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Barry fires RVCC course record 60

Mike Barry walked up the 18th fairway at Rogue Valley Country Club thinking not so much about what might be, but what could have been.

"I was doing the math," said the Medford golfer of his round Saturday. "I was thinking if I didn't hit it out of bounds on 12, I would have shot 59."

Of course, he still had to negotiate a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole, but that seemed of little concern. He'd made most everything he looked at, and this one proved no different. Putting uphill from just off the green to a front pin placement, he poured in the putt and let a big smile cross his face.

Barry, who was playing a recreational round with three friends, shot a 60 from the gold tees, the lowest round in the history of the venerable club, a par 72. Barry and Jason Allred shared the previous low of 62.

Barry, a two-time U.S. Amateur competitor who graduated from Oregon State earlier this year, overcame an errant tee shot on the par-5 12th hole — he still managed par — and toured the last six holes in 7 under.

He was 5 under on the first nine, helped by a streak of birdies on the fourth through seventh holes. After parring Nos. 10 and 11, he came to the 12th, a dogleg right with out-of-bounds markers on each side.

Barry aimed for the elbow, intent on fading the ball just enough to follow shape of the hole.

"As soon as I hit it, I knew it was OB," he said.

He came over the top and lost it left. Frustrated, Barry teed up another and swung hard. His ball caught enough of a tree limb on the right to drop 250 yards from the green. Despite a bad lie in the rough, he hit a "bullet" of a 3-wood toward the green. When he got over a hill that dissects the fairway, he saw his ball 5 feet from the hole.

The par kept his low round going.

"If you can get past 12 and 13 without any trouble, you can score pretty well coming in," said Barry. "I knew I was playing solid. I didn't think I was playing as well as I was on the back nine. That par on 12 kind of jump-started me for the last six holes."

He birdied each of them except the downhill par-5 16th, where he made a 12-foot eagle putt, for a 29 on the back nine. The toughest putts in the stretch were 15-footers at Nos. 14 and 18.

Barry didn't feel like he missed any gimmies, and he didn't fret too much when he barely missed chipping in for eagle on No. 15.

His playing partners were Eric Austad, Bret Breeze and Al Raduski.

Barry has a young family — his son turned 2 recently — and works full time. He's also working out to stay in shape for competition next year, at which time he hopes to give PGA Tour Qualifying School a try.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or e-mail ttrower@mailtribune.com