Dixon, Clark triumph as SOGC matches start
Dan Dixon had been playing good golf for a couple months.
Then, in the qualifying round of the 88th Southern Oregon Golf Championships, something other-worldly occurred.
“I don’t know what happened to me Tuesday in qualifying,” said the Medford resident. “Some alien jumped inside my body or something.”
In the men’s super-senior division, Dixon — the 2014 winner — ballooned in qualifying to an 82, earning a date opposite tough-customer Herman Holm in the first round of championship flight matches on Thursday at Rogue Valley Country Club.
Fortunately for Dixon, the alien didn’t take up permanent residence. Dixon managed a late push and defeated Holm, 1 up, on the outside course.
“It was a real tough opener,” said Dixon, who won the 17th hole with a birdie to square the match, then took No. 18 with a par.
Holm, from Stayton, made it to the finals in the division the previous two years, only to lose in dramatic fashion, last year to Greg Miller, and the year before to George Mack.
“I was pretty happy, I really was,” said Dixon. “He’s a great guy and, really, he’s a better golfer than I am, there’s no two ways about it.”
Miller, who has two SOGC titles to his credit, claimed his opening match, 3 and 2 over John Dunkin. Mack, who has a record 12 crowns across the divisions, topped Tim Wray, 1 up. Medalist Doug Ward was a 2-and-1 winner over Scott Mayfield.
In the men’s senior, 2014 champion Glen Clark opened a big early lead and defeated Brad Bills, twice a champion in other divisions, 2 and 1. Defending champion Kevin Klabunde and medalist Bob Hyer had opening-round byes.
In the men’s regular, Chris Polski, the 2015 champion, topped Jordan Anderson, 7 and 6, and Michael Borton beat Kevin Blum, 6 and 5. Polski and Borton tied for the low round in qualifying with 71s and will be in a playoff for medalist honors Friday.
In men’s junior-senior play, Steve Taormino, champion two of the past three years, knocked off Erick Doolen, 4 and 2, and Bret Breeze, the 2015 winner, downed Rob Neff, 1 up. Medalist Ryan Hawkins beat Brooks Gard, 6 and 5.
In the women’s division, Aubrie Street, runner-up a year ago, downed Tonia Waldron, 1 up. Former winner Trina Jones defeated Lindsey Crosier, 3 and 2, while former champions Kelly Loeb, the medalist, and Terry Levis had byes.
Dixon and Holm kept it close throughout, neither taking more than a one-hole lead.
“I’d give him one, then he’d return the favor and let me have one,” said Dixon. “It was one of those kinds of days. I finally outlasted him.”
Dixon, who won the RVCC club championship three weeks ago, lost No. 15 with a bogey despite a nice drive and sand wedge to the green.
Pars at 16 left him one down, but on the 17th, he drained a 25-foot birdie putt, and Holm missed an 8-footer to halve.
At the 18th, Dixon reached the fringe in two, while Holm found a greenside bunker and didn’t accomplish a sand save. Dixon’s two-putt par won the match.
“There were lots of great shots from both of us, and too many bad ones,” said Dixon. “But it was a hell of a match.”
Clark, meanwhile, said he and Bills didn’t approach their match as life or death.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Clark, “but to be honest, it didn’t matter to me if I won or lost. We both get to play tomorrow. We’ve done this so many times before. One of us was going to win, and one wouldn’t. I think we both felt the same way.”
Clark jumped out to a five-hole lead after nine and appeared destined to give Bills an early dismissal.
But on the back nine, Bills played eight holes in 1 under before finally succumbing.
“It was good to see him play really good golf on the back side,” said Clark.
Clark made birdie on No. 16, threatening to put the match away, but Bills topped him.
At No. 17, pars from each closed it out.
“When we play each other, it’s always going to be close,” said Clark. “If he plays his best, he most likely will beat me. Fortunately, he didn’t play his best, and I got by him.”
Matches continue Friday until the championships in all divisions take place on Monday.
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
MEN’S SECOND FLIGHT
Brandt Cullen def. Matthew Breceda 1 up, Joshua Pean def. Cody Stover 19th, Jake Grondin def. Eric Boucher 5 & 4, Michael Green def. Mark Pederson 3 & 2, Alec Williamson def. Mark McUne 2 & 1, Mike Snowden def. Christopher Ellis 1 up, Logan Artner def. Scott Cordeiro 4 & 2, Scott Weiland def. Eric Engelbach 5 & 4.
MEN’S FOURTH FLIGHT
Jason Hanlin def. Dylan Schwarm 1 up, Jacob Gooding def. Justin Hanlin 2 up, Matthew Tennant def. Chad Day 3 & 1, Nick Nieto def. Gauge Meadows 1 up, Eric Bottero def. Ian Norgan 4 & 3, Jason Caplan def. Morgan Hawkins 1 up, Chase Schumacher def. Dustin Wallace 4 & 2, Kody Kiesz def. Robert Galli 1 up.
MEN’S SIXTH FLIGHT
Tanner Lawton bye, Isaac Weeker def. Chris Williams 2 & 1, Collin Krueger def. Stephen Odell 4 & 2, Josh Huffman def. Josh Godfrey 1 up, Shawn Shumate def. Scott Mettler 1 up, Charlie Walker def. John Collondrez 5 & 4, Scott Sterton def. Jeremy Ross 3 & 2, Eric Linerud def. Jim Corbett 1 up.
JUNIOR-SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
Joel Jessel bye, Charlie Tissen def. John Buda 2 & 1, Dwayne McIntosh def. Ray Figueira 1 up, Jerry Johnson def. Brian Odell 19th, Michael Donnelly def. John Lawton 1 up, Mark Pagan def. Darrell Hunt 6 & 4, Dave Allen def. Don Pinkham 4 & 3, Robert Tennant def. Ron Moore 1 up.
SENIOR EIGHTH FLIGHT
Evan McArthur bye, Ron Harvey def. Daniel Davis 1 up, Brian Snow def. Scott Lubich 7 & 6, Tom Groves def. Cory Crebbin 3 & 2, Christian Carrigan def. Jim Allen 1 up, Tom Wendt def. Kevin Aguirre 6 & 4, Michael Moylan def. Craig Schumacher 2 & 1, William Milimuka def. Keith Rogers 5 & 3.
SUPER-SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Greg Miller def. John Dunkin 3 & 2, Jerry Sessions def. Ross Cooley 3 & 2, George Mack def. Tim Wray 1 up, Doug Olsen def. Kenny Weist 4 & 3, Doug Ward def. Scott Mayfield 2 & 1, Brent Orrico def. Lang Bates 1 up, Dan Dixon def. Herman Holm 1 up, Ron Howard Def. Robert Maentz 19th
SUPER-SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
Jim Hatton def. Roger Peck 19th, Terry Anderson def. Ken Linden 1 up, Ron Dixon def. Jim Quincy 2 up, Dave Mansfield def. Brian Schmitz 2 & 1, Stephen Cummins def. Tom Barry 4 & 3, Bruce McDonald def. Mark Fawver 3 & 2, Arthur Aviles def. Jim Garrison 2 & 1, Terry Rasmussen def. Alex Belen 6 & 5.
SUPER-SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT
Dennis Bales def. Gilbert Roque 3 & 2, Don Mitchell def. Tom Michaels 7 & 6, Frank Lucas def. George Parsons 1 up, Larry Schmaltz def. Jim Hauck 5 & 4, Gary Bates def. Allen Carlson 1 up, Cliff Barnett def. Bud Adler 3 & 2, Jerry Carstens def. Don Clark 2 up, Steve Skinner def. Gibb Mitchell 20th.
SUPER-SENIOR EIGHTH FLIGHT
Conrad Caprez def. Phil Gossner 7 & 6, Dwight Samuel def. David Runyon 2 up, Robert Lehrkind def. Michael Confer 6 & 5, Dan Kosmatka def. John Pesenti 3 & 2, Patrick O’Brien def. Michael Trovato 2 & 1, Rodger Campuzano def. Wendell Towe 2 up, David Rasmussen def. Walt Packard 1 up, John Jensen def. Jim Barry 1 up.
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Kelly Loeb bye, Julia Tissen def. Tracie Armitage 1 up, Christina Herd def. Genna Mettler 1 up, Aubrie Street def. Tonia Waldron 1 up, Terry Levis bye, Leslie Gainey def. Toni Watkins 1 up, Marla Parmele def. Toni Doolen 6 & 5, Trina Jones def. Lindsey Crosier 3 & 2.
WOMEN’S SECOND FLIGHT
Michele Orrico bye, Mindy Cuttrell def. Ashley Snowden 1 up, Barbara Stormo def. Vicki Moffatt 1 up, Melinda Heiner def. Bridgitte Griffin-Azevedo 1 up, Laura Rommes bye, Laura Pinkham def. Colleen Holbert 6 & 4, Marnie Binney def. Kirsten Reed 1 up, Susie Hammett def. Francie Bostwick 19th
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org