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OIT influence alive and well at SOGC

Seeing the name “Murphy” advance to the semifinal round at the 86th annual Southern Oregon Golf Championships isn’t unusual, just not the one most probably think of when checking the daily scoreboard at Rogue Valley Country Club.

Despite the absence of three-time tournament champion Kevin Murphy, who has played in the last four men’s championship finals, his brother David Murphy held up the family name with an impressive showing Saturday en route to his first-ever berth in the SOGC semis.

David Murphy was 3-under-par on his round through eight holes to take an early lead on one of the pre-tournament favorites, returning semifinalist Bryce Wortman, and kept the pressure on to ultimately secure a 4-and-3 triumph with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole.

“It’s pretty sweet, I’m really excited,” he said of his first semifinal appearance. “The only thing that could make it better was if Kevin was on the other side of the bracket.”

While his brother may not be on the other side of the men’s championship bracket, at least one name is very familiar in Oregon Tech men’s golf teammate Tyler Swinton.

One day after upsetting defending champion Mike Barry, who was seeking his fifth title overall, Swinton built a four-hole advantage by the turn and fought off a comeback attempt by South Medford High junior-to-be Reese Fisher for a 1-up win in their quarterfinal match.

“He’s a good player, I think he’s really underrated here in this,” said Murphy of his fellow Owl. “I think he could go far.”

Swinton will get another stiff challenge today in Chris Polski, who was dialed in again Saturday for a 6-and-5 win over Kevin Blum. Murphy will square off against Ryan Schaefer in today’s 12:40 foursome after the Grants Pass native won 4 and 2 over Cody Stoffel.

In other highlights Saturday, Steve Taormino (men’s junior-senior), Glen Clark (men’s senior) and LaVone Kirkwood (women’s senior) kept alive their hopes of defending their titles with victories on Saturday.

Taormino won 3 and 1 over Todd Couch to set up a semifinal match with Bret Breeze, a 2-and-1 winner over Dan Westbrook. The other semifinal will pit Brooks Gard against Marty Morlan, who last week earned the junior-senior crown at the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships.

Clark overcame Mike Finnell, 3 and 2, and will meet a familiar face in the semifinals in past SOGC champion Kevin Klabunde, who won 1 up over Gary Loeb on Saturday. On the opposite side of the bracket, Steve Wood won 2 up over Kevin Croucher and will play Mark Wilson, a 2-and-1 winner over Brad Bills, in today’s semis.

The women’s championship bracket remained as competitive as ever with solid matchups Saturday ultimately resulting in a final foursome of Trina Jones, Christina Phelps, Reena White and Aubrie Street advancing to today’s semifinals at 12:50 p.m.

Jones edged Terry Levis, 1 up, while Phelps was a 3-and-2 winner over Leslie Gainey, White a 2-up winner over Tracie Armitage and Street a 4-and-3 winner over Kelly Loeb.

Kirkwood advanced to a semifinal matchup with Sheri Driskill thanks to a 2-up win over Bogey Loyd, with Linda Johnson and Linda Tungsvik in the other semifinal at 12:10 p.m.

In men’s super seniors action, George Mack edged John Dunkin, 1 up, and Herman Holm defeated Bob Harrell, 3 and 2. Harrell was seeking his seventh overall SOGC title.

Murphy said the key to his round against Wortman, who won the Class 4A state title in the spring, was his strong early start and consistent play throughout their match. He was 2 under for his round when it ended.

“On that first eight holes, I had one bad hole that could’ve been the changing point,” he said, “but I kept it together and played solid throughout the round.”

The same couldn’t necessarily be said about the Swinton-Fisher pairing, with each riding a roller-coaster of emotions during a testing 18 holes. Swinton was steady through the first 10 holes to build a 4-up advantage, taking advantage of some miscues by Fisher, and then the tables suddenly turned.

Fisher made a nice chip on the 11th hole to get one back and, on No. 12, Swinton was forced to hit three drives before ultimately finding his first one to play it. Still, the damage was done and Fisher won the hole to go 2 down.

The 13th hole went to Swinton with a nice up-and-down after Fisher admittedly was too aggressive with his initial putt and wound up three-putting the hole to go 3 down.

“I really just wanted to get something going after that, and I did,” said Fisher.

The 16-year-old standout made par on the 14th hole to go 2 down as Swinton’s tee shots continued to fail him on the back nine, and another wayward drive on No. 15 opened the door for Fisher, who responded with a 14-foot birdie putt to take momentum into the 16th hole.

On No. 16, Fisher blistered his drive down the middle while Swinton tried to go over the trees on the right but had too low of a trajectory and wound up hitting the trees and advancing his ball only as far as the front tee box. Swinton responded with a fantastic second shot through a tight window but by that time Fisher was feeling it and he plopped his approach shot on the green with a great chance at eagle below the hole.

Even though Fisher missed his eagle putt by inches, he still won the hole with a birdie and suddenly found himself all square in a match that might have passed him by if it weren’t for the outpouring of support he received from friends and family watching nearby.

“I’m just glad I got it back and kind of put on a show for some of the people that came out to watch me,” he said. “I really appreciated that.”

Swinton admitted to feeling the pressure as he approached the 17th tee box.

“After that I just calmed myself down and took some drinks of water and got something to eat,” he said. “Then when he hit (his drive) a little left, I knew my opportunity was there and I just needed to hit the fairway.”

Swinton picked a fine time to hit the fairway for the first time on the back nine with his tee shot and, with Fisher in recovery mode, he tacked on a soft wedge that landed under the hole and set him up for a 5-foot birdie putt that he calmly drained to regain the lead.

Both players shadowed each other on the final hole with beautifully crafted drives and wedges onto the green. Fisher went first but couldn’t connect on his uphill 10-footer to put the pressure on Swinton, and the 21-year-old OIT senior rolled his 8-foot putt within inches to halve the hole and secure the win.

“He played well to put some pressure on me there down the stretch,” Swinton said of Fisher.

For the Panther, it was a bittersweet end to his first appearance in the SOGC.

“I was even with two holes to go and that’s all I could ask for,” said Fisher. “I can’t do anything about him making birdie on 17, he did a great job. I made par, there’s nothing really I could do about that. On 18, I just couldn’t make the putt. I tried, I just couldn’t make it. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Saturday’s Results


Tyler Swinton def. Reese Fisher 1up, Chris Polski def. Kevin Blum 6&5, Ryan Schaefer def. Cody Stoffel 4&2, David Murphy def. Bryce Wortman 4&3


Ted Stark def. Orette Facey 1up, Trevor Telford def. Jon Robinson 2up, Justin Azevedo def. JT Compher 1up, Taylor Klemp def. Ryan Suvoy 1up


Tyler Duntsch def. David Mayer 19th, Joey Walker def. Jerom Gilbert 6&5, Blake Bartlett def. Seth Walters 4&3, Alex Brown def. Michael Payne 3&2


Jon Portz def. Jacob Gooding 2up, Alfonso Powers def. Brian Miller 5&4, Jeffrey Barry def. John Keyser 1up, Taylor Webb def. Peyton Lindbloom 1up


Sonny O’Grady def. Scott Moore 1up, Matt Stringer def. Michael Richardson 1up, Erik Pederson def. Ryan Kantor 1up, Cody Stover def. Eric Engelbach 1up


Eric Linerud def. Ben Running 1up, Scott Weiland def. Mark McUne 1up, Jordan Anderson def. Mike Snowden 1up, Sam Garner def. Jonny Curtright 5&4


Michael Barbieri def. Mitchell Reagles 5&4, Rick Buchler def. Kelly Green 2&1, Curtis Wagoner def. Josh Huffman 4&2, Matt Johnson def. Chris Norlander 2&1


Scott Reed def. Benny Shapiro 19th, Bret Cromwell def. Charles Day, Brandt Cullen def. Collin Krueger 1up , Andy Viets def. Jason Hamlin 3&2


Darren Bruhns def. Morgan Hawkins 1up, Dave Mettler def. Josh Godfrey 1up, Chris Intlekofer def. Jad Dickson 5&4, Dylan Schwarm def. Jim Corbett 1up,


Jeremy Ross def. Shane MacLaughlan 1up, Scott Sterton def. Robert Lindbloom 21st, Shawn Shumate def. Jason Rowan 19th, Tanner Lawton def. Darrell Thompson 5&4


Steve Taorimino def. Todd Couch 3&1, Brett Breeze def. Dan Westbrook 2&1, Brooks Gard def. David Culbertson 1up, Marty Morlan def. Kevin Dixon 20th


Rick Jackson def. Darrell Flora Jr 1up, Rob Neff def. Craig Knips 3&2, Todd Dixon def. Eddie Bostwick 1up, Joel Jessel def. Richard Owens 1up


Richard Warner def. Kevin Jones 2up, Todd Ostenson def. Daniel Trenholm 3&2, Jake Rockwell def. Robert Husel 1up, Derron Moreland def. Johnny Mansfield 1up


Eric Hansen def. Phillip Heiner 3&1, Kieth Lallo def. Anthony Kell 1up, Ron Harvey def. Joe Arnesen 1up, Steve Connell def. BYE


Joe Bowles def. John Couch 4&2, John Hall def. Rod Browning 1up, Joe Davis def. Jack Lewis 2&1, Rick Hutchins def. Jason Bouzos 1up


Tom Mayer def. Christian Carrigan 1up, Jim Retzlaff def. Michael Diehl 2&1, Michael Webb def. Rick Dyer 5&4, Scott VanWay def. Ken Lindbloom 19th


Brian Sherrill def. Tom Groves 3&2, Ed Lindbloom def. Billy Burke 1up, Erling Brekke def. James Figueroa 1up


Glen Clark def. Mike Finnell 3&2, Kevin Klabunde def. Gary Loeb up, Steven Wood def. Kevin Croucher 2up, Mark Wilson def. Brad Bills 2&1


David Street def. John Justin 2&1, Terry Faulkner def. Jim Overmeyer 2up, Steve Boldish def. Rob Wieland 1up, Billy Crenshaw def. Kenneth Stringer 1up


Jim Morris def. Troy Alexander 4&3, John Lawton def. Dave Allen 1up, Mark Pagan def. Richard Mossay 1up, Terry Buntin def. Buck Brigham 19th


Bill Allen def. JW Lyon 1up, Les Cracraft def. Alex Romanowsky 5&3, Lance Hunter def. Dave Smith 1up, Darrell Hunt def. Frank Lucas 1up


George Mack def. John Dunkin 1up, Herman Holm def. Bob Harrell 3&2


Craig Galpern def. Tom Hamlin 1up, Bill Drewien def. Ross Cooley 2&1


Tim Tarlow def. Richard Brekke 1up, Al Raduski def. Roger Peck 6&5, Robert Galusha def. Larry Garvin 3&2, Ron Howard def. Ron Lewis 2&1


Michael Miller def. Scott Swendiman 1up, Terry Anderson def. Brent Orrico 1up, Tim Wray def. Robert Adler 2&1, Gordon Beckwith def. James Achenbach 3&2


Larry Schmaltz def. Dodd Samuel 4&3, Chuck Kenney def. John Kruesi 1up


Jerry Rohrs def. Arn Wihtol 19th, Conrad Caprez def. Tom Riley 8&7


David Rasmussen def. Glen Henkel 3&2, Herb Malone def. Gilbert Roque 1up


Mike Arant def. Richard Sorenson 1up, Mark Fawver def. Bruce McDonald 3&2


Samuel Dwight def. Tom Watson 2&1, Bob Doolen def. Jean David 1up, Stephen Warrington def. John Root 2&1, Tom Michaels def. Jim Hauck 19th


Wendell Towe def. Rodger Campuzano 1up, Peter Puljan def. Kenneth Gilmore 1up, Ronald Van Vleet def. Emmett Mahle 1up, Donald Young def. Clarence Primasing 1up


Trina Jones def. Terry Levis 1up, Christina Phelps def. Leslie Gainey 3&2, Reena White def. Tracie Armitage 2up, Aubrie Street def. Kelly Loeb 4&3


Hammit-Ashdown def. Tina Blum 3&2, Laura Rommes def. Annette VanDaam 8&7, Toni Doolen def. Melinda Heiner 1up, Lindsey Crosier def. Makenna Clark 1up


Genna Mettler def. Marnie Binney 6&5, Vicki Watson def. Tonia Waldron 4&3, Laura Pinkham def. Michele Rostron 3&2, Julia Tissen def. Toni Watkins 2up


Dana Carrigan def. Dana Clark 1up, LeeAnn Loftin def. Tammie Allen 5&4, Lori Humphrey def. Christine Browning 1up, Francie Bostwick def. Bridgitte Griffin 1up


LaVone Kirkwood def. Bogey Loyd 2up, Sheri Driskill def. Sandy Day 1up, Linda Johnson def. Sue Hunter 3&1, Linda Tungsvik def. Mo McFaddin 3&2


Chrissy Bayless def. Janet Stark 19th, Barb Pinkham def. Pam Schepis 19th, Selby-Hughes def. Deb Stuart 2&1, Nancy Moore def. Carolyn Turner 19th


Susan Stringer def. Allison Myers 3&2, Rosemary Harrington def. Cathy Trower 1up, Shelley Fisher def. Becky Barry 1up, Donna Woodson def. Peggy Tomlins 4&3

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry