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There are some handicaps that work out nicely

Mike Beaton has played enough golf to realize that one's handicap is merely a reference point, not an absolute.

Sometimes you play to it, sometimes you don't.

Beaton didn't on Monday and Tuesday in the Sasquatch Open Pro-Am at Centennial Golf Club.

He played better.

The 15-handicapper won the two-day amateur competition with a net score of 133, edging Phil Cash by one shot. Beaton, a Rogue Valley Country Club member, put together rounds of 82 and 81 and was candid about his performance.

"I'm trending lower as we speak," he said. "With my handicap, it was at the right time for me as far as handicap in relationship to ability."

Beaton was the catalyst as his team of pro Ed Fisher, the director of instruction at RVCC, and amateurs Al Raduski, Wayne Van Wey and Jake Rockwell won the team competition. Their two-day 388 was three shots clear of the runner-up.

Until the past few years, Beaton played regularly and to a much lower handicap. Then he began playing less often, and it showed.

"I went through every possible bad swing and bad swing thought you could think of," said Beaton, 57, who is co-owner of a hardwood wholesale business. "I had some really horrible things going on, and it took a long time to get through it."

He began working with Fisher about a year ago and is enjoying a resurgence.

A long hitter with a similarly long swing, Beaton said age has necessitated some of the changes he's undergone.

"There were a lot of different flaws in that old-time golf swing," he said. "You get to a certain age and things don't work anymore. I had a whole gob of moving parts that needed to be quieted down."

They were silent this week. Beaton might have gone even lower, especially on Day 1, when his 82 came despite a two-shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball and a missed 1-footer-or-so that he rushed through rather than marking.

The wrong-ball episode occurred on the green, when he and a teammate were playing the same brand of ball and hit to about the same spot on the putting surface.

"He was holding mine and I was holding his and nobody noticed a thing until the ball was rolling," Beaton said of his putt.

The ball he wrongly putted had a large logo on it that became apparent once it was struck.

Beaton credited his team for a "ham and egg" approach in victory.

"It equaled out," he said. "Everybody came through at the right time."

— Tim Trower