Sandy Day is, ahem, old enough to play in the women’s senior division of the Southern Oregon Golf Championships.
She did so the past couple years, winning it in 2016 and placing second last year
This year, she dropped back into the women’s division.
Watch out, kids.
Day eagled the first hole of her qualifying round Wednesday at Rogue Valley Country Club, then showcased marvelous up-and-down skills and posted a sometimes erratic, but ultimately effective, 1-under-par 72 to claim medalist honors.
She was hesitant to say how good it felt to beat younger players, some quite a bit her junior.
“But I feel pretty frickin’ awesome about that,” she gushed.
Day turns 60 in November. On Wednesday, she stayed below that number much longer than most players.
Play was reserved for women and out-of-town men to qualify, determining medalists in each division and setting the flights and pairings for match play in the 89th edition of the tournament. Matches begin today and continue through Monday, when all championships will be contested.
Day edged Terry Levis, who shot 74, for medalist. Day parred the last hole, while Levis, the 2013 winner, made double bogey. Aubrie Street shot 75.
In the women’s senior, Marla Parmele’s 78 led the way over her mother, Jan Hughes, and Tina Blum, who each came in at 86.
In the men’s regular, Chris Polski, the 2015 champion, caught fire early with five birdies in the first seven holes, setting up a 66 and medalist honors 10 years after he won them as a 21-year-old. He surpassed Taylor Klemp, who shot 68 Tuesday, when local men qualified.
Riggs Loftin shot 70 on Tuesday, and Mike Barry had a 71 on Wednesday, matching Mike Nieto’s round of a day earlier. Matt Hedges shot 72 on Tuesday.
In the men’s junior-senior, Cameron Mitchell’s 71 on Wednesday overtook Jeff Barry’s 72 for medalist.
In the men’s senior, former two-time regular champion Scott Tuttle fired a 69, edging Mark Wilson Sr., who had a 70.
In the men’s super senior, Billy Crenshaw’s 73 held up, as did the 74 of Bob Harrell in the men’s legends.
In the pro division, Joey Walker’s 73 was good for medalist.
Day felt obligated to defend her senior title last year. But, a 4 handicap, she felt she belonged in the women’s division this year.
The eagle on the first hole cemented that notion. Her 3-iron shot from a divot scooted to the green, coming to rest 12 feet from the hole.
A couple bogeys tempered her euphoria, but two birdies on the next three holes put her back in a groove.
It wasn’t the most efficient round. She had only one par on the front nine but still shot 2-under 34.
“You can ask the girls I played with,” said Day. “Behind a tree, hit it up there, done, par or birdie. I was erratic today, but my short game is absolutely my strong point. I can chip and putt to no end.”
Day took up golf only 15 years ago. She’s a reining horse trainer on the family’s 40-acre ranch near Williams. After one of the animals fell on her, resulting in a spiral fracture in her left leg, she gave up another hobby — running — and sought an activity less stressful on her leg.
“I thought maybe golf would be kind of fun,” she said, “so I picked it up.”
Day, who played a variety of sports before her injury, was self-taught and it came easy to her. Her first handicap was 18; she was in single digits within three years.
On Wednesday, she had four birdies, but none after the 10th hole.
“I knew I was probably sitting on something good and got nervous,” she said. “I was choking up 3 or 4 inches on my driver, but I felt pretty good because I was driving the ball as far or farther than these young girls. So that felt good.”
Parmele can relate to leg injuries. She spent much of the spring and summer recuperating after a misstep left her with breaks in her right ankle and lower leg. Two plates and 11 screws keep her from pushing it too hard and kept her out of the women’s division this year.
Her highlight was a par at the par-3 13th, on which a dastardly, sloped pin placement drove most players bonkers.
“I was feeling good about that,” said Parmele. “It turned things around for me at that point. I was 2 over really fast on the back, so when I parred that hole, it got my adrenaline going a little bit.”’
She made her lone birdie on No. 16, sinking a 35-foot putt.
Polski, from Eugene, has had a successful summer, and earning medalist just added to his achievements.
Three weeks ago, he qualified for next month’s U.S. Mid-Amateur in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also lost the Oregon Public Links title in a playoff.
“It’s been a solid year, nothing crazy,” said Polski, the golf coach at Northwest Christian University. “I’ve been playing a bit and it’s been nice. Coaching keeps me close to the game.”
Polski birdied the first hole, then Nos. 4 through 7.
“I played pretty steady all day and didn’t do anything too flashy,” he said. “My iron play was good. I just kind of stayed out of trouble, kept it in the fairways and on the greens.”
He had eight birdies, missed only one green and hit a couple par 5s in two.
“It’s always fun to play a round like that,” he said, “where it’s just seamless. You don’t really have to do too much.”
Tuttle won consecutive SOGC men’s regular crowns in 2002 and ‘03 and has only played once since then after moving from area. The Bend resident shelved his competitive game for much of the past 10 years for other priorities.
He’s gotten back into the swing this summer.
“My game has steadily gotten better as the summer progressed and I’ve played more,” he said. “I’ve had some good rounds here and there, and it feels like it’s coming together.”
Tuttle made four birdies, including one on the 18th, in a steady round. Two of his biggest putts were about 10 feet for pars on the ninth and 10th holes.
“That was pretty key to the round,” he said. “You don’t want to lose momentum in the middle of the round. Making those putts kind of righted the ship, and I started hitting fairways and greens. It was pretty much smooth sailing from there.”
Tuttle was medalist a half-dozen times when playing in the men’s regular.
“It’s kind of fun doing it again,” he said. “I’m still playing against the same guys I used to have trouble with all those years ago. I wish they’d go back to the regulars.”
SOGC Qualifying Round
Chris Polski 66, Mike Barry 71, Jake Quast 74, Michael Borton 74, Gerry Snyder 75, Kurt Schneider 75, JC Ritter 76, Kevin Knox 77, Brian Jones 77, Charlie Moore 77, Seth Walters 81, Curtis Wagoner 81, Steve Forbes 83, Tim Hornecker 84, Tyler Arnsberg 85, Rich Mettler 85, Josh Huffman 87, Alec Williamson 90, Greg Beckner 91, Tim Shaw 95, Collin Kruger 96, John Campoy 97, Stephan Odell 101, Scott Sterton 105.
Cameron Mitchell 71, Ryan Schaefer 73, John Ellsworth 75, Gary Kovac 78, Tim Arnsberg 80, Chris Gonezeruk 80, Andy Baida 80, Parrish Barker 80, Mark Mullaney 85, Bill Savarino 86, Brooks Gard 87, Chris Norlander 88, Chris Sollom 88, Jeff Morgan 88, Jim Mansfield 91, Alex Clark 91, Jay Klemp 92, Darin Hess 92, Greg Jones 93, James Retzloff 95, Daryn Clark 95, Kevin Jones 97, Jason Johnson 98, Billy Burke 99, Brian Sherrill 100, Jim Stormo 101, Thad Reeder 101, Jad Dickson 102, Erik Stamm 105, James Figueroa 105.
Scott Tuttle 69, Mark Wilson 70, Kevin Croucher 75, David Kaplan 77, Bruce Hart 78, Scott Moore 78, David Voss 79, Gary Loeb 80, Alex Merkner 81, David Allen 81, Joel Jessel 82, Anthony Marquez 82, Paul Gulick 82, Jim White 85, Gary Sterton 85, Stanley Presley 85, Phil Reynolds 86, Brent Orrico 86, Dwayne McIntosh 86, Brad Heilman 88, Brian Odell 88, Ron Merryman 89, Lance Hunter 89, Rick McCabe 90, Greg Cotton 90, Michael Diehl 91, Tim Gray 92, Christian Carrigan 95, Kevin Aguirre 95.
MEN’S SUPER SENIOR
Greg Miller 72, Tom Powley 77, David Orr 78, Lang Bates 79, Ken Weist 79, Conrad Caprez 80, Scott Mayfield 80, Ross Cooley 81, Doug Ward 81, Gordon Empey 84, Stan Sherer 85, Robert Vetorino 85, Ron Howard 85, Vaughn Schneider 85, John Dunkin 85, Dodd Samuel 87, Jerry Sessions 88, Lou Tittle 89, Scott Swendiman 89, Michael Cooper 90, Eldon Powley 91, Roger Peck 91, Kenneth Linden 92, Dwight Samuel 92, Jim Hauck 93, Mark Fawver 94, John Bucchino 94, Patrick O’Brien 95, Cliff Barnett 96, John Rey 97, George Parsons 97, Gary Wood 98, Rodger Campuzano 101, Gilbert Roque 103.
David Mansfield 86, John Root 94, Jim Arnsberg 96, Pete Puljan 103.
Joey Walker 73, Chris Daggitt 77, Scott Simpson 78, Sean Cockrum 95.
Sandy Day 72, Baylee Hammericksen 73, Terry Levis 74, Aubrie Street 75, Trina Jones 77, Toni Watkins 77, Jessica Young 77, Johnna Nealy 78, Kelly Loeb 79, Marianne Pea 81, Melinda Heiner 82, Amanda Nealy 84, Kirsten Reed 84, Rachael Wickenheiser 86, Lindsey Crosier 88, Tracie Armitage 88, Sarah Clark 89, Laura Rommes 90, Julia Tissen 90, Genna Mettler 92, Christina Mascal 92, Tory Nieto 94, Makenna Clark 94, Michelle Orrico 95, Francie Bostwick 95, Janice Moore 95, Laura Pinkham 96, Ashley Snowden 97, Barbara Stormo 101, Dana Powers-Clark 107, Heather Wise 116.
Marla Parmele 78, Jan Hughes 86, Tina Blum 86, Pamela Faurote 89, Karen Fay 90, Deb Stuart 90, Lavonne Kirkwood 90, Maureen McFaddin 90, Cathy Dunlap 90, Cathy Trower 91, Sharon Swartsley 92, Julie Schamanek 93, LeeAnn Loftin 93, Janet Stark 93, Barbara Pinkham 94, Sue Hunter 95, Michele Sandifur 95, Cathee Shorkey 96, Darla Allen 96, Dana Carrigan 97, Barb Reed 98, Jane Conrad 98, Julie Veley 99, Susan Stringer 99, Tami Surplus 101, Pamela Schepis 102, Dana McIntosh 104, Mary Wittenberg 107, Stephanie Heilman 108, Peggy Tomlins 108, Nancy Gish 110.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or email@example.com