Forgive Jimmy White if he was confused about what sport he was playing.
He had a golf club in hand and was striking a dimpled little white ball.
But he was striking it so well, it felt like he was hitting “to a basketball hoop,” he said.
White christened the first day of the Southern Oregon Golf Championships in spectacular fashion Tuesday, tying the Rogue Valley Country Club course record and crafting the single grandest round in 85 years of tournament qualifying.
White, playing in the men’s regular division, fired a round of 12-under-par 60 — even though he hit his second shot on the first hole out of bounds and took a bogey.
“It’s fun when the ball goes in the hole,” he rightly said.
Especially when it goes in relatively early on nearly every hole.
White made an eagle and 11 birdies to go with five pars and the bogey.
He matched the course record set by Mike Barry in 2010 — Barry also hit one out of bounds that day — and usurped the unofficial tournament qualifying score record from Casey King.
King shot 63 in 2011. Qualifying records aren't kept, but it’s safe to assume that was the previous best. The Rogue Course record has dropped from 62 to 60 in recent years, and none of those rounds were in the SOGC.
“Anytime you can get a record, especially down here, it’s always special,” said White. “It’s always fun to shoot a good round. I’m happy about that. I had some friends come out and follow me and they were all excited. It was a lot of fun. That’s what’s great about this tournament. Everyone gets involved and makes everything that much better.”
Qualifying on Tuesday was for local men. Today, qualifying culminates with women and out-of-town men. Match play begins Thursday and runs through Monday, when finals in every division and flight will be held.
The tournament, with a field of 416 players, is the largest single-site match play event in the U.S.
First-day medalist leaders in other men’s divisions were Kevin Klabunde, who recorded a 70 in the junior-senior; Bob Cox and Glen Clark, who each shot 72 in the senior; and Doug Olson, who tallied a 73 in the super senior.
White has been playing some of his best golf of late, which is saying something. He played collegiately at Oregon and in 2004 shot a 63 during a tournament at Trysting Tree in Corvallis, Oregon State’s course. His best round before Tuesday was a 62 a couple years later with buddies.
White played three years on professional minitours before regaining his amateur status.
Earlier this month, he had rounds of 64 and 67 in the Sasquatch Open Pro-Am at Centennial.
His fine play is tied to improved putting, the result of working with a friend in Eugene, said White.
“I just learned a couple of things I didn’t know before,” he said. “With the video equipment he put me on, I basically found out what I needed to know to work on my putting. Technology can help you in certain instances, and that’s one of them.”
He elected to keep the details to himself, but there’s no arguing the results.
White hit 17 greens, the exception being No. 1, and one-putted 12 of them. His scorecard was a thing of beauty, particularly on the second nine: It would have been a row only of 3s if not for a 4 on the par-5 12th.
White’s eagle-3 came on No. 16.
“I had good looks at birdie pretty much all day,” said White. “The longest putt was maybe 20 feet. Everything else was inside that.”
Not everything was perfect. A couple drives were “squirrelly,” he said, but ended up in better spots than they could have.
And some putts were testers.
“I definitely had some tough putts, above the hole and 3 feet of break,” said White, who is vying for his first SOGC championship. “But I had the right line and right speed and it felt like a basketball hoop. I was just getting them started and they were going in.”
The mishap on the first hole was innocent enough. He had 250 yards in on his second shot on the par 5. His 2-iron approach drifted right, went through some trees and out of bounds. His next shot found a bunker, and he got up and down.
When the birdies started flowing, White didn’t get ahead of himself.
“I’ve always had a pretty good attitude when it comes to that stuff,” he said. “Once I get it going, I always want to keep it going. That’s always been my mentality. I wasn’t nervous. I tried to stay within myself and hit each shot like I normally do. I just do what I can.”
On this day, it was a quite a lot.
Jimmy White III 60, Mark Wilson 69, Alex Street 69, Bret Breeze 69, Taylor Kemp 72, Jay Klemp 73, Erik Pederson 74, Dave Cuttrell 74, Alex Brown 75, Mark Mason 75, Brandon Crosier 75, Alex Hobson 76, Trevor Telford 76, Craig Smith 76, Mike Barry 76,
Jake Rockwell 78, Bryan Wheelock 78, Justin Azevedo 80, Eric Ford 81,
Joey Walker 82, Joe Bowles 82, Tom Leavens 82, Jason Caplan 83, Spencer Frantz 83,
Jordan Anderson 83, Darrell Flora Jr. 83, Justin Wise 84, Brandon Chun 84,
Eric Engelbach 84, Sam Garner 85, Scott Parker 85, Matt Stringer 86, Cody Stover 87,
Ryan Mateson 88, Brian Wilson 90, Jonathan Purtzer 90, Chase Schumacher 90,
Brandt Cullen 91, Dylan Schwarm 92, Mitchell Reagles 95, Tanner Lee Lawton 96,
Mike Running 99, Morgan Brady Hawkins 99, Charles Day 100, Jeremy Ross 102,
Joe Salamore 108, Shane MacLauchlan 112.
Junior Senior Men
Kevin Klabunde 70, Dan Westbrook 71, Marty Morlan 72, Bobby Foote 72,
Todd Dixon 72, Brent Barr 73, Dave Culbertson 73, Eric Austad 76, Richard Owens 77,
Kelly Owen 78, Todd Ostenson 78, John Justin 78, Ken Stringer 79, Robert Neff 79,
Jeff Barry 79, Tom Pepple 79, Mark Weiss 80, Dave Card 80, Keith Dierkes 81, Anthony Kell 82, Craig Knips 82, Mark Laurance 82, Eddie Bostwick 83, Robert Husel 83,
John Quinines 84, Gordan Humphrey 84, Michael Bauer 84, Dave Judd 84,
Kevin Jones 85, Dennis Richards 85, C. J. Knips 85, Richard Warner 85,
Philip Heiner 86, Rick McCabe 88, Chris Lindsey 88, Brad Pederson 89,
Bret DeForest 89, John Walker 89, Don Boucher 91, Troy Alexander 92, Tony Nieto 92,
Greg Jacobs 92, Joe Arnesen 92, Joe Davis 95, Les Cracraft 96, Scott Reed 97,
Jack Lewis 99, Mike Snyder 100, Jason Miller 102, Kevin Primerano 107,
James Figueroa 110
Bob Cox 72, Glen Clark 72, Brad Bills 73, Steve Lovich 73, Marshall Holman 73,
Bryan Schlafke 73, Gary Bates 74, Steve Boldish 74, Dane Smith 74, Steven Wood 74,
Jerry Eklund 75, Bill Wells 76, Bob Hyer 77, Brian Adolph 77, Tom Powley 77,
Craig Schumacher 77, Ron Harvey 79, Bruce Buchler 80, Charlie Tissen 80,
Brian Schmitz 81, Billy Crenshaw 81, Norm Veromeau 81, Gene Allred 81,
Evan McArthur 82, Doug Engle 82, Arthur Aviles 83, James Allen 83, Mark Pagan 83,
Jim Botsford 83, Mel Friend 84, O. J. Endicott 84, Mike Jones 85, William Milimika 85,
David Orr 85, Bill Allen 86, John Given 86, John Lawton 86, Tim Trower 86,
Alex Bellen 87, Paul Reynolds 87, Patrick Daggitt 87, Paul Reynolds 87, Neill Smith 88, Gary Glass 88, Dan Fowler 88, Terry Buntin 88, Dan Marshall 88, Greg Stormberg 88,
Bob Crews 89, John Buda 89, Ron Lewis 89, Lee Fortier 90, Jeff Blum 90,
Pete Kratz 91, Frank Lucas 91, Ron Moore 93, Paul Crean 99, Michael Confer 99,
John George 100, Dan Kosmatka 100, Steve Switzer 102 Scott Lubich 110.
Super Senior Men
Douglas Olsen 73, Dan Dixon 75, Bill Drewien 77, George Mack 78, John Kruesi 81,
Gregg Miller 81, Terry Anderson 82, Jon Woodsen 82, Michael Miller 83,
Alan Vogel 83, Jim Garrison 83, Marvin Gribble 83, Michael Armitage 84, Ron Primasing 84, Mike Jantzer 85, Jim Hatton 85, Jim McCabe 85, Dick Brekke 85,
Joe Warnick 85, Larry Garvin 86, Stephen Warrington 86, Dick Entinger 86,
Michael Goldman 86, Ed Olson 86, Arn Wihtol 87, Tim Wray 88, Bernie Frasier 88,
Al Raduski 88, Jim Quincy 88, Scott Weaver 89, Bob Crews 89, Robert Methvin 89,
David Rasmussen 89, Doug Wesson 90, Bob Glover 90, Gary Jones 90, Larry Schmaltz 91, Gary Klouda 91, Robert Given 92, Garth Harrington 93, Tom Barry 93, Ron Dixon 94, Raymond Smith 95, Michael Trovato 95, David Runyon 96, Bob Hutchins 97, C. Jan Garner 97, Pete Puljan 100, James Quinn 100, Bob Doolen 101, Donald Young 105, Phil Gossner 113.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email firstname.lastname@example.org