Compher charges into SOGT quarterfinals

Once again, J.T. Compher got a jump on Duck-hunting season.

The recent Phoenix High graduate continued what he hopes is another run to the Southern Oregon Golf Tournament men's division final with a 5-and-3 victory Saturday over University of Oregon player Eric Grimberg.

It's the second straight year Compher, who will play golf for Pacific University in Forest Grove come this fall, has taken down a Duck. Last year, he toppled Chris Dukeminier, who was a couple years removed from playing for Oregon.

In 2007, Compher went on to lose in the final to Mike Barry in his SOGT debut.

Beating a Division I player, said Compher, is good for his psyche.

"It's kind of like, I know I can play with that type of player," he said. "It's a confidence booster for sure."

And confidence will come in handy today as he meets medalist Kevin Klabunde in the quarterfinals. Klabunde downed Don Gorman 5 and 4.

In other men's matches, Mike Barry ousted Bret Breeze, 6 and 5; Brooks Newsom and Chris Polski each beat high school players 1-up, Newsom over Phoenix's Daniel Engle and Polski over St. Mary's Alex Street.

Meanwhile, South Medford's Nathan Budziszewski remained alive with a 1-up win over Joey Rossknecht.

Today's quarters have Barry facing John Warner, Newsom playing Polski and Budziszewski taking on Nic Polski in a matchup of recent Southwest Conference rivals. Nic Polski of Sheldon won the league title last spring.

Junior-senior men's winners were Jerry Eklund, who dispatched defending champion Alex Merkner, 2 and 1; Brad Bills, Glen Clark and Mark Wilson.

Senior men's winners were Gene Allred, Jim Smith, Dan Dixon and Jerry Cochrane.

Women's division winners to advance were Linda Johnson, Kelly Loeb, Stephanie Johns and Trina Jones.

Matches continue today, with finals in all flights Monday.

Compher jumped in front early against Grimberg and never felt threatened.

"It was a really good match," said Compher. "I played really solid. I didn't miss any fairways. I was hitting it pretty straight and hitting greens. I didn't putt good at all today. It was horrible. But I was leading the whole match so I didn't worry too much about it."

Grimberg didn't play was well as he did the day before, said Compher, when they were in the same group.

Compher won the first hole with a birdie, halved the second hole when he missed a 5-foot birdie putt and made par on the third hole to go 2-up.

Thereafter, his accurate ball striking had him on cruise control.

He'll need more of the same, and then some, against Klabunde today.

"I need to putt better," said Compher. "He's a really good putter. I just need to keep it in the fairways because my irons are good enough. If I hit my driver well and putt well, I have a good chance."

His experience last year has him believing he belongs on the short list of players to beat. And so far, there's nothing in his performance that would contradict that notion.

If all goes well, he hopes to get another shot at Barry, who triumphed 8 and 7 in the 36-hole championship match last year.

"I want to play him really bad, really bad," said Compher. "I want to take him on. He beat me pretty bad last year."

In addition to Saturday's matches, a nine-hole playoff was held to determine medalist in the senior men's division. Bob Harrell won out over Dan Dixon. David Boals dropped out during the nine played in chilly weather, and George Mack, who lives out of town, didn't participate.

All four players shot 73 in qualifying.

Harrell was medalist for the fifth time.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail

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