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Weinhold enjoys triumphant return to SOGC

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Paul Weinhold finished his round of golf, then did the math.

It had nothing to do with the score he shot, rather, he tried to figure out how long it had been since he last played in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at Rogue Valley Country Club.

The former Medford High golf standout, who lives in Eugene, returned this year with his son, Cole, for the 91st event, and each won their matches on Friday to advance to the weekend.

“A lot of people say, ‘How long has it been,’” said Weinhold, who helped the Black Tornado to state championships in 1980 and ‘81, the middle portion of a four-year stretch of titles. “And, geez, 25 years. Holy cow, so I’ve been back once in 25 years. I can’t believe that. It’s frightening to actually think that.”

Weinhold captured the men’s regular crown in 1995, played in the SOGC one more year, then didn’t return until 2014, when he took the junior-senior first flight.

Now, he’s back and winning again.

Weinhold, in the junior-senior, defeated Mike Snowden, 6 and 5, in the first round of match play for their division on the Rogue Course Friday. The No. 7 seed in the bracket, Weinhold plays No. 2 Greg Findley, the qualifying medalist, in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

In other junior-senior matches, defending champion Johnny Mansfield topped Todd Dixon, 1 up, and Steve Taormino, who won four championships in the division from 2014-18, downed Todd Couch, 2 and 1.

In the men’s championship, Cole Weinhold downed Jimmy Kelley, 4 and 3. Medalist Bryce Wortman was a 7-and-6 winner over Evan McArthur II, and locals Jeremy and Josh Wu each posted triumphs. Wortman faces Jeremy Wu in the quarterfinals Saturday.

In a high-powered match of former college teammates, Kevin Geniza toppled Craig Ronne, 2 and 1.

In men’s senior, the semifinals Saturday were set, pitting Kevin Klabunde against Billy Anderson and Marty Morlan against Craig Knips.

In men’s super senior, the semifinals for Sunday were established. Bob Dickey will face Terry Smith, and Glen Clark takes on Greg Miller.

In the men’s legends semifinals Saturday, defending champion George Mack faces Mike Simmons and Al Raduski plays Larry Garvin.

Matches continue through Monday’s championships.

For the past 25 years, family and work obligations prevented Weinhold from considering a trip south for the Labor Day tourney. He’s the president and CEO of the University of Oregon Foundation and is usually attending a college football game on this weekend.

“So I just got out of the habit of coming here,” said the former Duck golfer.

Weinhold’s parents live in Medford, and he and his son decided a month or so ago to play.

“It’s always fun,” said Paul Weinhold. “It’s fun to be back here, it’s fun to see people I haven’t seen in a long time.”

A member at Eugene Country Club, he elevated his competitive schedule when he turned 55 a couple years ago and became eligible for Oregon Golf Association senior events. He had a top-10 finish in the Oregon Stroke Play Championships this summer.

“It takes a while to get used to the competition,” he said.

Weinhold seemed right at home against Snowden, making three birdies and one bogey over 13 holes.

“I just didn’t make any mistakes and putted pretty well,” said Weinhold, “and my opponent got off to kind of a rocky start. It wasn’t like he put pressure on me. I mean, he’s a great guy and we had fun, but I felt really solid, really good about my game today. Who knows what happens tomorrow?”

The matchup between Geniza and Ronne was one that could have taken place deeper into the tournament. Geniza just finished his career at Oregon, and Ronne will be a junior for the Ducks.

Corvallis resident Geniza, who has won the past two Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships but is making his debut this week in the SOGC, was seeded fourth and Ronne 20th after a rough qualifying round.

“I knew all along, like before we started, I would have to bring my best game,” said Geniza. “I played with him for a couple years for Casey (Oregon coach Martin), and he’s had some really good tournaments. He’s a really solid player so, yeah, it was a good match today.”

Geniza started fast with a 1-foot eagle putt on No. 1 on the Rogue Course, then dropped a 12-foot par putt at No. 2 moments before Ronne missed a 5-footer for birdie.

“I think that got my round going,” said Geniza.

He was 4 under at the turn and had a two-hole edge.

Ronne closed it to 1 down when Geniza’s tee shot on No. 12 went out of bounds, but the former could get no closer.

Geniza missed short birdie putts at 14 and 15, then went 2 up with another eagle on the par-5 16th. His 135-yard wedge to the green settled 8 feet from the cup.

“I just hit that drive as hard as I could,” he laughed.

They halved 17 with pars to end the match.

“I felt like I was in control most of the day,” said Geniza. “I was just applying pressure off the tee and hitting good shots into the greens. When I missed a green, I was getting up and down, all the low hanging fruit.”

Geniza, who faces St. Mary’s High senior-to-be Bryce Stiemert in the quarterfinals Saturday, had planned to attend the European Tour Qualifying School at this time, but COVID-19 forced postponement until next year.

He expects to turn pro in January and remain in Corvallis and sharpen his game.

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

SOGC FRIDAY matches

MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Bryce Wortman def. Evan McArthur II 7&6, Jeremy Wu def. David Murphy 3&2, Kevin Geniza def. Craig Ronne 2&1, Bryce Steimert def. Tannon Rounsaville 1 up, Joshua Wu def. Gerry Snyder 6&5, Ethan DeVore def. Preston Luckman 4&3, Chris Polski def. Travis Campoy 3&2, Cole Weinhold def. Jimmy Kelley 4&3.

MEN’S FIRST FLIGHT

Matt Preston def. Seth Walters 1 up, Alex Jacobberger def. Ryan Girodat 5&4, Ryan Suvoy def. Jordan Highland 1 up, Joey Rossknecht def. Mark McUne 3&1, Taylor Klemp def. Jonathon Purtzer 1 up, Tyler Franke def. Doug Reese 4&3, Mayson Tibbs def. Justin Wise 5&4, Jared Charbonneau def. Craig Smith 4&2.

MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Johnny Mansfield def. Todd Dixon 1 up, Jim Mansfield def. Ted Stark 1 up, Richard Owens def. Bret Breeze 1 up, Todd Couch def. Steve Taormino 2&1, Greg Findley def. Jeff Roberts 4&2, Paul Weinhold def. Mike Snowden 6&5, David Cuttrell def. Brandon Crosier 1 up.

MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT

James Russell def. Jonathon Stark 1 up, Scott Knight def. Kevin Jones 1 up, Erik Pederson def. Ralph Wallis 1 up, Larry Miller def. Jason Rowan 5&4, Todd Ostenson def. Benny Shapiro 1 up, Randy Croucher def. Milo Smith 4&2, Jeff Morgan def. Joe Davis 2&1, Joe Bowles def. Jim Retzlaff 6&4.

MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT

Kevin Primerano def. Tim Price 4&3, Michael Burrill def. Josh Godfrey 4&3, Ron Stranahan def. Jad Dickson 5&4, Ceasar Espino def. Phillip Smith 4&3, Mike Walker def. Joe Hunter 3&2, Scott VanWey def. Frank Baracao 2 up, Jason Miller def. James Figueroa 4&2, Chris DuFour def. Dean Kinney 1 up.

MEN’S SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Kevin Klabunde def. John Justin 1 up, Billy Anderson def. Eric Austad 5&4, Marty Morlan def. Mark Wilson 1 up, Craig Knips def. Bob Hyer 1 up.

MEN’S SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT

Stan Presley def. Jerry Quast 19th, Dave Card def. Phillip Heiner 1 up, Evan McArthur def. Russ Batzer 1 up, Erick Doolen def. Ken VanDaam 2&1.

MEN’S SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT

Kevin Dixon def. Brooks Gard 1 up, Tom Pepple def. J. Kenneth Stringer 2 up, Anthony Marquez def. Larry Conkings 3&2, Jim Collman def. Tim Trower 1 up.

MEN’S SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT

Rich Mettler def. Randy Rupert 1 up, Brian Adolph def. Todd Knapp 1 up, Joel Jessel def. Lance Hunter 1 up, Eric Hansen def. Alex Mann 1 up.

MEN’S SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT

Eric Artner def. Curt Bennett 1 up, Carl Wolfe def. Mark Weiss 1 up, Dave Mettler def. Dennie Conrad 1 up, Michael Schoeder def. Armando Sanchez 1 up.

MEN’S SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT

Tom Mayer def. Greg Wojtal 19th, Gibb Mitchell def. Jeff Proulx 6&5, John Sellers def. Ron Merryman 3&2, Bruce Mendelson def. Craig Schumacher 5&4, .

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Bob Dickey def. Jerry Eklund 3&2, Terry Smith def. Chris Littleton 4&3, Glen Clark def. David Allen 3&2, Greg Miller def. Bruce Hart 1 up.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT

Marshall Holman def. Paul Reynolds 4&3, David Orr def. John Robinson 4&3, Glenn Hartzheim def. Dan Dixon 2&1, David George def. Billy Crenshaw 1 up.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT

John Leuthold def. Dick Brekke 1 up, Patrick Daggitt def. John Dunkin 1 up, Kelly Brown def. Jim Bacigalupi 2&1, Bill Wells def. Michael Miller 1 up.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT

Willie Milimuka def. Gary Smith 4&3, Larry Butler def. Arthur Aviles 1 up, Chuck Kenney def. Michael Goldman 2 up, Steve Ballback def. Tom Powley 5&4.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT

John Zupan def. Tony Nieto 2&1, Scott Mayfield def. Brian Gross 1 up, Gary Bates def. Wayne Van Wey 4&3, Ken Weist def. Ross Cooley 3&2.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT

John Burtis def. John Kruesi 1 up, Steven Skinner def. Jim Dankworth 1 up, Eugene Miller def. Mel Friend 2 up, Roger Peck def. John Liston 4&3.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT

Alex Romanowsky def. George Parsons 8&7, Thomas Michaels def. Jim Hatton 1 up, Scott Swendiman def. Mark Pagan 1 up, Steve Warrington def. Dan Kosmatka 1 up.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR SEVENTH FLIGHT

Steven Simonsen def. Darrell Flora Sr. 5&3, Henry Burgoyne def. David Major 2 up, Lael Collins def. Tom Urby 4&3, Steve Polus def. Stephan Alexander 6&5.

LEGENDARY MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

George Mack Sr. def. Tom Hamlin 1 up, Mike Simmons def. Bob Harrell 6&5, Al Raduski def. James Thomason 3&2, Larry Garvin def. Bruce Van Zee 2&1.

LEGENDARY MEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Dood Samuel def. Al Carlson 6&4, David Mansfield def. Sid DeBoer 1 up, Bruce McDonald def. Ron Dixon 20th, Len Merryman def. dar Wolber 1 up.

LEGENDARY MEN’S FOURTH FLIGHT

Alex Bellen def. Warren Parke 1 up, Michael Trovato def. John Ferris 19th, Rich Karchmer def. John Maurer 2 up, Robert Hutchins def. David Rasmussen 1 up

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

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune - Chris Polski tees off the 4th hole.
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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune - Mike Snowden chips onto the 2nd green Friday at the Rogue Valley Country Club.
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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune - Paul Weinhold tees off on the third hole Friday at the Rogue Valley Country Club.
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