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White upends Barry to claim first city crown

Jimmy White pulled another sticker out of one of his socks.

It seemed an appropriate time to throw a needle at Mike Barry, who had hit another golf ball into thick brush, resulting in the prickly experience for his opponent and an entourage that helped look for it.

"I had to give him a little grief for that," grinned White.

The wayward tee shot came on the 18th hole and decided the men's division winner in the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships at Centennial Golf Club Sunday.

White, a former professional who competed for three years on minitours, and Barry, the defending champion of the city tournament, were tied for the lead going into the final hole of the two-day event.

Their playing partner, J.T. Compher, was the overnight leader after shooting an opening round of 4-under-par 68, but he dropped behind with a 6-over 42 on the front nine.

At the 18th, Barry — who had also hit his driver into tall weeds on Nos. 11 and 15 — powered his ball well left. When it was found and identified, he hacked it out and did well just to advance it about 15 yards to where he could get a club on it.

"It was not good," said White. "He said it was harder to take the club back than it was to get through it."

Barry's third shot from 150 yards flew to the front of the green and left him with a par putt of 50-plus feet.

White, meanwhile, drove his tee ball into the first cut and reached the middle of the green with his approach from 160 yards.

If Barry didn't sink his behemoth putt, White — who was half as close — needed only to two-putt to win.

Barry's putt came up short, White two-putted and the latter enjoyed victory in his first go-round in the RVSP.

White's closing 71 was the only subpar round of the day and gave him a 143 total. Barry, who three-putted the last hole, shot 75 for a 145, and Compher was third at 148.

Other champions were Glen Clark in the men's senior, Bill Seymour in the men's super senior and Tracie Armitage, who captured her second consecutive women's title.

White took the lead through the front nine with birdies at Nos. 5 and 9 as neither Barry, who shot 38 on the front, nor Compher failed to get anything going.

"My ball striking was good and that was basically what won me the match," said White. "My putting and chipping were terrible. I was hitting it to 40 feet all day and basically two-putting my way around the golf course. Usually against Mike, that just can't happen. He'll beat you 99 percent of the time.

"Today I got pretty lucky from that standpoint. I just kept it in play on two holes that he didn't and that was the difference."

Barry managed par when he put it in the brush on No. 12 — not far from where he made a double eagle one year earlier.

He then dropped birdie putts of 12 and 2 feet on the next two holes to pull into a tie with White.

At the 15th, however, Barry went wide right, took a drop and a penalty for an unplayable lie and scratched his way to a working-man's bogey.

"You can get away with it if you're barely off the green stuff in the shorter tall grass out here," said Barry. "But if you're in the really tall stuff, it's tough."

Barry pulled back into a tie at No. 16 when White bogeyed after launching a greenside bunker shot over said green. Barry was next to him in the bunker and salvaged par.

White said there was too little sand in the bunker and he bounced his club into the ball, something he did in a practice round as well.

"Honestly, I didn't hit a bad shot," he said. "You've just got to be really precise, and I wasn't."

Barry felt the same way on his second shot on the par-5 16th. After a monstrous drive, he had about 225 yards in but couldn't hit the green.

"I'd love to have another chance at that shot," he said. "Jimmy gave me an opening there, and if I could have made birdie, it could have been a different story. But that's the way it goes."

Both parred No. 17, setting up the finish.

Barry was attempting to become the first repeat champion in 11 years.

White regained his amateur status a little more than a year ago and has devoted himself to getting in shape for competition.

"I'm just happy to be playing tournaments again and to be riding with my buddy all day," he said of Barry, with whom he shared a cart. "We had a great time out there. I enjoy the pressure. That's what I practice and play for. It was just a lot of fun."

White and Barry will be at it again. They'll be among the favorites when the Southern Oregon Golf Championships unfold at Rogue Valley Country Club Tuesday.

In the other divisions:

Clark, who had a hole-in-one in Saturday's opening round, birdied three of the first four holes on the back nine en route to a 74 and a 145 total, good for a two-shot victory over Steve Wood.

Seymour's 75 on Day 2 gave him a 148 total. He had one birdie, didn't make anything worse than bogey and edged Bob Harrell by two strokes.

Armitage fashioned her second straight round of 81, getting off to strong start by playing a stretch of seven holes, Nos. 2 through 8, in 1 over par. With a 162 total, she finished 10 shots ahead of runner-up Gayle Jantzer.

MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT — 1, Jimmy White 143; 2, Mike Barry 145; 3, J.T. Compher 148; 4, Don Gorman 152; 5, Troy Graves 153; 6, Eric Austad 155; 7, Maurisio Rayas 155; 8, Brad Bills 155.

MEN'S FIRST FLIGHT — Gross: 1, David Larosa 154; 2, Scott Overy 154; 3, Kevin Wu 157. Net: 1, Craig Knips 141; 2, D.L. Richardson 142; 3, Robert Holland 143.

MEN'S SECOND FLIGHT — Gross: 1, Matt McMillin 160; 2, Al Olson162; 3, Brian Edwards 165. Net: 1, Eric Hansen 138; 2, Jeff Hamlet 142; 3, Al Clark 146.

MEN'S SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT — Gross: 1, Glen Clark 145; 2, Steve Wood 147; 3, Jim Overmyer 149; 4, Kevin Klabunde 150, 5, Marshall Holman 151. Net: 1, Pat Daggitt 138; 2, Chris Littleton 139; 3, Steve Boldish 140; 4, Greg Miller 141; 5, Billy Crenshaw 142.

MEN'S SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT — Gross: 1, Dan Wayman 160; 2, Bill Donaldson 163; 3, Steve Josephson 168; 4, Mel Friend 169; 5, Ray Flansburg 169. Net: 1, Jan Ritter 139; 2, Jim Hatton 139; 3, Dan Fowler 142; 4, Bill Hymas 142; 5, Ken Weist 144.

MEN'S SUPER SENIOR FLIGHT — Gross: 1, Bill Seymour 148; 2, Bob Harrell 150; 3, Duane Nelson 151; 4, Craig Gage 154; 5, Buddy Grove 154. Net: 1, Denny Sweet 134; 2, Al Raduski 135; 3, Bill Doss 136; 4, Al Baham 136; 5, Rich Larsen 138.

WOMEN'S FLIGHT — Gross: 1, Tracie Armitage 162; 2, Gayle Jantzer 172; 3, Judy Johnson 173. Net: 1, Robin Snider 138; 2, Pamela Schepis 139; 3, Tonia Husel 143.

For full-field scores, KPs and long drives, visit www.centennialgolfclub.com

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

Jimmy White hits from bunker during the 2011 Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championship Sunday at Centennial Golf Club in Medford. Mail Tribune / Julia Moore - Julia Moore