Whittaker, Rasmussen among city golf tournament winners
Ryan Whittaker had obstacles to overcome in the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships Sunday at Centennial Golf Club.
Chief among them were the persistently solid play of Jake Quast and an uncooperative back that nearly forced him to withdraw a day earlier.
Kelly Rasmussen was in bounce-back mode, too, having survived a near-death malady three months ago over complications when his appendix burst.
They were among the division winners in what is regarded as the city championships.
Whittaker, in the men’s championship division, followed an opening-round 68 on Saturday with a 7-under 65 for a 133 total. He fended off Quast, who shot 67, by two shots. They were tied after the first round, three shots clear of the field.
Rasmussen shot 74 for a 143 total, edging Glen Clark by a stroke for the men’s senior title.
Jon Paauwe repeated as the men’s super senior winner, shooting a 75 for a 148. Greg Miller was second at 152.
Terry Levis, with a 77, claimed the women’s title with 158, four shots in front of Marla Parmele.
Whittaker, a South Medford High graduate who lives in Central Point, opened a four-shot lead on Quast through 13 holes.
Quast cut it to two shots when he birdied No. 14, a par 3 he almost aced, and Whittaker made his lone bogey of the day. They then matched scores on the remaining four holes.
Quast, who starred at Cascade Christian — he and Whittaker were teammates for a year before the latter transferred — now plays for Dominican University in San Rafael, California.
“It feels pretty good,” said Whittaker, who made five birdies in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 11 to 16. “It feels a lot better because he was doing his best and I was doing my best, so we kept going back and forth. It was pretty satisfying to win.”
Whittaker recently enjoyed his first individual tournament victory when he claimed a match-play event at Centennial.
He’ll play in the Southern Oregon Golf Championships, which begin Tuesday at Rogue Valley Country Club, then will turn pro. He’ll attempt to Monday qualify for the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, California, in October.
Whittaker came close to withdrawing Saturday. His back hurt so much he’d drop his driver on some swings rather than follow through.
He still experienced pain on Sunday, but his back was loose enough to get through the round.
A sizzling putter took his mind off the ailment, too.
“I just had the putter going,” said Whittaker, whose best round at Centennial is a 63. “Every time (Quast) made a putt, I made it on top of him.”
Indeed. Quast shot 31 on the back nine, but it wasn’t enough.
“It was a great duel out there,” he said. “Ryan was stone-cold under pressure. I tried to apply as much pressure as I could. He was just confident and made every putt he looked at, which was fun. It was a memory of a lifetime, for sure.”
At No. 17, Quast had one last chance to pull even. He hit his tee shot on the par 3 to about 14 feet, and Whittaker was off the back left of the green facing a chip over a slight ridge and downhill.
Quast barely missed his birdie putt, and Whittaker made a 4-footer for par to remain two shots ahead.
At 18, they both hit the green in two and two-putted for pars.
Rasmussen estimates he’s been runner-up in big local tournaments 20 times or so over the years, making this win special.
But, he said, “I’m just happy to be here, period.”
He spent 30 days in the hospital after his appendix burst in May. Toxins in his system and blood clots added to the severity, he said, and doctors speculated it would take six months to get over atrophy and anemia associated with the ailment.
“I just started hitting the ball decently about two weeks ago,” said Rasmussen, who also won his division in the Centennial club championships.
“It was scary,” he said, “but it’s sobering and really puts things in perspective.”
Winning the city title was “surreal,” he said, “in the sense that, all these guys are better than me. That’s how I look it.”
Rasmussen didn’t play as well as he did the day before, but he battled to the end. A 180-yard sand shot to within 8 feet of the hole on No. 15 resulted in a birdie, and 4- and 5-foot par putts on the last two holes enabled him to hang on.
“Glen was nipping at my heels and only one stroke back, and I made some good pars coming in,” he said. “That could have been disastrous.”
Clark had a final-round 70, which trailed only the scores by Whittaker and Quast for best of the day.
CHAMPIONSHIP: Ryan Whittaker 68-65—133, Jake Quast 68-67—135, Montana Frame 71-72—143, Fred Hults 76-71—147, Joey Walker 72-77—149, Nathan Hunter 75-74—149, Taylor Klemp 78-71—149, Blake Bartlett 76-74—150, Tyler James 77-75—152, Ryan Suvoy 71-82—153, Daniel Wozniak 74-80—154, George Lavalley 81-74—155, Jared McBride 81-78—159, Roger Hults 86-74—160, Jacob Leonard 88-80—168.
MEN’S GROSS: Alfonso Powers 70-76—146, Bill Albers 72-74—146 (won on first playoff hole), Patrick Reynolds 75-75—150, John Kandaris 69-82—151, Justin Azevedo 75-78—153, Rob Holland 70-85—155, Jay Klemp 74-82—156, Jaime Burton 81-76—157, Dl Richardson 79-81—160, Todd Godsby 78-83—161, Eric Massey 78-84—162, Robert Hannaford 81-83—164, Nick Daggitt 77-90—167, Layne Sims 83-86—169, Eric Bruhn 84-89—173, Ryan Oakley 87-87—174, Caleb Thoele 87-90—177, Ian Horlacher 90-90—180, Kevin Jones 97-84—181, Don Schamanek 91-91—182, Jeff Ford 91-100—191.
MEN’S NET: Bill Albers 60-62—122, Eric Massey 64-70—134, Dl Richardson 67-69—136, Rob Holland 61-76—137, Robert Hannaford 68-70—138, John Kandaris 63-76—139, Jay Klemp 66-74—140, Alfonso Powers 68-74—142, Patrick Reynolds 71-71—142, Todd Godsby 70-75—145, Justin Azevedo 72-75—147, Ian Horlacher 74-74—148, Ryan Oakley 74-74—148, Layne Sims 73-76—149, Jaime Burton 78-73—151, Jeff Ford 72-81—153, Eric Bruhn 75-80—155, Caleb Thoele 77-80—157, Kevin Jones 85-72—157, Don Schamanek 79-79—158, Nick Daggitt 73-86—159.
SENIOR GROSS: Kelly Rasmussen 69-74—143, Glen Clark 74-70—144, Ken Stringer 74-74—148, Brad Bills 77-71—148, Dave Schoenmann 70-78—148, Brent Barr 71-77—148, Robert Cox 72-77—149, Kevin Klabunde 74-75—149, Joel Jessel 78-76—154, Grant Niskanen 78-83—161, Marshall Holman 76-86—162, John Demario 78-85—163, Jim Smith 78-85—163, Jeff Hamlett 94-81—175, Kazuji Sato 93-88—181, Larry Spotanski 93-90—183, Richard Patsche 98-99—197.
SENIOR NET: Glen Clark 70-66—136, Jim Smith 65-72—137, Ken Stringer 69-69—138, Dave Schoenmann 65-73—138, Robert Cox 67-72—139, Brent Barr 67-73—140, Kelly Rasmussen 68-73—141, Joel Jessel 72-70—142, Kevin Klabunde 72-73—145, Brad Bills 76-70—146, Kazuji Sato 76-71—147, John Demario 71-78—149, Jeff Hamlett 82-69—151, Grant Niskanen 73-78—151, Larry Spotanski 77-74—151, Richard Patsche 78-79—157, Marshall Holman 74-84—158.
SUPER SENIOR GROSS: Jon Paauwe 73-75—148, Gregory Miller 80-72—152, Art Aviles 74-79—153, Pat Daggitt 77-79—156, Dick Brekke 75-82—157, Douglas Wesson 77-82—159, Jim McCabe 80-82—162, Jim Hatton 82-82—164, Charlie McFarland 84-81—165, George Countee 86-81—167, Arn Wihtol 86-82—168, Jan Ritter 83-89—172, Steve Josephson 89-85—174, David Oas 88-87—175, Norm Hall 92-88—180, John Jensen 93-104—197, David Doi 100-101—201.
SUPER SENIOR NET: Charlie McFarland 68-65—133, Jon Paauwe 66-68—134, Dick Brekke 64-71—135, Arn Wihtol 71-67—138, Pat Daggitt 68-70—138, David Oas 70-69—139, Art Aviles 67-72—139, Douglas Wesson 67-72—139, Gregory Miller 75-67—142, Jan Ritter 68-74—142, Jim Hatton 72-72—144, Jim McCabe 72-74—146, David Doi 74-75—149, George Countee 79-74—153, Steve Josephson 79-75—154, Norm Hall 83-79—162, John Jensen 78-89—167.
LADIES GROSS: Terry Levis 81-77—158, Marla Parmele 78-84—162, Linda Johnson 76-88—164, Mindy Cuttrell 81-85—166, Tracie Armitage 87-86—173, Deb Stuart 86-90—176, Julia Tissen 86-92—178, Pam Turnipseed 88-94—182, Toni Watkins 91-93—184, Barbara Pinkham 94-97—191, Julie Schamanek 100-97—197, Marnie Binney 98-100—198.
LADIES NET: Mindy Cuttrell 65-69—134, Pam Turnipseed 69-75—144, Terry Levis 76-72—148, Deb Stuart 74-78—152, Tracie Armitage 77-76—153, Toni Watkins 76-78—154, Marla Parmele 74-80—154, Julie Schamanek 79 -76—155, Marnie Binney 77-79—156, Linda Johnson 72-84—156, Julia Tissen 76-82—158, Barbara Pinkham 79-82—161.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or email@example.com