Rich Flink has made a triumphant return to the Southern Oregon Golf Championships.
After 41 years.
Flink, a former junior champion while growing up in Klamath Falls and a longtime course superintendent, is in the tourney for the first time since 1977.
He defeated defending men’s senior division champion Glen Clark on Friday in the second round of match play at Rogue Valley Country Club, using a steady driver and solid iron play to secure a 3-and-1 triumph.
“I was really nervous at the start, to tell you the truth,” said Flink of facing Clark, who also won the senior division in 2014. “Then I settled down a little bit.”
He’ll get another tough customer today when he takes on Brad Bills in the quarterfinals. Bills, who has regular and junior-senior titles to his credit, downed Marshall Holman, 1 up. Other winners in the division included Kevin Klabunde, 2 and 1 over Kevin Croucher, and Scott Tuttle, 1 up over Kevin Dixon.
In men’s regular play, Brian Jones advanced from a showdown of players headed to the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship when he defeated Chris Polski, 2 up.
Polski was medalist this week with a 66 in qualifying and was the 2015 champion. He advanced to the Mid-Am, which will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, later this month, from a qualifier at Oswego Lake Country Club in Lake Oswego.
The odds that he’d meet up with another Mid-Am entrant here were long, then came Jones.
Jones, from Chico, California, was runner-up in a qualifier at Peachtree Golf and Country Club in Marysville, California, shooting a 68.
The Mid-Am national championship is for players 25 and older with handicap indexes of 3.4 or lower. There were 4,709 entries this year, the most in 21 years.
Among other men’s regular winners, Jake Quast downed Michael Borton, 1 up, and will face Jones today. Mike Barry topped Jordan Jacobs, 8 and 7; and Bryan Wheelock tripped Ethan DeVore, 1 up.
In the men’s junior senior, Steve Taormino beat Parish Barker, 1 up; Johnny Mansfield topped Bret Breeze on the 19th hole; and David Cuttrell upended Todd Couch, 1 up.
In the men’s super senior, Bob Dickey ousted medalist Greg Miller, 2 and 1, and Doug Olson beat Dan Dixon, 2 and 1.
Winners in the legends division included Bob Maentz, 6 and 5 over Ron Dixon, and Dick Entinger, 1 up over Tom Hamlin.
In the women’s senior, defending champion Shelley Lehrkind downed Barb Pinkham, 3 and 2; Tina Blum defeated Julie Schamanek, 1 up; and Jan Hughes won on the 19th hole over Lee Ann Loftin.
Flink was a 1972 graduate of Klamath Union High School, and the summer before won the Pacific Northwest Junior Amateur.
He played one year at the University of Oregon.
His work career included a couple of stints on the grounds crew at RVCC before moving over to Reames Country Club in Klamath Falls, where he worked for 40 years before retiring in 2016.
Against Clark, and battling nerves, he got off to a rough start by missing a short putt.
But Flink quickly righted himself and was 2 up after three holes. Clark rallied to square the match but never grabbed a lead.
“I started hitting the ball and throwing it next to the hole and made some birdies and a lot of pars and hung in there,” said Flink.
His birdies came at 3, 15 and 16, along with a conceded one on 17.
The birdie on 16 was “miraculous,” he said. His tee shot was next to a tree just right of the fairway. When he attempted a big cut shot, it found a fir tree on the left. He punched out from the tree to the fringe and made a 20-foot putt to halve the hole.
At the 17th, Flink was on the green in two, and when Clark’s greenside bunker shot flew long, he gave the hole to Flink, ending the match.
Flink had another key shot from the trees to the right of the 14th fairway. He cut a 5-iron to the green and two-putted to halve the hole.
“I didn’t win the hole,” he said, “but it could have been a disaster.”
Flink was 1 under par on the day.
“I got into a groove and hit the driver good, which is important to me, to keep it in play,” he said.
Match play continues through Monday, when championships in all divisions will be held.
SOGC Match Play
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Brian Jones def. Chris Polski 2 up, Jake Quast def. Michael Borton 1 up, Jacob Gooding def. Mike Nieto 1 up, Mike Barry def. Jordan Jacobs 8 & 7, Taylor Klemp def. Matt Stringer 1 up, Bryan Wheelock def. Ethan DeVore 1 up, Riggs Loftin def. Travis Brink 4 & 3, Matthew Hedges def. Kurt Schneider 2 & 1.
MEN’S FIRST FLIGHT
Kevin Knox def. Steve Forbes 2 & 1, Seth Walters def. Curtis Wagoner 2 up, Scott Weiland def. Logan Artner 1 up, Mark Wilson def. Matthew Breceda 1 up, Charlie Moore def. Lance Fowler 1 up, Gerry Snyder def. Travis Campoy 1 up, JC Ritter def. Eric Englebach 1 up, Brandon Chun def. Jeremiah Paladino 2 & 1.
MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Steve Taormino def. Parrish Barker 1 up, David Cuttrell def. Todd Couch 1 up, Ryan Schaefer def. Tim Arnsberg 5 & 4, Johnny Mansfield def. Bret Breeze 19th hole, Cameron Mitchell def. Richard Owens, Jr 3 & 2, Scott Wise def. Gary Kovac 5 & 4, Jeff Barry def. Chris Gonczeruk 1 up, John Ellsworth def. Eddie Bostwick 6 & 5.
MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT
Craig Knips def. Paul Kometz 7 & 6, Todd Dixon def. Todd Ostenson 1up, Mark Mullaney def. Mike Snowden 3 & 2, Robert Neff def. Michael Bauer 5 & 4, Andy Baida def. Joe Bowles 1 up, Ian Powers def. Bobby Foote 2 & 1, Benny Shapiro def. Ralph Wallis 3 up, Brandon Crosier def. Keith Lallo 3 & 2.
MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
Jay Klemp def. Bill Savarino 19th hole, Chris Norlander def. Bobby Jones 5 & 4, Matthew Johnson def. Joe Davis 2 & 1, Brooks Gard def. Glenn Johannes 8 & 6, Ron Stranahan def. Jim Mansfield 6 & 5, Chris Sollom def. George Johnston 19th hole, Rick Jackson def. Eric Artner 4 & 3, Loyd Scott def. Jeff Morgan 3 & 2.
MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
Dennis Richards def. Kevin Jones 2 up, John Couch def. Steve Tollefson 2 & 1, Joe Arneson def. Jim Retzlaff 3 & 2, Greg Jones def. Alex Clark 1 up, Mike Walker def. Rick Hutchins 2 & 1, Phil Heiner def. Michael O’Connell 19th hole, Daryn Clark def. Jack Lewis 1 up, Darin Hess def. Greg Jacobs 2 & 1.
MEN’S JUNIOR SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT
Jason Rowan def. Philip Smith 4 & 2, Jason Miller def. Brian Sherill 1 up, Mike Stavish def. Jad Dickson 19th hole, Thad Reeder def. Jason Johnson 2 & 1, Milo Smith def. James Figueroa 2 up, Chris Dufour def. Brian Carr 2 & 1, Kevin Primerano def. Erik Stamm 2 up, Jim Stormo def. Billy Burke 2 & 1.
MEN’S SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Rich Flink def. Glen Clark 3 & 1, Brad Bills def. Marshall Holman 1 up, Kevin Wu def. Stephen Wood 1 up, Eric Austad def. Jim Overmeyer 3 & 2, Scott Tuttle def. Kevin Dixon 1 up, Kevin Klabunde def. Kevin Croucher 2 & 1, Mark Wilson def. David Kaplan 19th hole, Brent Barr def. Alex Merkner 3 & 2.
MEN’S SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT
Kenneth Stringer def. Paul Gulick 1 up, Gary Loeb def. John Justin 2 & 1, Marty Morlan def. Jeffrey Blum 1 up, David Voss def. Dave Allen 1 up, Bruce Hart def. Anthony Marquez 2 & 1, Bruce Mendelson def. David George 3 & 2, Scott Moore def. Joel Jessel 1 up, Tom Pepple def. Dave Card 1 up.
MEN’S SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
Dan Keck def. Jimmy White 1 up, Tony Nieto def. Evan McArthur 21st hole, Robert Hyer def. Doug Engle 1 up, Tim Trower def. Steve Watkins 2 up.
MEN’S SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT
Brian Adolph def. Gary Sterton 1 up, Paul Reynolds def. Jerry Quast 1 up, Stan Presley def. Dwayne McIntosh 5 & 4, Brent Orrico def. Doug Hartley 2 & 1.
MEN’S SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
Brian Odell def. Greg Cotton 6 & 4, Lance Hunter def. Ron Merryman 2 & 1, Brad Heilman def. Ron Harvey 1 up, Richard Warner def. Tim Gray 1 up.
MEN’S SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT
Rick McCabe def. Scott Lubich 2 & 1, Kevin Aguirre def. Christian Carrigan 19th hole, Michael Diehl def. Craig Schumacher 1 up, Ron Moore def. Mike Snyder 1 up.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Bob Dickey def. Greg Miller 2 & 1, Doug Olson def. Dan Dixon 2 & 1, David Orr def. Doug Ward 1 up, Jerry Eklund def. Chris Littleton 1 up.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT
John Johnson def. Patrick Daggitt 2 & 1, Tom Powley def. Conrad Capraz 1 up, Billy Crenshaw def. Lang Bates 1 up, Kenny Weist def. Scott Mayfield 2 & 1.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
Ron Howard def. Ron Lewis 5 & 3, Carl Harsch def. Mike Smail 3 & 2, Terry Anderson def. Stan Sherer 19th hole, Gordon Empey def. Ross Cooley 1 up.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT
Robert Vetorino def. Larry Garvin 5 & 4, Samuel Dodd def. Jim Hatton 6 & 5, Vaughn Schneider def. Terrill Rasmussen 19th hole, John Dunkin def. Les Cracraft 1 up.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT
Mark Pagan def. Louis Tittle 5 & 4, Michael Cooper def. Wayne VanWey 1 up, Brian Schmitz def. John Kruesi 1 up, Richard Brekke def. Tim Wray 2 up.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT
Scott Swendiman bye, Bob Wolfe def. Jerry Sessions 3 & 2, Gary Bates def. Neill Smith 1 up, Jerry Carstens def. John Liston 3 & 2.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT
Eldon Powley def. Allen Carlson 1 up, John Lawton def. Don Pinkham 1 up, Michael Goldman def. Mark Fawver 4 & 2, Kenneth Linden def. Tom Michaels 6 & 4.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR SEVENTH FLIGHT
John Bucchino def. David Runyon 5 & 4, Jim Hauck def. Tom Barry 1 up, Roger Peck def. Dwight Samuel 3 & 2, Jim Garrison def. Ron Kantor 1 up.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR EIGHTH FLIGHT
Mike Armitage def. Michael Confer 1 up, Frank Lucas def. Rodger Campuzano 6 & 5, George Parsons def. Jim Barry 6 and 5, John Rey def. Gilbert Roque 5 & 4.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR NINTH FLIGHT
Gary Wood def. Paul Schleinitz 2 up, Tom Urby def. Cliff Barnett 4 & 3, Dan Marshall def. Gibb Mitchell 1 up, Steve Warrington def. Patrick O’Brien 1 up.
MEN’S LEGENDS CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Bob Harrell def. John Jensen 2 & 1, Robert Maentz def. Ron Dixon 6 & 5, George Mack, Sr. def. David Mansfield 2 & 1, Richard Entinger def. Tom Hamlin 1 up.
MEN’S LEGENDS SECOND FLIGHT
Jim Quincy def. Phil Gossner 2 up, Mike Trovato def. David Rasmussen 1 up, Len Merryman def. Pete Puljam 1 up, John Root def. Jim Arnsberg 1 up
WOMEN’S SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Shelley Lehrkind def. Barb Pinkham 3 & 2, Maureen McFaddin def. LaVonne Kirkwood 4 & 3, Tina Blum def. Julie Schamanek 1 up, Pamela Faurote def. Sharon Swartsley 5 & 4, Marla Parmele def. Janet Stark 6 & 4, Deb Stuart def. Cathy Dunlap 1 up, Jan Hughes def. Lee Ann Loftin 19th hole, Cathy Trower def. Karen Fay 1 up.
WOMEN’S SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT
Sue Hunter def. Nancy Gish 1 up, Julie Veley def. Susan Stringer 1 up, Darla Allen def. Mary Wittenberg 1 up, Dana Carrigan def. Dana McIntosh 1 up, Michele Sandifur def. Peg Tomlins 1 up, Tami Surplus def. Jane Conrad 1 up, Cathee Shorkey def. Stephanie Heilman 1 up, Barb Reed def. Pam Schepis 2 & 1
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or email@example.com