Women’s division up for grabs
The path in the women's division of the Southern Oregon Golf Championships has gotten smoother and smoother as the tournament continues to unfold at Rogue Valley Country Club.
Early in the week, defending champion Rosie Cook pulled out because of another obligation.
That left a core group of contenders, including four former champions, to duke it out. But in the qualifying round on Wednesday, no one established herself as the one to beat.
"Everybody struggled yesterday," Trina Jones, the 2008 champion, said Thursday. "It was a pretty slow pace, and you know how sometimes you're just a little off?"
Last year, five women qualified with scores in the 70s.
This year, Jones was medalist with an 81, one shot ahead of 1999 winner Reena White — who may have played better than anyone in qualifying save for a few holes that got away — and Kelly Loeb, the 2010 and '11 titlist.
An elixir of sorts must have washed over the division by Thursday's opening of match play, for many of the top women were back on their games.
The result will be some tantalizing quarterfinal pairings on Saturday.
Jones defeated Tina Blum, 2 and 1, setting up a match against Terry Levis, the 2013 champion. Levis knocked off Susie Ashdown Hammitt, 4 and 3.
Loeb triumphed 2 up over Makenna Clark and next plays Aubrie Street, a 7-and-5 winner over Lindsey Crosier.
Other winners were White and Tracie Armitage, who will square off, and Leslie Gainey and Christina Phelps, who also meet.
"There are some great matchups Saturday," said Loeb. "I'm playing Aubrie, and she hits a great ball. We have some great sticks this year. It's awesome to see."
All the championship-flight matches were on the outside course.
In the men's regular, defending champion Mike Barry downed Ted Stark, 2 and 1. Co-medalists Max Davis and Mark Wilson Jr., who will play off for the honor today, had different fates. Davis beat Justin Azevedo, 3 and 1, but Wilson fell to Jack Bell on the 20th hole.
In men's junior-senior, the medalist also tumbled, with Todd Dixon losing to David Culbertson, 3 and 2. Last year's winner, Steve Taormino, topped John Quinones, 5 and 4.
In men's' senior, Glen Clark began defense of his title with a 3-and-2 win over Vaughn Schneider. Medalist Steve Wood won by the same score over Arthur Aviles.
In men's super senior, Dan Dixon, the 2014 winner, downed Bob Thiessen, 2 and 1, and medalist Doug Olson beat Ross Cooley, 3 and 2.
Like her peers, Jones improved from her qualifying round.
"I actually hit the ball decent," she said. "My score was not great, but I kind of had some bad breaks. That's part of golf, and the pins were in some tough positions."
One putt lipped out and left her a 15-foot comebacker, turning a par into a double bogey. On an approach on No. 5, she thought she hit a perfect shot but it didn't release like she hoped.
"I'm close," she said, "just not quite there. But you want to get better as you go along."
It would serve her well against Levis, her Saturday opponent.
Levis' title a couple years ago came at Jones' expense in the finals.
Jones had a tough semifinal win over Nettie Morrison and "just didn't have my game the next day. I didn't have the stamina to make it those 36 holes. It was a good match."
Levis, a nurse, began working full time about a year ago and hasn't devoted much time to golf.
She tuned up in the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships last weekend and, after a qualifying-round 86 she called a disaster, was solid on Thursday.
"Last month, I was really cold and not feeling confident in my game," she said. "I wasn't hitting the ball solid off the tee and wasn't my usual self."
Against Ashdown Hammitt, she was bogey free and threw in a birdie on the 12th hole with a 20-foot putt.
"I just played extremely consistent," said Levis.
She supplanted her driver on most holes with her 4-wood because she didn't need the distance.
"I do better if the next shot is not a half wedge or three-quarters," she said. "I just decided I'm better off to be back a little."
Now she faces Jones.
"I feel pretty good about it," said Levis. "I beat her two years ago. She's a really good player. She plays this course really well and it fits her game. But if I'm on, I think I'll do well."
Loeb, too, was more on her game Thursday.
She was even par through 11 holes, the result of steady ball striking.
"It was a great day," she said. "I played very well."
She nearly chipped in on No. 1 for eagle and settled for a tap-in par.
"That was pretty sweet," she said.
She also birdied the par-3 fourth.
Tyler Duntsch def. Jacob Gooding 1up; David Meyer def. Jon Portz 1up; Jerom Gilbert def. Brian Miller 6&5; Joey Walker def. Alfonso Powers 1up; Seth Walters def. John Keyser 19th; Blake Bartlett def. Jeffery Barry 10&9; Alex Brown def. Taylor Webb 3&1; Michael Payne def. Peyton Lingbloom 4&3
Scott Moore def. Ben Running 1up; Sonny OGrady def. Eric Linerud 1up; Matt Stringer def. Mark McUne 3&2; Michael Richardson def. Scott Weiland 5&3; Ryan Kantor def. Jordon Anderson 1up; Erik Pederson def. Mike Snowden 2&1; Cody Stover def. Sam Garner 2&1; Eric Englebach def. Jonny Cutright 2&1
Mitchell Reagles def. Benny Shapiro 10&8; Michael Barbieri def. Scott Reed 20th; Kelly Green def. Charles Day 4&2; Rick Buchler def. Bret Cromwell 19th; Curtis Wagoner def. Collin Krueger 1up; Josh Huffman def. Brandt Cullen 10&8; Chris Norlander def. Jason Hanlin 1up; Matt Johnson def. Andy Viets 2up
JR SR CHAMPIONSHIP
Kenneth Weist def. Jim McCabe 1up; Doug Engle def. James Mulhall 2&1; Phil Jones def. OJ Endcott 5&4; Don Mitchell def. John Buda 1up; Richard Mettler def. Patrick Daggitt 2up; Scott Tuttle def. Brian Odell 1up; Salvador Murillo def. John DeMario 5&4; Ken VanDaam def. Paul Reynolds 5&4
Tim Veley def. Scott Mayfield 4&2; Tim Trower def. John Adair 2&1; Michael Goldman def. Wayne Stone 4&3; Melvin Friend def.Jim Hatton 2up; Neil Smith def. Jeffery Blum 20th; Mark Weiss def. Willaim Milimuka 3&2; Evan McArthur def. Scott Waever 2up; Charlie Tissen def. Jerry Johnson 5&4
Brian Schmitz def. Scott Lubich 2up; Ron Moore def. Lee Fortier 2up; Kevin Aguirre def. Mike Snyder 3&2; George Kaczor def. Raymond Smith 2&1; Cliff Barnett def. Mark Mills 1up; Gibb Mitchell def. Dan Kosmatka 1up; Ron Hobson def. John George 2&1; Walt Packard def. Darrell Flora Sr. 4&2
SUPER SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Dan Dixon def. Bob Thiesson 2&1; John Dunkin def. Tom Hamlin 1up; Chris Littleton def. Gary Bates 1up; George Mack def. Craig Galpern 1up; Karl Olson def. Ross Cooley 3&2; Bob Harrell def. Gordon Empey 2&1; Greg Miller def. Bill Drewien 3&2; Herman Holm def. Jon Woodson 5&4
SUPER SENIOR FOURTH
SUPER SENIOR SIXTH
Glen Henkel def. Eddie Knight 1up; HarveyMyers def. Mike Arant 3&2; David Rasmussen def. Richard Sorenson 2&1; Patrick OBrian def. George Parsons 1up; Herb Malone def. Mark Fawver 2&1; Jim Quincy def. John Jensen 19th; David Runyon def. Bruce McDonald 1up; Gilbert Roque def. Dennis Ramsden 7&6
SUPER SENIOR EIGHTH
Marnie Binney def. Dana Clark 1up; Genna Mettler def. Dana Carrigan 2&1; Tonia Waldron def. LeeAnn Loftin 1up; Vicki Watson def. Tammie Allen 2&1; Laura Pinkham def. Lori Humphrey 4&3; Michele Rostron def. Christina Browning 1up; Toni Watkins def. Bridgitte Griffin 1up; Julia Tissen def. Francie Bostwick 3&2
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