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Crenshaw pulls off upset in SOGC

Billy Crenshaw has been on both ends of upsets in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships.

He was on the preferred side during Thursday’s opening day of match play in the 85th annual event at Rogue Valley Country Club.

Crenshaw, of Medford, rode a hot putter on the back nine and dispatched men’s senior division medalist Kim Cushing, of Grants Pass, 2 and 1.

Afterwards, Crenshaw shared a story with Crenshaw about beating a medalist one year in an opening match, then becoming medalist the following year and losing his first head-to-head battle.

“Sometimes that happens,” said Crenshaw, who spent a quarter-century in the golf industry in sales and consulting.

In other men’s senior matches, defending champion Mark Wilson defeated Gene Allred, 5 and 4; and Brad Bills, a former champion in the men's regular and junior-senior, won his first match in the division, 5 and 4 over Vaughn Schneider.

Another high seed fell in the men's junior-senior, when No. 1 Don Gorman, of Sammamish, Wash., lost to Duke DeBernardi, of Scottsdale, Ariz., 3 and 2. Gorman was trying to become the first to win three straight titles in the division in 26 years.

Other winners in the division included former champions Kevin Klabunde, 8 and 6 over Mark Laurance; and Ken Stringer, 1 up over Kelly Owen.

In the men’s regular, the top players cruised through. Three-time defending champion Kevin Murphy downed Seth Walters, 2 and 1; medalist Jimmy White defeated Jon Robinson, 1 up; and Mike Barry and Ryan Hawkins each cruised to 6 and 5 wins.

In the men’s super senior, defending champion Bob Maentz topped Michael Miller, 1 up, and three-time winner George Mack beat Chuck Kenney, 2 and 1.

In women’s play, Terry Levis, last year's winner, tripped Lindsey Crosier, 1 up; and recent two-time winner Kelly Loeb defeated LeeAnn Loftin, 1 up.

Cushing shot a 1-under-par 71 on Wednesday to earn medalist honors. The day before, Crenshaw qualified with an 81.

But the latter has been around long enough to know each day is different.

“In match play,” he said, “I knew I wasn’t out of it even though I didn’t play well (in qualifying). The big deal was to stay calm and keep the ball in play and try to give myself a chance. I knew if I could stay close to him and get my putter to get hot, I could do something on the back nine.”

What he did was shoot 2 under on his final eight holes, making birdies at Nos. 10, 12, 14 and 16.

Crenshaw has played only nine rounds since October, he said, in part because he was burned out and in part because of a foot injury. But he didn’t want to miss the SOGC.

His short game showed no ill effects.

“I was a little fortunate today,” he said. “When I got in trouble, I got up and down all day.”

Crenshaw had a 2-up lead for about half of the front nine, but Cushing went ahead on the ninth.

On the 10th, Crenshaw’s drive ricocheted off a brick wall on the left side. He then launched an 8-iron over trees to within 6 feet and made birdie.

He had a speedy downhill putt of more than 15 feet that found the cup on No. 14.

He went 2 up on No. 16, then won when Cushing three-putted the 17th for a halve with bogeys.

“With as good a player as he is and as consistent as he is,” said Crenshaw, “I knew if I could get a little bit ahead, I could put some heat on him and give myself a chance. That’s all I tried to do.”

Crenshaw, who next faces Jerry Eklund, a 1-up winner over Brian Adolph, is in search of his first victory in the championship flight. He’s made it as far as the semifinals. However, he's lost his first two matches the past couple years.

“I just want to keep going,” he said.

Men's Championship Flight

Kevin Murphy d. Seth Walters 2 & 1, David Mayer d. J.T. Compher 1 up, Noah Brooks d. Taylor Klemp 2 up, Matthew Bilyeu d. Mark Mason 3 & 2, Craig Smith d. Mark Wilson 7 & 6, Montana Frame d. Maurisio Rayas 2 & 1, Alex Street d. Alex Hobson 19th, Taylor Garbutt d. Tom Avalon 3 & 1, Jimmy White III d. Jon Robinson 1 up, Joey Rossknecht d. Erik Pederson 19th, Bryce Wortman d. Ryan Schaefer 2 & 1, Alex Brown d. David Murphy 2 up, Ryan Hawkins d. Bret Breeze 6 & 5, Cody Stoffel d. Dave Cuttrell 3 & 2, Mike Barry d. Trevor Telford 6 & 5, Brandon Crosier d. Jay Klemp 19th.

Men's Second Flight

Sam Garner d. Jack Bell 2 & 1, Jason Caplan d. Cole Weinhold 1 up, Michael Payne d. Brandon Chun 5 & 4, Tom Leavens d. Eric Englebach 2 up, Justin Azevedo d. Brian Smith 3 & 2, Jon Portz d. Adam Huycke 5 & 4, Joey Walker d. Justin Fish 2 up, Logan Artner d. Justin Wise 19th.

Men's Fourth Flight

Tyler Thompson d. Scott Lewis 1 up, Nick Malone d. Mark McUne 1 up, Johnny Cutright d. Ryan Mateson 1 up, Matt Eschenbacher d. John DeMario 1 up, Bryan Wheelock d. Chase Schumacher 1 up, Scott Moore d. Ryan Kantor 1 up, Jake Rockwell d. Jonathan Purtzer 22th, Cody Stover d. Spencer Frantz 6 & 5.

Men's Sixth Flight

Eric Ford d. Dave Hanson 1 up, Matt Stringer d. Chris Norlander 19th, Jordan Anderson d. Mitchell Reagles 3 & 2, Jack Singleton d. Dave Mettler 7 & 6, Joe Bowles d. Charles Day 3 & 1, Tim Shaw d. Scott Parke 6 & 5, Darrell Flora d. Matt Miller 1 up, Keith Lallo d. Brandt Cullen 1 up.

Men's Eighth Flight

Rick Buchler d. Steve Mast 3 & 2, Morgan Hawkins d. Jim Stormo 6 & 4, Dylan Schwarm d. Jad Dickson 1 up, Jim Corbett d. Scott Sterton 4 & 3, Brian Wilson d. Shane MacLauchlan 7 & 5, Tanner Lawton d. Mike Running 1 up, Jason Hanlin d. Joe Salamone 1 up, Collin Krueger d. Jeremy Ross 7 & 6.

Men's Junior-Senior Championship Flight

Duke DeBernardi d. Don Gorman 3 & 2, Joel Jessel d. Michael Riley 1 up, Bobby Foote d. Mark Weiss 4 & 3, Brent Barr d. Dave Card 5 & 4, Ken Stringer d. Kelly Owen 1 up, David Kaplan d. Kevin Wu 1 up, Robert Neff d. Eric Austad 21st, Kevin Klabunde d. Mark Laurance 8 & 6, John Justin d. Jeff Barry 1 up, Timothy O’Brian d. Todd Dixon 2 up, David Culbertson d. Paul Weinhold 3 & 2, Dan Westbrook d. Anthony Kelly 1 up, Tom Pepple d. Todd Ostenson 1 up, Marty Morlan d. Keith Dierkes 1 up, Richard Owens d. Jim Mansfield 1 up.

Men's Senior Championship Flight

Mark Wilson d. Gene Allred 5 & 4, Tom Powley d. Bill Wells 1 up, Mike Finnell d. Steve Lovich 19th.

Men's Senior Second Flight

Norm Veronneau d. Scott Ashpole 4 & 3, David Orr d. Robert Tennent 3 & 2, Kenny Weist d. Edwin Brown 1 up, Paul Reynolds d. Gary Sterton 1 up, Brian Odell d. Ron Lewis 3 & 2, Doug Engle d. John Buda 1 up, Terry Faulkner d. Patrick Daggitt 1 up.

Men's Senior Fourth Flight

Evan McArthur d. Doug Hartley 2 & 1, Gary Glass d. John Zupan 1 up, John Lawton d. Jeff Blum 1 up, Tim Trower d. Jerry Sessions 2 & 1, Don Mitchell d. Arthur Aviles 4 & 3, James Mulhall d. Neil Smith 4 & 2, OJ Endicott d. Pete Kratz 20th, Scott Swendiman d. Greg Stormberg 1 up.

Men's Senior Eighth Flight

Allen James d. Scott Lubich 1 up, Ronald Moore d. Chris Carrigan 19th, Alex Bellen d. John George 6 and 5, Craig Schumacher d. Bob Glover 3 & 2, Michael Jones d. Steve Switzer 5 & 4, Frank Lucas d. Kevin Aguirre 20th, Mike Stewart d. Dan Kosmatka 1 up, James Parsley d. Lee Frontier 5 & 4.

Men's Super Senior Championship Flight

Bob Maentz d. Michael Miller 1 up, Bob Harrell d. John Kruesi 2 & 1, Terry Anderson d. Bill Drewien 2 & 1, Jon Woodson d. Ron Howard 1 up, Doug Olson def, Jim Garrison 4 & 3, Gregory Miller d. Tom Hamlin 2 & 1, Dan Dixon d. Marvin Gribble 3 and 2, George Mack d. Chuck Kenney 2 & 1.

Men's Super Senior Fourth Flight

Harvey Myers d. Alan Vogel 3 & 2, Doug Heatherington d. Jon Quincy 6 & 5, Michael Goldman d. Larry Schmaltz 4 & 3, Dodd Samuel d. Ed Olson 4 & 3, David Mansfield d. Michael Armitage 19th,Bob Crews d. Bruce McDonald 1 up, Stephen Warrington d. Tom Riley 1 up, Jerry Rohns d. Dick Entinger 2 & 1.

Men's Super Senior Sixth Flight

Bob Doolen d. Pat O’Brien 2 & 1, Warren Parke d. Conrad Caprez 4 & 3, Robert Methvin d. David Runyon 1 up, Gary Jones d. Michael Trovato 1 up, Mike Jantzer d. James Quinn 4 & 2, Garth Harrington d. Mark Fawver 2 & 1, Ralph Perry d. David, Rasmussen 3 & 2, Ron Dixon d. John Root 1 up.

Men's Super Senior Eighth Flight

Joe Warnick d. Phil Gossner 3 & 2, Bob Hutchins d. Raymond Smith 2 up, Wendell Towe d. Robert Given 1 up, George Parsons d. Dwight Samuel 1 up, Tom Watson d. Roger Campuzano 8 & 7, Jan C. Garner d. Tom Aubachon 1 up, Bill Replogle d. Donald Young 2 up, Peter Puljan d. Tom Barry 1 up.

Women's Championship Flight

Terry Levis d. Lindsey Crosier 1 up, Calista Crenshaw d. Tracie Armitage 1 up, Amanda Nealy d. Tina Blum 3 & 2, Kelly Loeb d. LeeAnn Loftin 1 up, Rosie Cook d. Annette Van Daam 1 up, Reena Bernardo d. Melinda Heiner 3 & 2, Jessica Young d. Laura Rommes 3 & 2, Trina Jones d. Christina Phelps 2 & 1.

Women's Second Flight

Lori Humphrey d. Jennifer Finnell 1 up, Cortney Hall d. Mindy Johnston 4 & 3, Tammie Allen d. Tonia Waldron 1 up, Dana Carrigan d. Bridgette Griffen 1 up, Toni Doolen d. Teresa Barry 5 & 4, Julia Tissen d. Genna Mettler 4 & 3, Michele Rostron d. Barb Stormo 3 & 2, Marnie Binney d. Cathy Trower 1 up.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4376, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com