Murphy finishes strong at Big I tourney

Kevin Murphy met one goal when he made the cut this week in the Trusted Choice Big I National Golf Championships.

In order to achieve a second goal — make the top 10 and earn exemption into the tournament next year — the Rogue River teenager figured he had to shoot 4-under-par 67 in Friday's final round.

That low number wouldn't have done it, either, as it turns out, but you've got to like the moxie the 16-year-old exhibits.

His final-round 74 at Old York Country Club in Chesterfield, N.J., did match his previous best on the long, tight 6,743-yard course and landed him in a tie for 26th place.

Murphy opened with a 75 and 78 before back-to-back 74s. He ended up at 17-over 301.

Greg Bunner, of Cherryville, N.C., posted a one-stroke triumph with a 1-under 283.

The field of state qualifiers began at 102, then was whittled to the top 55 after two rounds.

Murphy, who couldn't be reached Friday, told his mother, Jo, of his goal entering the final round. She told him it'd be great if he did as well as he had the previous day, so at least he listens to Mom.

Murphy started on the 10th hole and strung together seven pars before bogeying No. 17. He made three more bogeys on his second nine before birdieing two of the last four holes.

"I think he wanted better," said Ed Fisher, director of instruction at Rogue Valley Country Club and Murphy's teacher for nearly two years. "He's not complacent about it. He's setting his sights high, so that's good."

Murphy, who as a freshman finished second in the Class 3A/2A/1A state tournament this past spring, made the field through local and state qualifying. Only two players from Oregon were selected for the tournament for kids ages 13-18.

Murphy has a solid swing and has brought his short game up to speed the past couple years, says Fisher. However, his greatest asset might be his determination and patience.

"He's a very grounded young man," says Fisher, noting that it's tough enough to fly cross country and adapt to new surroundings, let alone try to play golf against some of the nation's top juniors.

"For him to go back in his first setting like that and to compete the way he has and as solidly as he has, my hat's off to him," said Fisher. "It wouldn't have been any crime to go back there and struggle like crazy just because it's so new."

Murphy will be closer to home Aug. 17-19 when he plays in an American Junior Golf Academy tournament at Centennial Golf Club.


ONE SHOT EARNED Jim Quincy a "trifecta."

He made a hole-in-one, which helped the 82-year-old shoot his age, and it all happened on his wedding anniversary.

"Dorothy and I celebrated all of those," says Quincy of his bride of 39 years. "It was like a trifecta. It was a fun day. Those only come around once in a while."

Probably not even that often.

Quincy made the ace, his fifth, last Saturday on the 11th hole on Rogue Valley Country Club's Rogue Course.

He struck the ball with his 24-degree rescue club, and it took off so crisply that others in his group — he played with Mike Moran, Bob Reed and Dave Boulton — first guessed it was going to fly the green, then decided it might be close to the cup.

When they drove up and didn't see a ball long, Moran started for the hole, then stopped.

"He said, 'No, I'm gonna let the guy who hit it go look,'" says Quincy. Quincy did and liked what he saw. "It was quite a thrill."

"I've had several other holes-in-one," he adds, "but this one felt like it was hit the most solid."

Quincy, who is looking forward to playing in his 51st consecutive Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the end of August, has had three other aces at RVCC: one on the 13th hole on the Rogue and two on the sixth hole on the nine-hole Oaks, or inside, course.

One of them at No. 6 closed out a match in the Southern Oregon.

Quincy's other ace came in Reedsport, where he accompanied John Nuich to a tournament. Nuich was to play with Alan Holmes, but the latter had recently made a hole-in-one and won a car, making him ineligible for the amateur event.

Quincy took his place in the tournament, which was also giving away a car for an ace on a designated hole.

"I had mine on the wrong hole and didn't win the car," he says. "That would have been pretty unique."

Almost as unique the feat he just accomplished.


NOAH HORSTMAN has a passion for teaching golf, and now he's doing it at the collegiate level.

The former South Medford player, who will return here for the Sasquatch Pro-Am Monday and Tuesday at Centennial Golf Club, recently completed his first year as the men's and women's coach at Willamette University in Salem.

Horstman is an assistant pro at Illahe Hills Country Club in Salem, and that's the Bearcats' home course.

When the coaching position came open, a club member who works at the university and was on the hiring board encouraged Horstman to apply.

"It was out of the blue, actually," says Horstman. "But I love coaching and teaching, and my boss, the head pro here, allows me to do it."

Horstman's only previous coaching experience was in the spring of 2007, when he guided the South Medford boys team. The following October, he left his job as an assistant at Centennial to go to Illahe Hills.

Despite limited coaching experience, Horstman is quite familiar with the Northwest Conference, of which Willamette is a member. He was one of the top players for the University of Pacific for four years, graduating in 2006.

Both Willamette programs have been down in recent years. This past spring, they both finished eighth in the nine-team conference tournament.

Horstman had only six men and four women to work with. In tournaments, teams are allowed to bring six players and count the scores of four, so there was little to no margin for error.

"There's really no qualifying or working your way up for a spot," says Horstman. "It's more of qualifying to see what spot you've got. It's brutal in that regard, but it's been a really good experience."

He loses three seniors from the men's team and two from the women's, but has 11 recruits already lined up. All but two are men, so he'll be sending out e-mails and checking around to see if there are other women looking for a place to play.

"The men, it's just a matter of developing those players," he says. "We've got a strong four or five guys, and they're all freshmen. It just depends on how they can handle themselves in a tournament atmosphere. They've already proven themselves at the high school level."

Coaching in college is "all about recruiting," he says.

But there's teaching, too. With small numbers, he and an assistant worked closely with all the players. Most of the work was short-game oriented, showing players a variety of drills and working on fundamentals such as grip and alignment.

Horstman set a goal of making it to nationals in the third year of his regime.

"We'll see what happens," he says.

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