Miller posts dramatic win in SOGC
Greg Miller won the super-senior championship flight of the Southern Oregon Golf Championships with a flair at Rogue Valley Country Club Monday.
The popular Medford retired dentist chipped in from about 30 feet on the 18th hole to close out Herman Holm of Stayton 1-up for Miller’s first title in that division and second crown overall.
In other men’s championship matches, Kevin Klabunde won his eighth overall title with a 2-and-1 victory over Eric Austad in the senior division and Steve Taormino of Grants Pass defeated Medford’s Bret Breeze, 6 and 5, for the junior-senior crown.
Daniele Giles defeated Aubrie Street, 6 and 4, in the women’s championship flight and Sandy Day won the senior women’s title, 3 and 2 over Alice Hunt.
Miller brought cheers from a group of friends and well wishers when his chip from the apron on the 520-yard, par-5 18th hole bounced about midway then slowly trickled down and fell into the cup.
“It took the pressure off making the putt,” said an elated Miller, who was facing the possibility of extra holes if he lost the 18th.
Holm, 72, had cut Miller’s lead to one with a par on the par-3, 189-yard 17th hole. Holm’s tee shot ended up 8 feet from the hole, while Miller’s drive came up short of the green. Then Miller’s chip went 6 feet past the hole.
Holm missed his putt but so did Miller. Holm’s putt, just inches from the hole, was conceded to put the match 1-up going into the final hole of regulation.
On the 18th, both players hit drives just about side-by-side on the fairway. Holm’s second shot went up the left rough under some trees short of the green. Miller did about the same but his shot went further and was green high with a clear view.
Holm hit a masterful low shot that carried to about 8 feet of the hole while Miller’s chip went too far and rolled on the apron above the hole. But Miller ended the match with his downhill birdie.
Miller, 67, won the junior-senior division in 2001. He played on the Medford High 1967 state championship golf team and went to the University of Oregon on a golf scholarship. Miller retired after practicing dentistry for 35 years.
“We were both either beautiful or ugly today,” said Miller. “I made seven birdies and almost lost.”
Holm, in his second try in the SOGC, was runner-up to George Mack in last year’s super-seniors.
“Miller had three chip-ins, he deserved to win,” said Holm. “He played a great game.”
Klabunde, the defending senior men’s champion, had to overcome putting difficulties to register his fifth win in seniors.
For Austad, 57, it was his first experience in a championship finals. The former Medford Mustangs pitching coach estimated this was his 12th SOGC appearance since joining the RVCC 20 years ago.
“I’m proud of myself for playing so well in the previous three rounds,” said Austad, who owns a flooring company in Ashland. “On Monday, that pressure stuff just might have got to me.”
Klabunde, 62, came to Ashland from Southern California in 1974 to go to Southern Oregon University and never left. The retired banker is getting closer to George Mack’s record 11 championship titles and at least one in each division.
Klabunde won the 2001 men’s title, junior-senior titles in 1996 and 1998 and other senior wins in 2009-2011.
Taormino won his second junior-senior championship in the last three years. Taormino, 47, charged out to a six-hole lead after the first nine of the 36-hole match against defending champion Breeze.
Breeze rallied to trail by two holes at the end of the first 18, but Taormino got off to a fast start on the next round.
“I got a couple right away, that was nice,” said Taormino, who lost to Breeze in last year’s semifinals. “I made the putts I needed to make when I needed to. I took advantage of my opportunities.”
Taormino, playing in his sixth SOGC, had just come off a victory in the Grants Pass Golf Club championship two weeks ago.
“The turning point for me was on Friday when I was down four with five holes to go and won five straight holes to win the match,” said Taormino.
In her first time in the SOGC, 2016 Crater High graduate Giles rolled to a 6-and-4 win over former St. Mary’s and Furman University golfer Aubrie Street in the women’s championship flight.
Giles, 18, went 3 up after the first of two 18-hole rounds.
“My chipping actually got me ahead in the first place today,” said Giles, the 2015 Class 5A girls golf state champion for the Comets. “From then on I played conservatively. I used a 3-wood on my drives to just play safe.”
Giles, who was born in Medford and now resides in Talent, exceeded her expectations.
“My goal was to make it to the last day,” she said. “I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself.”
Giles is the sixth different women’s champion over the past six years.
MEN'S REGULAR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Justin Wiles def. Mike Barry 1up
MEN'S REGULAR FIRST FLIGHT
Taylor Klemp def. Houston Knox 20th
MEN'S REGULAR SECOND FLIGHT
Mark Wilson def. Ryan Suvoy 3&2
MEN'S REGULAR THIRD FLIGHT
David Mayer def. Matt Johnson 1up
MEN'S REGULAR FOURTH FLIGHT
Lance Fowler def. Morgan Hawkins 3&2
MEN'S REGULAR FIFTH FLIGHT
Charles Day def. Josh Huffman 2up
MEN'S REGULAR SIXTH FLIGHT
Dylan Schwarm def. John Collondrez 1up
MEN'S REGULAR SEVENTH FLIGHT
Shawn Shumate def. Brian Murphy 1up
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Steve Taormino def. Bret Breeze 6&5
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT
Mark Hash def. Brooks Gard 5&3
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
David Card def. Craig Knips 1up
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT
Michael Bauer def. Kevin Jones 3&2
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
David Raff def. Greg Jacobs 1up
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT
Jad Dickson def. David Mettler 19th
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT
Todd Raduski def. Chris Adderson 2&1
MEN'S JUNIOR-SENIOR SEVENTH FLIGHT
Christian Carrigan def. Brian Sherrill 1up
MEN'S SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Kevin Klabunde def. Eric Austad 2&1
MEN'S SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT
Steven Wood def. Paul Gulick 4&3
MEN'S SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
Brian Adolph def. John DeMario 8&7
MEN'S SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT
Jeff Longtain def. Jerry Johnson 1up
MEN'S SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
Charlie Tissen def. Dave Orr 1up
MEN'S SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT
Faraon Bailey def. John Zupan 3&2
MEN'S SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT
Lance Hunter def. Buck Brigham 2&1
MEN'S SENIOR SEVENTH FLIGHT
Gary Mullican def. Jim Morris 2&1
MEN'S SENIOR EIGHTH FLIGHT
John Root def. Bill Allen 1up
MEN'S SENIOR NINTH FLIGHT
Ray Figueira def. Bob Kaczor 6&5
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Greg Miller def. Herman Holm 1up
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT
Ken Weist def. Rick Young 1up
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
Brent Orrico def. Tom Powley 20th
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT
John Brittain def. Don Mitchell 3&2
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
Ross Cooley def. Ron Primasing 7&6
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT
John Kruesi def. Chuck Kenney 2&1
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT
Jim Garrison def. Bob Doolen 1up
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR SEVENTH FLIGHT
Dick Entinger def. Mike Arant 19th
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR EIGHTH FLIGHT
George Parsons def. Jim Hauck 2&1
MEN'S SUPER-SENIOR NINTH FLIGHT
Sid Deboer def. Gordon Carrigan 4&3
WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Daniele Giles def. Aubrie Street 6&4
WOMEN'S FIRST FLIGHT
Anique Cummings def. Julia Tissen 1up
WOMEN'S SECOND FLIGHT
Mindy Cuttrell def. Leslie Gainey 3&1
WOMEN'S THIRD FLIGHT
Toni Doolen def. Tonia Waldron 4&3
SENIOR WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Sandy Day def. Alice Hunt 3&2
SENIOR WOMEN'S FIRST FLIGHT
Karen Fay def. Julie Schamanek 1up
SENIOR WOMEN'S SECOND FLIGHT
Dana Carrigan def. Susan Stringer 3&2
SENIOR WOMEN'S THIRD FLIGHT
Vicki Moffatt def. Tamara Waddell 5&3
Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org