Mike Barry and Bret Breeze teamed up last year to win the men's championship in the Southern Oregon Golf Tournament.
Breeze packed the bag, Barry hit the shots.
This year, one of them will soon be available as a caddie because they meet each other today in the Sweet Sixteen, an elimination match, at Rogue Valley Country Club.
On Friday, Barry defeated Colin Tucker, 6 and 5, and Breeze downed Kyle Bleser, 2 and 1.
"My goal is to just go out there and try to have fun," said Breeze. "We've played a ton of rounds together, so it'll be a comfortable match. It's kind of strange playing a guy who grew up caddying for me, and last year I caddied for him in the finals.
"He should beat me most of the time, but we'll see."
In other men's matches, medalist Kevin Klabunde prevailed but only after another dogfight, beating Dave Culbertson 3 and 1; Phoenix High senior Daniel Engle earned a date today with three-time winner Brooks Newsom by virtue of a 1-up win over Todd Ostenson; Newsom beat Dave Judd, 7 and 6; and J.T. Compher, last year's runner-up, outlasted Ross Jesswein, 3 and 2, and faces University of Oregon player Eric Grimberg today; Grimberg defeated J.C. Riter, 5 and 3.
In senior men's play, Jim Smith, who has three overall titles, won on the 19th hole over Bob Harrell, a co-medalist bidding to tie Ed Godden for the most senior titles at seven; Chris Littleton downed Mike Hornbeck, 3 and 2; co-medalists Dan Dixon and George Mack advanced, but another co-medalist, David Boals, fell 3 and 2 to Jerry Cochrane.
In the junior-senior men's matches, defending champion Alex Merkner put away Tom Powley on the final hole for a 1-up win; Jerry Eklund topped former winner Tom Deathrage, 2 and 1; and Brad Bills, Glen Clark and Kelly Rasmussen were among those to advance.
Breeze closed out Bleser with a 2-foot birdie putt on No. 17.
"I hit it pretty solid today, at least through 12 holes," he said. "Then I hit a couple goofy shots."
Klabunde's second straight 3-and-1 win left him shaking his head.
"Those are two of the toughest matches I've had to start out in a long time," he said. "I was even par yesterday and went 17, and I was 3 under today and went 17."
Twice he and Culbertson halved holes with birdies.
Klabunde went two-up with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 16th, then won it with a par on the next hole.
Engle played in the same group as Newsom and got a sneak preview of the challenge that awaits today. Also in his group is Alex Street, a senior at St. Mary's who downed Tim Croft, 2 and 1.
This is the first SOGT for Engle and Street.
"It was nice to get the qualifying round over," said Engle, referring to jitters. "I just wanted to get in the championship flight."
He caddied for his dad since he was about 10 and was heartened last year when Phoenix teammate Compher made it to the finals.
"I'm just kind of having fun, hitting one shot at time," said Engle, who hangs out with Street away from the course. "It'll be a fun pairing."
On Friday, Engle didn't match his play of the previous day, when he was 2 under through 12 holes; instead, he was about 7 over through 17.
"We finished pretty well," he said, "but the start was pretty rough."
Smith gained a measure of revenge on Harrell, who defeated him five years ago in their only meeting here. One might think they would have matched up more often, but, said Smith, "I seldom make it through the first match."
He was joking, of course.
Harrell had the upper hand early, chipping in on No. 2 for par and nearly flying his approach in on No. 3, resulting in a pick-up birdie.
"I looked at my caddie," said Smith, "and said, 'He's used up all his trickery.' But Bob never gives up."
Smith won the fifth and seventh holes to square the match, then it was back-and-forth the rest of the way. He won with a birdie on the first extra hole, the par-5 first on the outside course.
"Bob Harrell is a very major obstacle," said Smith. "I love the guy, but he is a major obstacle."
Now Smith faces George Mack, another longtime player and multiple winner.
"I'm ahead of him 1-0," said Smith, who said the win came in the early 1990s and that Mack still owes him dinner as a result. "I'm not going to let him forget it, either."
Merkner remained in line to defend his junior-senior title. He's been coming from Napa, Calif., to the SOGT for a half-dozen years.
"We come up with a group of guys from all over the country," he said. "It's kind of a reunion."
Only four made it this year, but usually six to eight players come, he said.
Last year was a title breakthrough for Merkner, and he hopes to do it again, even though he rates his game at only 80 percent of capability.
"It's a little iffy, but it's match play, so it doesn't have to be perfect," said Merkner, who had to punch out from trees on his last two holes before subduing Powley. "If this were stroke play, I wouldn't stand a snowball's chance. But it's nice for a once-a-week golfer like me to play match play."
Merkner faces Eklund today.
Championship Flight — Mike Barry d. Colin Tucker, 6 and 5; Bret Breeze d. Kyle Bleser, 2 and 1; John Warner d. Ryan Schaefer, 1 up; Ryan Hawkins d. Brent Barr, 1 up; Brooks Newsom d. Dave Judd, Daniel Engle d. Todd Ostenson, 2 and 1; Chris Polski d. Hamilton Baehr, 4 and 2; Alex Street d. Tim Croft, 2 and 1; Kevin Klabunde d. Dave Culbertson, 3 and 1; Don Gorman d. Justin Wise, 4 and 3; Eric Grimberg d. JC Riter, 5 and 3; JT Compher d. Ross Jesswein, 3 and 2; Joey Rossknecht d. Kelly Owen, 3 and 2; N. Budziszewski d. Rich Decker, 3 and 2; Scott Wise d. Jerom Gilbert, 6 and 5; Nic Polski d. Brian Leitgeb, 2 and 1.
First Flight — Brooks Gard d. Mike Finnell, 1 up; Bryan Brutke d. Hank Munn, 1 up; Mike Speigel d. Bill Maentz, 2 and 1; B. Robertson d. Rick Hutchins, 4 up; Todd Dixon d. Darrell Flora, 1 up; Rick Abel d. Rob Husel, 1 up; Dan Westbrook d. Jay Azevedo, 4 and 3; Eric Ford d. Travis Boersma, 4 and 3; Brian Mosier d. Rick Nelson, 3 and 2; Travis Brink d. Kyle Oldfield, 6 and 5; Kyle Freeman d. Sean McGlinn, 6 and 4; Jaime Burton d. Keith Lallo, 4 and 3; Doug Olson d. B. Marshall, 19th; Perry Hunt d. Dave Cuttrell, 5 and 3; Mike Hagert d. Chad McCollum, 4 and 3; J. Robinson d. Chris Wood, 5 and 3.
Second Flight — D. Zwagerman d. Ralph Wallis, 19th; Geoff Loomis d. John Kandaris, 3 and 2; Rob Neff d. Andy Badia, 1 up; Ryan Suvoy d. Kelly Green, 1 up; R. Goosman d. S. Cordeiro, 4 and 3; Mark Wilson d. Tom Leavens, 6 and 5; Tony Ghiz d. E. Pederson, 2 and 1; Jeff Barry d. Paul Bloom, 2 up.
Third Flight — Jeff Horn d. Brock Peters, 20th ; Curtis Wagoner d. Craig Fox, 1 up; David Yu d. Chad Cota, 1 up; Scott Reed d. Grant Clark, 1 up.
Third Flight Consolation — Bobby Foote d. Tom Purtzer, 3 and 2; Matt Smith d. D. Moreland, 1 up; RJ Glover d. Scot Hansen, 3 and 2; Joe Arnesen d. Gil Pugliano, 4 and 3.
Fourth Flight — Rick Scruggs d. Darrel Hunt, 1 up; Jake Crews d. Ken Harle, 1 up; Jeff Morgan d. Jim Hauck, 2 and 1; Steve Ferreira d. Fritz Schuler, 3 and 2.
Fourth Flight Consolation — Jon Ausland d. Steve Bernard, 19th; Daryn Clark d. Kevin Tucker, 2 and 1; Thomas Hamlin d. Erik Stamm, 20th; Rick Lozano d. Greg Jacobs, 3 and 1.
Championship Flight — Alex Merkner d. Tom Powley, 1 up; Jerry Eklund d. Tom Deatherage, 2 and 1; Ken Stringer d. Greg Miller, 3 and 2; Brad Bills d. Kevin Dixon, 3 and 2; Glen Clark d. Gary Loeb, 2 and 1; Jo Jessel d. David Street; 4 and 3; Kelly Rasmussen d. David Kaplan, 2 and 1; Mark Wilson d. Gary Sterton, 4 and 3.
First Flight — Dennis Slatery d. Tim Hornecker, 3 up; Scott Overy d. Mark Holden, 1 up; Staggenborg d. Rick McCabe, 1 up; Bill Crenshaw d. David Orr, 1 up; Brad Heilman d. Eric Doolen, 1 up; Doug Ward d. Tom Pepple, 2 up; Glenn Kilroy d. Brian Odell, 1 up; C. Gonczeruk d. Bob Wright, 1 up.
Second Flight — Mike Bottjer d. Jerry Quast 5 and 4; Wayne Van Wey d. E. Patterson, 5 and 4; Steve Wood d. Jim Botsford, 5 and 4; S. Swendiman d. J. Mansfield, 1 up; Ted Decker d. Bret Deforest, 2 and 1; Ray Cox d. M. Warrington, 1 up; Buck Brigham d. Randy Rupert, 5 and 3; Scott Mayfield d. Brian Adolph, 1 up.
Fourth Flight — Steve Watkins d. Tim Mort, 6 and 5; Dave Rowland d. Dave Mooers, 1 up; Tim Trower d. Rick Holcom, 4 and 2; Ron Harvey d. D. Doolittle, 2 and 1; C. Carnese d. Tom Wendt, 19th; Tom Wimmer d. Mark Smith, 1 up; Dan Wayman d. Roger Peck, 5 and 4; Ed Murphy d. Joel Engleson, 5 and 4.
Championship Flight — Chris Littleton d. M. Hornbeck, 3 and 2; Gene Allred d. Brent Orrico, 3 and 2; Jim Smith d. Bob Harrell, 1 up; George Mack d. Terry Anderson, 1 up; Dan Dixon d. H. Tomlinson, 4 and 3; Jerry Anderson d. Bruce Hart, 1 up; Jerry Cochrane d. David Boals, 3 and 2; Bob Dickey d. John Johnson, 5 and 4.
First Flight — Bob Maentz d. John Dunkin, 1up; Pat Daggitt d. Jim Hatton, 19th; Craig Galpern d. Don Pinkham, 2 and 1; Phil Iantosca d. Larry Garvin, 4 and 3; Jim Quincy d. Randy Loyd, 2 and 1; Steven Welch d. Bill Shevlin, 2 and 1; Tom Hamlin d. Mark Fawver, 1 up; Jim Taylor d. Stan Smith, 1 up.
Fourth Flight — Dick Entinger d. J. Thomason, 1 up; B. Mcdonald d. Wayne Tait, 2 up; Gary Redden d. Tim Darland, 6 and 5; Bob Bray d. Ralph Perry, 3 and 2; D. Sorenson d. Mike Jantzer, 3 and 2; D. Mansfield d. John Kreusi, 2 and 1; John Barker d. G. Carrigan, 1 up; John Zupan d. Ron Dixon, 3 and 2.
Sixth Flight — Wendall Towe d. Bob Doolen, 1 up; Gary Mann d. Fuzz Primasing, 2 and 1; Fred Moran d. Jim Stough, 19th; Tom Nelson d. Jim Barry, 1 up.
Seventh Flight — Les Cracraft d. Larry Kier, forfeit; Fred Johnson d. Mike Confer; 2 up; John Root d. Pete Amorde, 2 up; Dodd Samuel d. M. Kirkpatrick, 1 up.
Eighth Flight — B. Replogle d. J. Bramwell, 1 up; Jay Gosselin d. S. Warrington, 1 up; Jan Garner d. Mike Connors, 6 and 4; Mike Trovato d. jack Henson, 1 up.
Ninth Flight — Mike Snyder d. D. Henselman, 1 up; Warren Parke d. Stephen Polus, 1 up; Pete Puljan d. Ken Gilmore; Pat Irabarren d. John Anhorn, 1 up.
Tenth Flight — Don Sauls d. Thad Hodgdon, 19th; Scott Milne d. Gary Bendickson, 1 up; Bob Reed d. Wally Hicks, 2 up; Phil Cash d. Lee Fortier, 19th.
Eleventh Flight — John Duke d. Don Todd, 1 up; Ron Van Vleet d. Ted Hughes, 1 up; John Kilroy d. Dan Kosmatka, 2 and 1.
Fourth Flight — Tory Nieto d. Becky Barry, 1 up; Barb Stormo d. Julie Austad, 2 up; Maggie Kilroy d. Cathy Trower, 19th; Patti Ward d. M. Belieu, 1 up
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org