EAGLE POINT — After three holes, winning the golf tournament wasn't foremost on Scott Hval's to-do list.
Blowing up the third hole at Eagle Point Golf Club was.
"I would have smoked the field if I didn't have that hole," he laughed.
Despite making a triple bogey on the par 3 to fall to 4 over on his round, Hval stormed back with a barrage of birdies to win the Oregon Golf Association Men's Mid-Amateur championship.
Over an 11-hole stretch that began at the seventh, the 46-year-old Portland dentist made six birdies to emerge from a six-pack of contenders in the final round.
Hval shot his second straight 71 — the only player under the par of 72 — to finish at 142 and three strokes ahead of Michael Kloenne of West Linn, Jim Dunlap of Tigard, Randy Mahar of Portland and Jason Wood of Clackamas.
Opening-day leader Bill Winter parred the first four holes, then watched his score balloon to 80, 12 shots worse than Saturday. He was ninth with a 148.
The top local player was Ross Jesswein. The Medford player shot 74 and tied for 13th at 151.
In the women's division, Loree McKay of La Quinta, Calif., won by seven shots over Rachel Whittington of Lake Oswego. McKay's 74 gave her a 149. Medford's Trina Rasmussen shot 83 and placed seventh at 167.
Hval's victory doesn't rank as his finest golf achievement, but he said it's not far behind three appearances in the U.S. Amateur since 2001 and OGA triumphs in the Oregon Amateur and the Tournament of Champions.
And it turned around a month-long period in which his play had been horrendous.
Which brings us back to No. 3.
On the 204-yard hole, he pushed his tee shot into a right pond, then took a drop about 60 yards from the green. The pin was tucked behind a bunker, which shortly housed Hval's attempted approach. He two-putted for a six.
In the first round, he double-bogeyed the hole, making him 5 over in a span of about 400 yards.
"I pretty much was just trying not to give up at that point," said Hval, who was coming off a bogey on the second hole. "I knew I was playing well, but I wasn't exactly thinking real positive thoughts."
A solid striker of the ball who relies on accuracy over length, Hval made par on the next three holes, then started his birdie binge. He made a 1-foot putt at the seventh hole and was on the par-5 ninth in two, regaining two strokes to par and vaulting back into the contention.
At the turn, he said, "All of a sudden I did the math."
In the final group, Winter was 4 over at the turn and Wood made double bogey at the ninth, putting both at even for the tournament. Hval was only two shots back.
"I was thinking Winter and I were going back-and-forth and Hval was so far back," said Wood, "Then he just started making birdies like crazy."
After playing the 10th "scared" the day before because he butchered it in a practice round, Hval turned aggressive and birdied it and the par-5 12th.
On the latter, he tempted fate with a 235-yard 3-wood that was all carry over wetlands to a tight pin placement. Never mind that he hooked it badly into rough left of sand traps that guard the green; the shot spoke to his mind-set.
"I was behind so I had to force it," said Hval. "I couldn't be chicken. I knew I had to make birdies."
He did so on the 12th with a 35-foot putt, then turned his attention to the group ahead. Dunlap was cruising along at 1 under for the tournament with two holes to play, but had his own misfortune at No. 17. He pulled his tee shot into the trees, took a couple more shots in deep rough and walked off with a double bogey and little chance of derailing Hval.
His frustration showed when he jammed the flagstick into the cup with such force Hval's group had trouble pulling it.
"That's what we hungry guys want is to have a chance with three holes to go," said Dunlap, whose wife, Sasha, was third in the women's event. "Second and third for the family, that's not too bad. It'll be good tomorrow but not today."
Hval had better luck on No. 17, making a 6-footer for birdie and largely eliminating the possibility of angst on the final hole, which he bogeyed.
It mattered not because he was able to cross "win golf tournament" off his to-do list.
At Eagle Point Golf Course, Par 72
LEADERBOARD (Top 40) — 1, Scott Hval, Portland, 71-71—142; T2, Michael Kloenne, West Linn, 73-72—145; T2, Jim Dunlap, Tigard, 73-72—145; T2, Randy Mahar, Portland, 72-73—145; T2, Jason Wood, Clackamas, 70-75—145; T6, Tim Tucker, Coos Bay, 74-72—146; T6, Eric Fiskum, Salem, 72-74—146; 8, Sam Spicher, Aloha, 74-73—147; 9, Bill Winter, Portland, 68-80—148; 10, Gregg Guernsey, Vancouver, Wash., 74-75, 149; T11, Eric Sundstrom, Corvallis, 77-73—150; T11, Jack Schneider, Oregon City, 75-75—150; T13, Ross Jesswein, Medford, 77-74—151; T13 Tim Rouillard, Eugene, 77-74—151; T13, Griffen Kruse, Sutherlin, 75-76—151; T13, John-Gerard Muirhead, Portland, 74-77—151;
T17, David Lydell, Aloha, 79-73—152; T17 Ken Weeks, Eugene, 77-75—152; T17, Erik Myrmo, Eugene, 76-76—152; T17, Mark Wilson, Oakland, 75-77—152; T17, Daniel Cheremnov, Silverton, 73-79—152; 22, Joe Jaukkuri, Roseburg, 81; T23, Nils Lee, Gresham, 77-77—154; T23, Richard Bartholomew, Wilsonville, 78-76—154; T23, Mark Olsen, Beaverton, 78-76—154; T23, Robert Matson, Wenatchee, Wash., 79-75—154; T23, Matthew Reese, Seattle, Wash., 79-75—154; T23, Wes Borgstedt, Vancouver, Wash., 79-75—154; T23, Dustin Conklin, Prineville, 82; T23 Brian Winter, Roseburg, 82; T23, Bill Woodruff, Portland, 82; T23, Chris Hall, Bend, 82; T23, Kevin Klabunde, Medford, 82; T23, Rick Margeson, Bend, 82; T23, Vince Price, Bend, 82; T23, Tim Croft, Central Point, 82; T23, Tyler Huff, Vancouver, Wash., 82; T23, Richard Kelps, Portland, 82;
T39, Ken Brooke, Bandon, 78-77—155; T39, Dick Shafer Jr., Portland, 77-78—155; T39, Scott Curry, Bandon, 79-76—155; T39, Jason Coles, Portland, 79-76—155; T39, Greg Miller, Medford, 80-75—155; T39, Brian Little, Portland, 83; T39, Dain Pape, Mt. Shasta, Calif., 83; T39, Tim O'Neal, Camas, Wash., 83.
OTHER LOCAL RESULTS — T47, Brad Bills, Medford, 79-77—156; T47, Ryan Schaefer, Grants Pass, 79-77—156; T66, Rick Dimick, Eagle Point, 77-81—158; T66, Glen Clark, Medford, 80-78—158; T66, Kyle Mabry, Phoenix, 86; T76 David Boals Jr, Medford, 80-79—159; T76, Derek Zwagerman, Medford, 87; T87, Justin Wise, Medford, 79-81—160; T93, Mike Bottjer, Eagle Point, 81-80—161; T106, Jerom Gilbert, Ashland, 92; 119, Clinton Gridley, Central Point, 102.
LEADERBOARD — 1, Loree McKay, La Quinta, 75-74—149; 2, Rachel Whittington, Lake Oswego, 76-80—156; 3, Sasha Dunlap, Tigard, 75-85—160; 4, Penny Saenguraiporn, Lake Oswego, 81-82—163; 5, Charisse Spada, Portland, 77-87—164; 6, Karen Herness, Portland, 83-83—166; 7, Trina Rasmussen, Medford, 84-83—167; 8 Jennifer Ramerman, Vancouver, Wash., 88-86—174; 9, Athena Zeek, Salem, 90-85—175; 10, Helen Beckel, Milwaukie, 92-91—183; 11, Raquel Stutheit, Keizer, 86-100—186; 12, D'nise Minor, Aloha, 98-94—192; 13, Barbara Gee, Vancouver, Wash., 99-96—195; 14, Gretchen Yoder, Hillsboro, 105-102—207; 15, Leslie Gainey, Medford, 115-108—223.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org