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Todd Couch leads top seeds to open SOGC match play

Ex-women’s champions Trina Jones and Johnna Nealy set for quarterfinals showdown

All top seeds prevailed in the opening round of match play at the 92nd annual Southern Oregon Golf Championships, and a number of lower seeds pulled off upsets to also advance Thursday at Rogue Valley Country Club.

Medford’s Todd Couch did not enter in qualifying stroke play, but as the defending champion in the men’s junior-senior, he reclaimed his No. 1 seed going into Thursday. He then pulled out a win on the 11th hole over No. 32 seed Alan Peterson for an early exit to his day.

Couch will next face Jeff Morgan, who defeated Larry Miller, 1 up.

“I’m playing really well, hitting the ball well ... that’s what it takes to win it,” said Couch, who noted the strategy to take an extra day of rest will be key for the long weekend.

“It’s all about strategy and best laid plans.”

In the men’s regular, four-time champion Mike Barry, who shot a 66 in qualifying Wednesday, edged No. 32 seed Travis Brink, 1 up. On the 18th hole, Barry hit a long drive down the left side, off of the fairway, and his subsequent approach shot landed within a few feet of the hole. Brink was unable to make a potential tying putt to send the match to extra holes.

All top seeds advanced in the championship flights, including Kevin Klabunde in the men’s senior, Bob Dickey in the men’s super senior and Payton Canon in the women’s championship. The men’s legends begins today.

However, the brackets were far from all chalk.

Completing upsets in the men’s regular were No. 24 seed Oliver Ausland over No. 9 Gerry Snyder, 1 up; No. 21 Michael Leonard over No. 12 Edward Smith, 4&3; No. 27 Jacob Henderson over No. 6 Charlie Tran on the 19th hole; and No. 23 Jordan Jacobs over No. 10 Braden Shipley, also coming down to the 19th hole.

On the playoff at the No. 1 hole, Jacobs recovered from an iron shot into the bunker left of the green and was able to defeat Shipley, who had to battle out of the trees left of the fairway following his tee shot.

The men’s junior-senior had the most upsets of any flight. They included No. 25 Bryan White over No. 8 John Pollok, 2&1; No. 24 Jeff Barry over No. 9 Morgan Hawkins, 1 up; No. 20 Mike Vanderhoff over No. 13 Bryan Wheelock, 1 up; No. 21 Trevor Telford over No. 12 Justin Wise, 1 up; No. 18 Johnny Mansfield over No. 15 Mark McUne, 2&1; No. 26 Russell Horn over No. 7 Matt Eschenbacher, 2&1; No. 23 Mike Snowden over No. 10 Bret Breeze, 1 up; and in the second-to-last group of the day, No. 19 Brandon Crosier defeated No. 14 Omer Kern, 1 up.

In the men’s senior, John Justin drained a clutch putt on the 18th hole to defeat third-seeded Rick Dollarhide, 1 up. Lee Oltjenbruns, who finished second to Klabunde at last weekend’s Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships in the men’s senior, entered as a No. 10 seed but defeated Brent Barr, 2&1.

In the women’s championship flight, seven of eight favorites won, with the exception being Laura Rommes defeating fifth-seeded Carolynn Turner, 2 up.

There was also some late drama between Trina Jones and Stephanie Johns, two regular standouts in the tournament. Jones missed the green on her approach shot, but was able to maneuver a difficult downhill chip and make a putt to force a playoff before she won on the 20th hole.

Jones, a two-time SOGC champion, will draw No. 2 seed Johnna Nealy, a three-time winner of the tournament, in what figures to be another memorable showdown. The two faced off in the 2019 finals, where Nealy prevailed, and also in 2018, which Jones won en route to the title.

Tournament scoring can be followed on golfgenius.com with the sign-in code SOGC2021.

SOUTHERN OREGON GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS

Thursday results as of press time

MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Mike Barry def Travis Brink 1 up, Mayson Tibbs def Calvin Maready 5&4, R.O. Gamez def Henry Jones 7&6, Oliver Ausland def Gerry Snyder 1 up, Joey Rossknecht def Benjamin Purtzer 5&4, Jordan Highland def Matthew Preston 19th, Travis Campoy def Kristopher Kaufman 1 up, Michael Leonard def Edward Smith 4&3, Preston Luckman def. Jonathon Purtzer 7&6, Ethan DeVore def. Danny Angelucci 3&2, Mark Wilson JR def Michael Wurzell 20th, Jordan Jacobs def. Braden Shipley 19th, Chris Polski def. Seth Walter 5&4, Ryan Suvoy def. Scott Okon 1 up, Charlie Tran def. Jacob Henderson 5&4, Cameron Smith def. Garrett Doolen 1 up

MEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Scott Fieber def. Jeshua Buchanan 5&4, Chase Schumacher def. Scott Mettler 3&2, Taylor Klemp def. Jacob Gooding 1 up, Richard Ferguson def. Ryan Mitchell 4&3

MEN’S FOURTH FLIGHT

Cruz Kilborn def. Jim Corbett 5&4, Isaac Rolie def. Levi Daily 1 up, Jordan Anderson def. Austin Stack 1 up, Dustin Wallace def. Dalton Pfau 2&1, Jeremiah Paladino def. Ian Norgan 6&5, Alex Brown def. Jeremy Henson 4&3, Kos Ray def. Jason Hanlin 3&2, Craig Contreras def. Matthew Cuellar 1 up

MEN’S SIXTH FLIGHT

Matt Stranahan def. Ben Mertens 7&6, Timothy Wiedrich def. Kevin Biggs 3&2, Charles Walker def. Brian Findlay and 1 up, Matthew Dachowski def. Adam Reed 3&2, Jim Bennett def. Dallin George 4&3, Garren Pedemonte def. Jimmy Ulrey 3&2, Jake Valentine def. Ryan Nichols 4&3, Casey Swendiman def. Travis Sanders 9&8

MEN’S EIGHTH FLIGHT

Beau Bodenski def. Jensen Mettler 7&6, Christopher Ellis def Matthew Miller 1 up, Connor Lambert def. Collin Krueger 4&3, William Haug def. Ceasar Espino 6&5, Jordan Jenkins def. Gordon Casey 7&6, Immanuel Byrne def. Patrick McCormick 1 up, Shawn Shumate def. Shawn Webber 1 up

JUNIOR SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Todd Couch def. Alan Peterson 1 up, Jeff Morgan def Larry Miller 1 up, Brian White def. John Pollock 2&1, Jeff Barry def. Morgan Hawkins 1 up, Michael Stieler def Keith Lallo 5&3, Michael Vanderhoff def. Bryan Wheelock 1 up, Alfonso Powers def. Darrell Flora Jr. 20th, Trevor Telford def. Justin Wise 1 up, Tommy Smith def Geoff Loomis 3&2, Johnny Mansfield def. Mark McUne 2&1, Russel Horn def. Matt Eschenbacher 2&1, Mike Snowden def. Bret Breeze 1 up, Cameron Mitchell def. Richard Owens 1 up, Brandon Crosier def. Omer Kem 1 up, Greg Findley def. Ralph Wallis 4&3

Frank Baracao def. Scott Wise 20th

SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Kevin Klabunde def. Stanley Presley 1 up, Dale Voelz def. Terry Wolf 6 up, Eric Austad def. David Card 2 up, Marty Morlan def. Kevin Dixon 1 up, Craig Knips def. Bret Mackay 1 up, Lee Oltjenbruns def. Brent Barr 2&1, John Justin def. Rick Dollarhide 1 up, Todd Dixon def. Jim Mansfield 1 up

SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT

Darrell Lewis def. Tim Trower 1 up, David Kaplan def. Richard Warner 5&3, Jeff Fish def. Chris Littleton 1 up, Tom Pepple def. Tony Nieto 20th, Joel Jessell def. Eddie Bostwick 1 up, David Voss def. Gary Loeb 1 up, Scott Moore def. Erick Doolen 19th, Eric Hansen def. Joe Bowles 4&2

SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT

John DeMario def. Carl Wolfe 2&1, Randy Rupert def. Dave Mettler 2 up, Rich Mettler def. Jim Palazzolo 2 up, David Bermudez def. George Johnston 5&3, Kelly Wilson def. Joe Oravec 20th, Bruce Mendelson def. Brian Bueoy 20th, Todd Raduski def. Larry Conkings 4&3, Brian Odell def. Jeff Hamlet 6&4

SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT

Kevin Tucker bye, Jeff Proulx def. Tim Powers 5&4, Ron Pierce def. Dwight Shriver 19th, David Blake def. Allen Carlson 2&1, Phillip Heiner def. Stephen Alexander 1 up, Stacy Wallace def. Scott Sterton 6&5, Tom Mayer def. Greg Wojtal 1 up, Michael Slavenski def. Craig Schumacher 4&3

SUPER SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Bob Dickey def. Bob Cox 5&3, David George def. Doug Ward 1 up, Kenneth Collman def. David Orr 23rd, Evan McArthur def. Paul Reynolds 2&1, Glen Clark def. John Johnson 1 up, Bryan Schlafke def. Eric Jensen 1 up, Gary Bates def. Robert Stassi 1 up 19th, Glenn Hartzheim def. Doug Engle 2&1

SUPER SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT

Robert Staggenborg def. Al Raduski 6&5, Billie Crenshaw def. Mike Armitage 1 up, Ronald Moore def. Curt Bennett 1 up, Gregory Miller def. Larry Butler 3&2, Jerry Eklund def. Tom Powley 1 up, Todd Jensen def. John Dunkin 2 up, Scott Tuttle def. Jim Garrison 1 up, Kelly Brown def. Bruce Hart 1 up

SUPER SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT

Mel Friend def. Brian Schmitz 4&3, Neill Smith def. John Leuthold 4&3, Karl Olson def. Bill Allen 7&5, Doug Hartley def. Darrell Flora Sr. 5&4, John Kruesi def. John Liston 2&1, Scott Mayfield def. Kevin Aguirre 3&2, Pat Daggitt def. Jim Bacigalupi 1 up, Mark Wilson def. Stan Sherer 7&6

SUPER SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT

Rick Widlund def. Tom Urby 8&6, Steve Polus def. Fritz Lagergren 19th, Tom Michaels def. Dave Allen 1 up, Keith Jensen def. Ron Harvey 7&6, Gary Sterton def. Bud Adler 1 up, Gerald Carstens def. Ross Cooley 19th, Ronald Norgan def. Tom Groves 1 up, Scott Swendiman def. Conrad Caprez 1 up

SUPER SENIOR EIGHTH FLIGHT

Mike Snyder def. Patrick O’Brian 1 up, Gary Wood def. Rodger Campuzano 2&1, Chuck Kenney def. Darrell Hunt 1 up, Mark Fawver def. Brent Orrico 3&2 up, Henry Burgoyne def. John Rowan 1 up, Mark Pagan def. George Parsons 3&1, Tim Wray def. Stephen Warrington 1 up, Roger Peck def. Eugene Miller 5&4

WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Payton Cannon def. Marianne Metzger 4&3, Marla Parmele def. Kirsten Reed 4&3, Terry Levus def. Cathy Trower 1 up, Laura Rommes def. Carolyn Turner 2 up, Johnna Nealy def. Genna Mettler 6&5, Trina Jones def. Stephanie Johns 20th, Sandy Day def. Toni Watkins 1 up, Kelly Loeb def. Deb Stuart 1 up

WOMEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Maureen McFadden def. Molly Mettler 3&2, Chelsie O’Neill def. Katie O’Brien 2 up, Pamela Schepis def. Michele Orrico 1 up, Susie Hammitt def. Sandra Medaris 5&3, Lindsey Crosier def. Shelley Fisher 3&2, Francie Bostwick def. Mindy Ferris 4&3, Deborah Martin def. Jan Hughes 2&1, Sharon Swartlsey def. Rosemary Harrington 6&5

WOMEN’S FOURTH FLIGHT

Julie Schamanek def. Suzanne Lindbloom 1 up, Erica Velez def. Fawn Miller 1 up, Jade Greener def. Darla Allen 1 up, Laurel Kiichli def. Judy Brown 1 up, Barbara Stormo def. Carolyn Collins 3&2, Dana Powers-Clark def. Macy Aguirre 19th, Colleen Holbert def. Shelli Bates 1 up, Teri Mayer def. Tammy Harrison 3&1

Reach reporter Will Denner at 541-776-4479 or wdenner@mailtribune.com

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneTodd Couch hits from the sand during the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford Thursday.