1004597488 Kevin Klabunde-2.JPG
1004597488 Kevin Klabunde-2.JPG

SOGC: Klabunde regroups for victory

Kevin Klabunde had to do a little extra work to win his ninth title at the 89th Southern Oregon Golf Championships.

Klabunde had a chance to close out Rich Flink in the finals of the Senior Men’s Championship Flight on the 18th hole at the Rogue Valley Country Club Monday but his 3-foot putt went wide of the cup.

Klabunde, playing in sandles because of a broken toe, took care of business on the first extra hole. Klabunde sank a 4-foot downhill par-putt after Flink missed an 8-footer for par on the 523-yard hole No. 1.

“It keeps me from over swinging for sure,” said Klabunde, about his unconventional footwear. “I putted a few I should have chipped and that last one, I chipped, and maybe should have putted.”

Klabunde, 64, was referring to his third shot on the extra hole.

Klabunde hit a big drive — propelled down the fairway by landing on the cart path — that ended up only 192 yard to the hole. Then he hit a 6-iron pin high to the left fringe just off the green.

But the third shot, a chip, went a few feet and was still nestled in the fringe. Then he putted past the pin and won the title on his next stroke.

Flink, the former superintendent of Reames Country Club in Klamath Falls, last played in the SOGC in 1977.

“For a guy who lost, I’m happy with the way I played,” said Flink, 64. “I hit the drive good and hit greens. My putting cost me today.”

The back-and-forth match was even after the front nine and all square after 14 holes.

On the par-3 15th, both players found the sand trap just left of the green on their tee-shots. Flink, who now lives in Medford, blasted out about 20-feet past the hole while Klabunde demonstrated nice touch by just clearing the lip of the bunker and the ball released to within 5-feet from the cup. Flink’s putt rolled past the hole and Klabunde sank his to go 1-up.

Flink got it all squared on the 16th by reaching the green in two and two putting from 20-feet, while Klabunde three putted after his second shot went long just off the top of the green.

Klabunde grabbed the lead by winning the par-3 17th.

Klabunde landed his drive about 35-feet above the hole on the green and Flink put his tee-shot down a slope to the right of the green. Flink’s chip went past the pin and rested just off the putting surface. Klabunde was faced with a dangerous downhill putt.

“I don’t like it,” he exclaimed before stroking it 3-foot short of the hole and made the putt after Flink’s little chip came up short.

Needing to just halve the 18th to go home, Klabunde’s second shot came to rest right behind a newly planted tree on the right-side of the fairway but fortunately he got relief from the flagged obstacle. Klabunde recovered with a third shot pin-high about just off the green about 20-feet away but three-putted to keep the match going.

“It was a straight putt that I yanked to the left edge,” said Klabunde about the missed 4-foot putt that would have ended the match. “I slapped my leg and cursed myself out.”

This was Klabunde’s third title in four years in Senior Men and his sixth title in that division. He also has two crowns in Junior/Senior Men, 1996 and 1998, and one Men’s title (2001).

Former Crater High boys basketball coach Dave Orr pulled an upset by defeating Medford golf legend Doug Olson 1-up in Super Senior Men for his first championship.

Olson has three SOGC Men’s championships to his credit. The 71-year-old retired CPA won three NCAA golf titles in four years playing for University of Houston from 1966-69. He played on the PGA tour before a back injury forced him to retire in 1978.

“(Orr) was hitting great shots and he’s a tough competitor,” said Olson. “I was scruffing it too much.

The first hole might have been indicative it was Orr’s day when he hit his drive about 90-feet into some trees but still won the hole.

Olson almost made a hole-in-one on the 15th and the birdie squared the match before Orr parred the 380-yard 16th hole to take the lead. Orr won the match with a 4-foot sidehill, downhill putt on the 18th.

“I missed the same putt on 17,” said Orr about his chance to end the match one hole sooner. “I know Doug’s reputation. I’ve watched him play a lot. I knew I would have to be very consistent.”

Orr was in prime condition after retiring to Arizona last winter.

“I play four times a week now,” said Orr, 66. “If I don’t play, I’m practicing. As an old jock and coach, this tournament allows me to compete again. You build relationships with people all over the Northwest. As much as you like them, you want to beat them.”

Medford’s Trina Jones defeated Jessica Young 4-up to post her second Women’s championship.

“It was the deepest field I’ve played in,” said Jones, who won in 2008 and has played in the finals six times. “I stayed within myself and played to my strengths.”

Jones, 54, was 2-up after the first 18 of the 36-hole match.

Young, who won the city title and is a recent graduate of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, stayed in contention before Jones sank a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th hole to go three up and ended the match on the next hole.

“The fact I made it to the finals was a huge thing,” said Jones. “The draw was so strong.”

Steve Taormino of Grants Pass cruised to his fourth Junior/Senior title in five years with a 9 and 8 victory over John Ellsworth.

George Mack, of Portland, just keeps on winning. The 78-year-old Mack won the initial year of the Legendary Men’s championship (75-over) with a 2-and-1 win over Medford’s Bob Maentz.

Mack has a SOGC record 14 titles and has won in all five divisions.

Marla Parmele of Medford built a big lead and defeated defending Senior Women’s champion Shelly Lehrkind 5 and 3.

Former three-time Men’s champion Kevin Murphy edged Joey Walker 2 and 1 in the first-year of the Professional Flight.

SOGC MATCH PLAY

MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Matt Hedges def. Mike Barry 10 & 9

MEN’S FIRST FLIGHT

Gerry Snyder def. Mark Wilson 4 & 3

MEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Jake Rockwell def. Ryan Kantor 1 up

MEN’S THIRD FLIGHT

Tyler Arnsberg def. Keith Dierkes 19th hole

MEN’S FOURTH FLIGHT

Alec Williamson def. Josh Huffman 1 up

MEN’S FIFTH FLIGHT

Ben Running def. Shawn Shumate 1 up

MEN’S SIXTH FLIGHT

Collin Krueger def. Tanner Lawton 1 up

MEN’S SEVENTH FLIGHT

Taylor Boyd def. Stephen Odell 1 up

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Steve Taormino def. John Ellsworth 9 & 8

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT

Todd Dixon def. Brandon Crosier 2 & 1

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR SECOND FLIGHT

Chris Norlander def. Chris Sollom 2 & 1

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR THIRD FLIGHT

Jim Mansfield def. Bill Savarino 2 & 1

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR FOURTH FLIGHT

Greg Jones def. Darin Hess 4 & 3

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR FIFTH FLIGHT

Rick Hutchins def. Kevin Jones 1 up

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR SIXTH FLIGHT

Thadd Reeder def. Jim Stormo 3 & 2

MEN’S JUNIOR-SENIOR SEVENTH FLIGHT

Brian Sherill def. Brian Carr 5 & 4

SENIOR MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Kevin Klabunde def. Rich Flink 19th hole

SENIOR MEN’S FIRST FLIGHT

Kenneth Stringer def. Bruce Hart 2 & 1

SENIOR MEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Dan Keck def. Robert Hyer 1 up

SENIOR MEN’S THIRD FLIGHT

Brian Adolph def. Stan Presley 1 up

SENIOR MEN’S FOURTH FLIGHT

Brian Odell def. Brad Heilman 1 up

SENIOR MEN’S FIFTH FLIGHT

Ron Moore def. Kevin Aguirre 1 up

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

David Orr def. Doug Olsen 1 up

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S FIRST FLIGHT

John Johnson def. Billy Crenshaw 1 up

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Ron Howard def. Gordon Empey 7 & 6

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S THIRD FLIGHT

John Dunkin def. Robert Vetorino 1 up

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S FOURTH FLIGHT

Michael Cooper def. Richard Brekke 20th hole

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S FIFTH FLIGHT

Scott Swendiman def. Gary Bates 2 & 1

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S SIXTH FLIGHT

Eldon Powley def. Michael Goldman 1 up

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S SEVENTH FLIGHT

Jim Garrison def. John Bucchino 1 up

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S EIGHTH FLIGHT

John Rey def. Mike Armitage 19th hole

SUPER SENIOR MEN’S NINTH FLIGHT

Gary Wood def. Steve Warrington 4 & 3

LEGENDARY MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

George Mack Sr. def. Robert Maentz 2 & 1

LEGENDARY MEN’S FIRST FLIGHT

Tom Hamlin def. Ron Dickson 19th hole

LEGENDARY MEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Jim Quincy def. Len Merryman 1 up

LEGENDARY MEN’S THIRD FLIGHT

Phil Gossner def. Jim Arnsberg 1 up

PROFESSIONAL FLIGHT

Kevin Murphy def. Joey Walker 2 & 1

PROFESSIONAL FIRST FLIGHT

Scott Simpson def. Jeff Ott 1 up

WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Trina Jones def. Jessica Young 4 up

WOMEN’S FIRST FLIGHT

Kelly Loeb def. Marianne Pea 5 & 4

WOMEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Laura Rommes def. Genna Mettler 3 & 2

WOMEN’S THIRD FLIGHT

Michele Orrico def. Janice Moore 3 & 2

SENIOR WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Marla Parmele def. Shelley Lehrkind 5 & 3

SENIOR WOMEN’S FIRST FLIGHT

LaVonne Kirkwood def. Janet Stark 2 & 1

SENIOR WOMEN’S SECOND FLIGHT

Sue Hunter def. Michele Sandifur 2 up

SENIOR WOMEN’S THIRD FLIGHT

Jane Conrad def. Dana McIntosh 4 & 3

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480 or fsilow@mailtribune.com.

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