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Seniors take flight into semis of SOGC

Jerry Eklund has played in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships since 1984. He caddied for one of his daughters when she won a title in 1999, and he's seen many of his friends crowned conquerors of the course.

And though the 57-year-old self-employed businessman has come close — he took second in the men's junior-senior division last year — Eklund conceded that a first-place finish would feel mighty fine.

The former UNLV baseball player worked his way out of a few predicaments to beat Steven Wood, 1-up, during the 81st edition of the tournament at Rogue Valley Country Club on Saturday. With the quarterfinal victory in the men's senior division, he earned a ticket into today's semifinals. Eklund will take on Glen Clark, a 2-up winner over Wayne Van Wey, at 10:50 this morning.

"Well, I think everyone who plays wants to win," Eklund said. "If you don't want to win, don't play. It would be awesome, it would be great to win. But if it doesn't happen, then so be it. Either somebody beats me or I beat myself. But I'll be trying."

Eklund added that there's still plenty of work left to do.

"I am not even gonna look forward that far (to the championship)," he said. "I have 18 holes with Glen and we'll see what happens there."

Eklund found himself in the trees a few times on Saturday, but chipped out of the awkward situations to stay on track. He managed to two-putt on hole Nos. 10 and 14 after getting trapped in the trees, and he cleared the water on No. 16 to go up two with two to go.

"I was all over the place," Eklund said. "I was under trees trying to make pars. We had a back-and-forth match. I was fortunate to clear the water and apparently Steve didn't.

"You've got to keep grinding. It wasn't always pretty golf, but that's match play."

Eklund has plenty of respect for Clark, his upcoming opponent.

"We have played golf against each other for 20 years and he's a hell of a competitor, just a tough competitor," Eklund said. "I don't think he felt good about how he hit it today, but he gets it around and gets it in the hole."

Defending champion Kevin Klabunde defeated Doug Ward, 1-up, and Gary Gage downed Craig Galpern, 5 and 4, in the other senior quarterfinals.

Klabunde has been quite successful at the Southern Oregon Championships. He won the junior-senior division in 1996 and 1998 and the men's division in 2001.

"I feel like there is a little bit of a target on my back," he said. "But we'll just see what happens."

On Saturday, the 56-year-old was 2-up after the ninth hole and increased his advantage when Ward missed a short putt on No. 11.

Klabunde's chip shot on No. 12 was nothing short of sensational. He birdied the long-distance attempt, drawing a few compliments from the crowd.

"That was a real turning point," Klabunde said. "That hurt (Ward's) chances to be 4-down with six to go. I am a notoriously poor chipper, but I happened to knock that one in the hole."

After both men birdied No. 15, Klabunde sealed the deal with a simple two-putt from 12 feet out on the next hole.

Daniel Engle, of Talent, couldn't get revenge in the men's regular division quarterfinals, as Blue River's Casey King beat him 1-up. King, who will face Brooks Newsom today, beat Engle in last year's championship final. Winners Mike Barry and Travis Brink round out the semifinals, which tee off at 11:20 a.m. today.

Linda Johnson will play Kelly Loeb and Amanda Nealy will take on Cassandra Carothers today in the women's regular division semifinals. Tommy Smith and Paul Johnson and Dan Westbrook and Ken Stringer are slated to compete in the junior-senior semifinals.

Defending champion Bogey Loyd, Claudia Robbs, Deb Cordell and Marianne Metzger all advanced in the women's senior division.

Championships in all divisions and flights will be determined on Monday.

Southern Oregon Championships

MEN

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT — Casey King d. Dan Engle 1 up, Brooks Newsom d. Tom Avalon 7 and 6, Mike Barry d. Ryan Schaefer 4 and 3, Travis Brink d. Nick Nieto 1 up.

FIRST FLIGHT — B Marshall d. Eric Ford 1 up, Kelly Owen d. Justin Wise 3 and 2, D Culbertson d. Alex Hobson 20th, R Hawkins d. Matt Eschenbacher 19th.

SECOND FLIGHT — JT Compher d. W Wagner 8 and 6, T Telford d. B Breeze 1 up, C Stoffel d. Todd Dixon 4 up, D Zwagerman d. J Robinson 3 and 2.

THIRD FLIGHT — P Lindbloom d. Chris Wood 4 and 3, D Durrell d. C Primasing wd, Neil Smith d. Brian Otis wd, G Doolen d. Jesse Taylor 3 and 2.

FOURTH FLIGHT — Perry Hunt d. T Ostenson 4 and 3, H Baehr d. Tony Ghiz 9 and 7, Adam Huycke d. Brooks Gard 1 up, Ryan Suvoy d. Travis Campoy 1 up.

FIFTH FLIGHT — Geoff Loomis d. Brian Berg 1 up, M Campbell d. C Tomlins 2 and 1, Dave Judd d. S Sevcik 4 and 3, Greg Findley d. Ben Purtzer 2 and 1.

SIXTH FLIGHT — Erik Pederson d. Sean McGlinn 3 and 2, Rob Neff d. Jon Portz 2 and 1, Rick Jackson d. C Wagoner 4 and 3, B Brutke d. Joe Arnesen 1 up.

SEVENTH FLIGHT — Cody Stover d. J Anderson 19th, D Cuttrell d. Nick Nelson 2 and 1, Jon Purtzer d. M Stringer 19th, Steve Bernard d. Jr. Flora 2 up.

EIGHTH FLIGHT — S Ferreira d. Greg Jacobs d. 1 up, RJ Glover d. B Garrison 1 up, Jake Crews d. B Crosier 1 up, Michael Riley d. Rick Lozano 19th.

NINTH FLIGHT — J Rockwell d. B Pederson 5 and 3, Matt Fisher d. Todd Bagsen 1 up, Brad Dill d. Bobby Foote 19th, Josh Crews d. Ken Giuliani 19th.

10TH FLIGHT — R Buchler d. Scott Reed 2 and 1, Jon Ausland d. Nic Corbett 7 and 5, Josh Huffman d. Daryn Clark 2 and 1, Mike Running d. Jim Corbett 1 up.

11TH FLIGHT — Hernandez d. Randy Koch 1 up, Jim Stormo d. Lynn Knight 3 and 2, Matt Hansen d. S Sterton 2 and 1, Brian Carr d. M Schmidt 1 up.

JUNIOR/SENIOR

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT — Tommy Smith d. C Gonczeruk 8 and 7, Paul Johnson d. Kevin Dixon 1 up, Dan Westbrook d. Jay Klemp 2 and 1, Ken Stringer d. Kevin Wu 3 and 2.

FIRST FLIGHT — B Crenshaw d. S Mayfield 1 up, Rick McCabe d. Brent Barr 1 up, Erick Doolen d. Brian Adolph 2 and 1, Ron Harvey d. N Veronneau 1 up.

SECOND FLIGHT — B De Forest d. Michael Bauer 3 and 1, Joel Jessel d. Brent Orrico 2 up, P Chitwood d. Fritz Schuler 1 up, Mike Galante d. David Yu 1 up.

THIRD FLIGHT — Chris LaBelle d. K Linbloom 1 up, Bostwick d. Joel Engleson 1 up, David Nelson d. Matt McMillin 4 and 2, J Mansfield d. D Richards 1 up.

FOURTH FLIGHT — T Hornecker d. Gary Bates 1 up, Rich Warner d. Terry Buntin 1 up, Joe Mahar d. S Watkins 1 up, Steve Ekwall d. B Heilman 2 up.

FIFTH FLIGHT — John Kruesi d. Tom Jones 1 up, Don Webb d. Gary Glass 2 and 1, Eric Hansen d. Bob Odell 3 and 2, S Swendiman d. Tim Trower 1 up.

SIXTH FLIGHT — G Rupert d. John Lawton 1 up, Tony Nieto d. J Palazzolo 2 and 1, Tom Groves d. Kevin Jones 1 up, D Rowland d. Kevin Aguirre 1 up.

SEVENTH FLIGHT — Chris Miller d. D Boucher 1 up, Scott Knight d. Riley Loftin 1 up, Mike Confer d. J Salamone 7 and 5, John Walker d. Mike Diehl 3 and 2.

SENIORS

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT — Kevin Klabunde d. Doug Ward 1 up, Gary Gage d. Craig Galpern 5 and 4, Glen Clark d. Wayne Van Wey 2 up, Jerry Eklund d. Steven Wood 1 up.

FIRST FLIGHT — Bob Dickey d. W Milimuka 5 and 4, John Tomlin d. T Newsom 2 up, Dan Dixon d. M Hornbeck 2 and 1, Randy Loyd d. Bob Bowers 2 and 1.

SECOND FLIGHT — Jim Garrison d. T Purtzer 1 up, Wah Lee d. Ron Primasing 19th, M Holman d. M Kirkpatrick 1 up, Scott Weaver d. Nick Hodel 3 and 2.

SUPER SENIORS

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT — John Dunkin d. J Achenbach 1 up, Bob Maetz d. H Tomlinson 1 up, J Cochrane d. Tom Stenzel 4 and 3, Geo Mack d. D Rasmussen 2 and 1.

FIRST FLIGHT — D Entinger d. L Merryman 1 up, Dodd Samuel d. Tom Hamlin 4 and 2.

SECOND FLIGHT — Ron Dixon d. Dean Keller 2 and 1, F Ferreira d. Wendall Towe 2 and 1.

THIRD FLIGHT — Gary Mann d. L Flinchpaugh 1 up, D Mansfield d. Bruce Van Zee 3 and 2.

FOURTH FLIGHT — Bob Barber d. Pete Puljan 2 and 1, H Phearson d. Bob Doolen 3 and 2.

FIFTH FLIGHT — Jan Garner d. Ray Smith 19th, John Root d. F Johnson 2 and 1.

SIXTH FLIGHT — Mike Trovato d. Don Sauls 1 up, Tom Barry d. John Anhorn 1 up.

SEVENTH FLIGHT — Ken Gilmore d. Mike Parsons 3 and 2, John Pierce d. John Duke 1 up.

WOMEN

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT — L Johnson d. Toni Winters 3 and 1, Kelly Loeb d. Jen Ausland 4 and 3, Amanda Nealy d. L Humphrey 1 up, C Carothers d. Trina Jones 3 and 2.

FIRST FLIGHT — T Armitage d. Michelle Belieu 1 up, Mo McFaddin d. Laura Pinkham 5 and 4, K Buchler d. Leslie Gainey 3 and 2, LeeAnn Loftin d. Julie Austad 2 up.

SECOND FLIGHT — M Clark d. Tonia Waldron 2 and 1, Hannah Barr d. Cathy Trower 3 up.

SENIOR WOMEN

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT — Bogey Loyd d. J Entinger 3 and 2, Claudia Robbs d. Deb Stuart 6 and 5, Deb Cordell d. B Stenzel 1 up, Marianne Metzger d. J Johnson 1 up.

FIRST FLIGHT — C Fortier d. Teri Mayer 19th, V Moffatt d. M Botsford 2 and 1, J Crenshaw d. E Mitchell 5 and 4, P Turnipseed d. J Hannah 1 up.

SECOND FLIGHT — Harrington d. Diana Lee 2 up, Gail Jones d. M Kilroy 5 and 4, C Edwards d. S Wagner 4 and 2, P Tomlins d. Becky Barry 1 up.

THIRD FLIGHT — T Mickelson bye, A Petrich bye, S Darland bye, S Heilman bye.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail djones@mailtribune.com