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Wortman shines with 66 in SOGC return

Bryce Wortman remembers the first time he played in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships.

The then-16-year-old from Klamath Falls was paired against Jimmy White, a former University of Oregon and professional player, in the quarterfinals of the men’s regular division.

“It was really cool,” said Wortman, who made a return visit Wednesday to the 91st annual event at Rogue Valley Country Club and captured medalist honors.

“I’m used to playing junior events,” he recalled, “and having my parents and maybe a couple other parents watching us, and there were probably 200 people there, maybe more. It was awesome and something I’d never experienced before, so it was really cool. That’s why I’m coming back.”

That year, 2014, the Mazama High student pulled off a shocking, 2-and-1 victory over White — who days earlier fired a 60 to set the tournament qualifying record and match the course mark.

Wortman’s run ended in the semifinals, and a year later he didn’t get past the quarters. He hadn’t been back since because of college commitments. He’ll be a redshirt senior and one of the top players at San Jose State this year.

Wortman is able to play because COVID-19 has shut down most college athletics.

“It’s one of the blessings of the cancellation of the fall season,” he said. “I get to come and play in this event again. I played the course a bunch growing up and always heard about how cool of an event it was.”

Wortman, with a secret weapon for a caddie — his mother, Angie — cruised around the Rogue Course during stroke-play qualifying with a 6-under 66 as out-of-town men and all women took the grounds for the first time.

Match play begins Thursday and continues through the championship matches on Monday.

Wortman was among four Wednesday qualifiers to surpass Tuesday leader Bryce Stiemert’s 72. Gerry Snyder came in with a 69; Mayson Tibbs, last year’s runner-up, shot 70, and Kevin Geniza fired a 71.

In the women’s division, Baylee Hammericksen was medalist with a 1-under 72. She was followed by three former champions, Trina Jones and Stephanie Johns with 74s and Terry Levis at 75.

In men’s junior-senior, Greg Findley shot a 72 Wednesday to overtake a pair of locals, Bret Breeze and Jake Rockwell, for medalist.

In men’s senior, Billy Anderson and Erick Doolen shot 76 and 78, respectively. Kevin Klabunde was medalist with a 66 Tuesday.

In men’s super senior, Bruce Hart and David Orr led the way with 79s. Marshall Holman’s 71 on Tuesday led the field.

In men’s legends, George Mack posted a 74, edging Al Raduski, who qualified a day earlier, by one shot for top honors.

Wortman had nary a care over the first nine holes, knocking the ball close and making five birdies to craft a 31 at the turn. A couple of blips slowed his progress before a birdie-eagle surge late in the round.

“I normally make a lot of putts in rounds like today,” said Wortman, who hit six approach shots within 10 feet in the first eight holes and made five of the putts.

He three-putted 10 for a bogey, which he found “kind of weird. I usually don’t three-putt, around these greens especially. I don’t know why, but I just have a really good feel for them.”

Another bogey came at the par-5 12th, when he had to chip out from behind a tree, hit his third shot to a greenside bunker and still nearly made a 9-foot par putt.

“That was kind of the catalyst for the round,” Wortman said of holes 10 and 12. “It woke me up a little bit. It was like, all right, I’ve got to finish this round off. I can’t limp in.”

After a birdie at 15, his caddie, Angie, gave him one more club on the par-5 16th than he wanted. His second shot clipped a branch and still settled within 6 feet of the hole, resulting in an eagle.

Angie Wortman was on the bag only because fans weren’t allowed due to the coronavirus.

“Mom was really upset when I told her she had to push the bag because there’s no spectators,” said Bryce, “so she had to caddie It was a very good display of caddying.”

Hammericksen, coming off a championship in the city tournament, had a relatively nondescript trip around RVCC.

The 18-year-old made birdies at Nos. 2, 8 and 10, her longest putt of the bunch 8 feet. She had a couple bogeys at 6 and 16.

“It was all right,” said the senior-to-be at St. Mary’s. “I feel like it was a little on the flatter side. I had lots of putts that were burning the edges and that sort of thing, so I was trying to tell myself I’m saving those putts for the matches. But as far as a qualifying round goes, I’m not disappointed.”

She didn’t have expectations as far as scoring goes, she said, and didn’t press.

“If I could be patiently aggressive,” said Hammericksen, “don’t force the birdies and wait for them to come, then I’d be happy.”

She played in the tournament a couple years ago for the first time.

“I feel like my game has grown a lot since I last played,” said Hammericksen. “I think just staying patient is going to be a big thing for me, staying focused, staying in the moment. I think as long as I can do those things, I’ll at least make it pretty far.”

Tournament scoring can be followed on golfgenius.com with the sign-in code of SOGC2020.

SOGCQUALIFYING

MEN’S REGULAR

Bryce Wortman 66, Gerry Snyder 69, Mayson Tibbs 70, Kevin Geniza 71, Cole Weinhold 72, Franke Tyler 72, David Murphy 73, Jared Charbonneau 73, Ethan DeVore 73, Joey Rossknecht 73, Chris Polski 74, Joshua Wu 75, Evan McArthur II 75, Seth Walters 76, Craig Ronne 77, Tannon Rounsaville 77, Jimmy Kelley 77, Doug Reese 77, Preston Luckman 78, Craig Smith 78, Jonathan Purtzer 79, Jeremy Henson 81, Ian Norgan 81, Matthew Dachowski 82, Benjamin Purtzer 83, Tyler Arnsberg 85, Kyle Oldfield 85, Andrew Curiel IV 89, Brandon Chun 91, Owen Stark 95, Scott Mettler 95, Anthony Marquez 95, Nicholas Jones 95, Collin Krueger 96, Ryan Nicols 98, Henry Jones 99, Scott Sterton 101.

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR

Greg Findley 72, Paul Weinhold 75, Ted Stark 76, Jim Mansfield 77, Steve Taormino 80, Richard Owens 80, Jeff Roberts 81, Todd Dixon 81, Scott Knight 82, Randy Croucher 82, Erik Pederson 84, Jonathan Stark 87, Kevin Jones 88, Jim Retzlaff 91, Frank Baracao 93, Josh Godfrey 93, Dean Kinney 99, Jad Dickson 104, Joe Hunter 107, Tim Price 109.

MEN’SSENIOR

Billy Anderson 76, Erick Doolen 78, Ken VanDaam 79, Sam Presley 80, Rich Mettler 80, Larry Conkings 81, Eric Hansen 81, Tom Pepple 81, Jim Collman 82, Anthony Marquez 82, Joel Jessel 83, Todd Knapp 85, Lance Hunter 87, Brooks Gard 88, Michael Schoeder 90, Armando Sanchez 92, Dave Mettler 92, Ron Merryman 94, Curt Bennett 94, Tom Mayer 102.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR

Bruce Hart 79, David Orr 79, John Dunkin 82, Tom Powley 82, Willie Milimuka 83, Chuck Kenney 86, Scott Mayfield 87, Ken Weist 87, John Burtis 90, Jim Dankworth 90, Ross Cooley 91, Steven Skinner 94, Roger Peck 94, Steve Polus 95, Steven Simonson 99, Scott Swendiman 99, Henry Burgoyne 100, David Major 100, Lael Collins 102, George Parsons 102.

LEGENDS

George Mack 74, Mike Simmons 78, James Thomason 82, Dodd Samuel 84, David Mansfield 88, Bruce McDonald 92, David Rasmussen 98.

WOMEN’S

Johnna Nealy 71,Baylee Hammericksen 72, Trina Jones 74, Stephanie Johns 74, Terry Levis 75, Laura Rommes 79, Payton Canon 79, Linda Johnson 80, Genna Mettler 82, Sandy Day 83, Marla Parmele 84, LaVone Kirkwood 85, Lyndsey Crosier 86, Kirsten Reed 86, Toni Doolen 86, Carolyn Turner 87, Sue Hunter 87, Melinda Heiner 88, Leslie Gainey 88, Mindy Cuttrell 88, Toni Watkins 88, Candy Burtis 90, Dana Carrigan 90, Francie Bostwick 91, Barb Pinkham 92, Sandra Medaris 93, Deb Stuart 93, Mindy Ferris 94, Jane Conrad 94, Diane Plotts 96, Pam Schepis 97, Jan Hughes 99, Annette VanDaam 99, Cathy Trower 100, Deborah Martin 100, Julie Schamanek 101, Tonia Waldron 101, Jeanne Lambson 102, Cindy Cravens 102, Laurel Kiichli 102, Deanna St. Martin 103, Macy Aguirre 105, Darla Allen 106, Judy Brown 107, Fawn Jones 109, Shelli Bates 113, Molly Mettler 115, Carolyn Collins 117.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or ttrower@rosebudmedia.com

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