The reigning two-time senior men’s champion recovers enough from his crash to advance
A funny thing happened on the way to Kevin Klabunde potentially securing a 13th title at the Southern Oregon Golf Championships.
Well, not funny. Scarier, really.
Luckily for the Medford golfer, like a Timex watch, he can lick and keep ticking.
Despite a heavily secured right ankle and a bruised ego, Klabunde battled through Thursday to open play in the Senior Men’s Championship division with a 4&2 win over good friend Mike Finnell at Rogue Valley Country Club.
Klabunde, a two-time defending champion, has won five of the last seven senior men’s titles and eight overall.
But no later than around half an hour before his scheduled start time on Thursday, his ability to be able to compete was in doubt – all because curiosity got the better of him around 2pm Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re building a pool house by our pool and they’re in the excavation phase,” Klabunde said, “and they had discovered conduits and stuff. I wanted to see what they were doing and I jumped off our pool deck a few feet down but didn’t see their lift line and tripped over it and came down hard on my ankle and turned it right and spun stuck a finger and scratched my arm.
“It’s not something I’m really proud of,” he added with a laugh, “but I packed it all up and it took me three pairs of shoes to see which ones I could fit on my foot. after all the wrapping.”
Even then, Klabunde wasn’t quite sure if he could play in the 93rd annual match golf tournament.
“I really thought I was going to have to retire,” he admitted, “but I just stayed away (Wednesday) afternoon and evening and put ice cream on. My friend Rich Owens is a foot and ankle surgeon and he gave me some advice, and there was plenty of ibuprofen.
On Thursday morning, Klabunde said he had taken a few clubless swings after racing to see if he could put weight on the ankle and looked like he could give it a try. Even so, he only arrived at the club about 20 minutes before he started playing and hit very few practice shots to save on wear and tear.
Fortunately, Klabunde was able to win the first two holes of the match against Finnell, and a birdie on the fourth hole put him 3 and able to just finish the match.
“It hurt a bit to walk but I managed to win my match,” said Klabunde, who is coming off a super senior men’s win at the Rogue Valley Stroke Play Championships after posting rounds of 67 and 70. “I took that lead early and just hung on.
“It affected my swing a bit,” he added of the injury. “I kept shooting, but mostly it just hurt to walk.”
Thankfully, Klabunde said his good friend Terry Anderson offered to “carry me” as a caddy on Thursday and he relied on his golf cart as much as possible.
“We struggled and we made it,” added Klabunde, who also won the men’s regular title in 2001, the junior-senior title in 1996 and 1998 and the super senior title in 2019. take it day by day and see what happens.”
John Ellsworth, Ross Brownlie, Brad Bills, Rick Dollarhide, Mitch Weisberger, Marshall Holman and Todd Dixon also advanced to the senior men’s quarterfinals.
The women’s division was essentially seeded, with defending champion Johnna Nealy winning 6 and 5 on Sandy Day to open her bid for a fifth title.
Susie Hammitt, Marla Parmele, Trina Jones, medalist Kiana Oshiro, Staesha Flock, Stephanie Johns and Terry Levis also qualified for Saturday’s quarterfinals.
In the Men’s Championship category, medalist Dan Engle won to set up an intriguing second-round match with Cameron Smith, who finished tied for first place with Mark Wilson at the City Championships, but lost on the fourth hole. playoffs. Wilson also moved forward on Thursday to set up a potential rematch, hopefully for every player, in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
As not all scores had been announced at press time, the only lower seeds on the men’s side to advance were 21st seed Ben Purtzer, who won 1 over No. 12 Marcus Idiart, and 28th seeded Jordan Jenkins, who posted a similar score. against No. 5 Travis Campoy. Purtzer and Jenkins will meet in the second round.
In the junior-senior men’s division, the seeds held for all but three games, with the split ensuring that a seeded No. 22 or higher will play in Saturday’s quarterfinals after Craig Fox won 1 against No. 11 Frank Baracao and Blake Stouder won 4 and 2 over sixth-seeded Jeff Morgan. Fox and Stouder will meet in the second round on Friday.
The other lower seed to win was Erik Pedersen, who won 3 and 2 over 13th seed David Cuttrell.
Wins for Glen Clark, Gary Rafferty, Jerry Eklund, Lee Oltjenbruns, medalist Scott Tuttle, David George, Gregory Miller and Craig Vogensen were highlights in the super senior men’s category. Rafferty and George each won in the sudden death playoffs.
Full scores for all flights played on Thursday were not available at press time.
The Southern Oregon Golf Championships run through Monday at RVCC.
Do you have a story idea? Contact sportswriter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, [email protected] or via Twitter @Kris_Henry
Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune Kevin Klabunde jumps onto the green on the 1st hole at Rogue Valley Country Club on Thursday morning.
Andy Atkinson/Mail TribuneRick Dollarhide chips to the 3rd green at Rogue Valley Country Club on Thursday morning.
Andy Atkinson/Mail TribunePaul Reynolds hits from the bunker on the 2nd green at Rogue Valley Country Club on Thursday morning.
Andy Atkinson/Mail TribuneKevin Klabunde chips to the 3rd green at Rogue Valley Country Club on Thursday morning.
Andy Atkinson/Mail TribuneMichael Finnell jumps onto the green on the 1st hole at Rogue Valley Country Club on Thursday morning.Michael Finnell
Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune Kevin Klabunde sinks a putt from the edge of the green on the 2nd hole at Rogue Valley Country Club on Thursday morning.