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Tough opening act

If one wanted to determine why scores on the first day of qualifying for the Southern Oregon Golf Championships were down, they didn’t have to look far.

Actually, they couldn’t look far.

The thick smoke that has socked in the region got the attention of most golfers as the 88th tournament unfolded with local men’s qualifying at Rogue Valley Country Club Tuesday.

Save for a 2-under 70 by Bob Hyer in the men’s senior division, the best scores across the board were higher in each division than on the first day a year ago.

There’s no proof the haze and heat caused the dip, but the conditions didn’t help.

“It definitely was tough,” said Jimmy White, the leader in the men’s regular division with a 73. “It just wears on you and you don’t really realize it. With all the smoke, you can’t see well and you’re breathing it in. I think it just kind of sneaks up on you. It just drains you a little more than you realize.”

White finished late in the afternoon, when the air was soupier than earlier in the day. The rounds were progressively longer, as well, and the temperatures climbed.

Hyer teed off shortly before 8 a.m., and the conditions were, at the least, bearable, he said.

He took advantage.

The Eagle Point Golf Club owner birdied three of the four par 5s, made only one bogey and nearly accomplished a hole-in-one on No. 13.

“It was a good round,” he said. “I wasn’t putting too bad. I had a couple good saves for two-putt pars. Other than that, it was a lot of birdie opportunities. Could’ves, would’ves, should’ves.”

Hyer’s 70 was two shots better than that of Bob Dickey in the seniors. Ken Stringer and Brad Bills followed with 74s.

After White’s 73 in the men’s regular, Dave Mayer and Will Street came in at 74 and Matt Stringer and Dave Croft at 75.

In the men’s junior-senior, Todd Couch shot a 76.

In the men’s super senior, George Mack led the way with a 77, followed by Karl Olson’s 79.

Hyer’s highlight came on the par-5 eighth hole, when he blistered his driver and 3-wood to reach the green in two, then two-putted from 10 feet above the hole.

His only bogey came on No. 10, when he misread a 4-foot putt, he said.

Hyer’s near-ace on No. 13 left him several feet above the hole. He barely tapped the downhill birdie try, then made a 3-footer coming back.

He also had reasonable birdie attempts at 14, 15, 17 and 18, the latter a 4-footer that would have put him in the 60s.

White didn’t have his best round. That came three years ago when he set the qualifying record of 60.

“I just tried to make the best of it,” he said. “I feel like I didn’t play my best round, but I grinded it out pretty well and put a decent number up there.”

He made four birdies, including on the last two holes. None of them were particularly exciting, he admitted.

“I hit them in there pretty close and had short putts,” he said.

Qualifying continues Wednesday for out-of-town men and women players.

Match play begins Thursday and runs through Monday.

MEN’S REGULAR

Jimmy White 73, Dave Mayer 74, Will Street 74, , Matt Stringer 75, Dave Croft 75, Justin Wise 77, Ryan Suvoy 77, Matt Johnson 77, Ryan Kantor 77, Taylor Klemp 78, Joey Walker 78, Alfonso Powers 79, Ethan DeVore 79, Travis, Campoy 79, Jon Robinson 79, Matt Eschenbacher 79, Ryan Whittaker 80, Kevin Blum 81, Dustin Butler 81, Bryan Wheelock 81, Jordan Anderson 82, Brandt Cullen 82, Logan Artner 83, Scott Weiland 84, Mike Snowden 84, Christopher Ellis 85, Eric Engelbach 85, Mark McUne 86 Jason Hanlin 86, Matt Breceda 86, Ian Norgan 86, Chase Schumacher 87, Morgan Hawkins 88, Jacob Gooding 90, Justin Hanlin 90, Jason Caplan 90, Chad Day 91, Dustin Wallace 92, Dylan Schwartz 93, Keith Lallo 93, Tanner Lawton 94, Eric Linerud 97, Isaac Wecker 100, Charlie Walker 102, Shawn Shumate 108.

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR

Tom Pepple 76, Todd Couch 76, Rich Stremming 77, Rob Neff 77, Kevin Dixon 79, Todd Dixon 79, Dave Simms 79, Dave Cuttrell 79, John Mansfield 80, Joe Bowles 80, Todd Nielsen 81, Todd Ostenson 81, Jeff Morgan 81, Craig Knips 81, Dan Westbrook 82, Jeff Barry 82, Bret Breeze 83, Dave Judd 83, Bobby Foote 86, Rick Dyer 86, Eddie Bostwick 86, Mike Stavish 87, Chris Dufour 88, Ralph Willis 88, Phil Heiner 88, Mike Walker 89, Hank Munn 89, Joe Mahar 89, Rick Jackson 90, Jason Rowan 90, Ron Stranahan 90, Don Boucher 90, Joe Arneson 90, Joe Davis 91, Ed Lindbloom 91, John Barry 92, Dennis Richards 92, Greg Jacobs 93, Benny Shapiro 93, Keith Lallo, 93, Jack Lewis 96, Jason Miller 98, Ian Powers 98, Milo Smith 100, James Figueroa 101, Kevin Primerano 105.

MEN’S SENIOR

Bob Hyer 70, Bob Dickey 72, Ken Stringer 74, Brad Bills 74, Steve Watkins 75, Bill Wells 75, Marshall Holman 76, John Justin 77, Jerry Eklund 78, Marty Morlan 78, Derek Davis 78, Bob Cox 79, Glen Clark 79, David Card 79, Brent Takemoto 79, Bill Crenshaw 79, John Demario 80, Brent Barr 80, Eric Austad 81, Bob Johnson 82, Brian Adolph 82, Doug Engle 82, Tim Trower 83, Kelly Brown 83, Gordon Humphrey 83, Mike Donnelly 84, Jerry Johnson 85, Ron Moore 85, Mark Pagan 86, Charlie Tissen 86, John Buda 86, Ray Figueira 87, Don Pinkham 87, John Lawton 88, Neil Smith 88, Doug Hartley 88, Tony Nieto 89, Bill Allen 89, Bruce Mendelsohn 90, Randy Rupert 90, John Adair 91, Jeff Blum 92, Evan McArthur 92, Mike Moylen 93, Brian Snow 93, Willie Milimuka 94, Ron Harvey 95, Keith Rogers 99, Scott Lubich 104, Craig Schumacher 107, Jim Allen 113.

MEN’S SUPER SENIOR

George Mack 77, Karl Olson 79, Bob Maentz 80, Tim Wray 82, Dan Dixon 82, Larry Garvin 83, Tom Hamlin 83, John Kreusi 83, Steve Boldish 83, Jim McCabe 83, Pat Daggitt 84, Gary Smith 85, Dick Entinger 85, Dick Brekke 85, Steve Warrington 85, Terry Rasmussen 85, Michael Goldman 85, Brian Schmitz 86, Terry Anderson 86, Jim Hatton 87, Ron Dixon 87, Art Aviles 87, Jim Garrison 88, Jim Quincy 88, Tom Barry 89, Alex Bellen 90, Al Carlson 91, Don Clark 91, Frank Lucas 92, Larry Schmaltz 92, Gibb Mitchell 92, Tom Michaels 93, Jerry Karstens 94, Gary Bates 95, Mike Travato 96, Dave Rasmussen 96, Mike Confer 97, Walt Packers 98, Dave Runyon 99, Jim Barry 100, Dan Kosmatka 100, John Jensen 102, Phil Gossner 103.

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

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Travis Campoy contemplates his next shot during Southern Oregon Golf Championships qualifying on Tuesday. [PHOTO BY LARRY STAUTH JR./FOR THE MAIL TRIBUNE]
Local golfers Ryan Suvoy, right, and Travis Campoy take part in their qualifying rounds for the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at Rogue Valley Country Club. [PHOTO BY LARRY STAUTH JR./FOR THE MAIL TRIBUNE]