Lori Humphrey 1 up; Linda Johnson d. Kelly Loeb 4 and 2; Stephanie Johns d. Nikki Mack 6 and 5; Aubrie Street d. Amanda Nealy 6 and 5.
Kathy Pauck d. Heidi Kaplan 2 and 1; Jen Ausland d. Tracie Armitage 1 up; Claudia Robbs d. Karen Buchler 1 up; Mo McFaddin d. Molly Hylton 2 and 1.
Kelly Hegeman d. Cathy Trower 3 and 2; Tina Blum d. Michele Belieu 5 and 3; Wynter Hite d. Kim Coffey 4 and 2; Chris Kohler d. Leslie Gainey 3 and 1.
Bogey Loyd d. Barb Pinkham 6 and 5; Deb Stuart d. Karen Cox 1 up; Judy Johnson d. Cathy Dunlap 2 up; Janice Davis d. Joan Dickerson 2 and 1.
Janice Crenshaw d. Barbara Oldfield 1 up; Marianne Metzger d. Gail Jones 4 and 3; Jan Hughes d. Linda Pons 4 and 3; Chrissy Bayless d. Rosemary Harrington 2 up.
Teri Mayer d. Maggie Kilroy 1 up; Paula Cracraft d. Mary Botsford 3 and 2; Janet Stark d. Linda Basgen 1 up; Peggy Tomlins d. Nancy McDonald 1 up.
Pam Turnipseed d. Carolyn Crews; Stephanie Heilman d. Vicki Mitchell; Coral Edwards d. Carolyn Collins 4 and 2; Becky Barry d. Nancy Gish 1 up.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org