Oregon Mid-Am: Stone, Young take titles

POWELL BUTTE, ORE. (July 11, 2010) - In both the Men's and Women's Division, it came down to dramatic finishes at the 22nd Oregon Mid-Amateur Championship at Brasada Ranch Resort in Powell Butte, Ore. Both Brie Stone, 29, of Veneta, Ore. in the Women's Division and Kasey Young, 34, of Vancouver, Wash. in the Men's Division saw their first round leads slip away.

For Stone, it was her opportunity for a third major Oregon title. She won the 1997 Oregon Junior Amateur, played collegiately at Oregon State, then turned professional. After her amateur status was reinstated in 2007, she won the 2009 Oregon Public Links title.

Starting the round with a tight 1-stroke lead, a bogey on the first hole by Anita Wicks of Roseburg, Ore. padded the lead to two. But it was up and down the rest of the day. A double bogey on 4 and bogey on 5 left the contest between the two tied and at the end of the the opening nine, Stone was again up by one. At the end of 13-holes, Wicks was able to go into the lead for the first time, but quickly gave it back on the next hole.

It stayed that way until the end of regulation, where Stone nearly gave the tournament away when she sent her approach into the lateral water hazard that borders the 18th green. Luck was on her side, however, as he ball remained in a playable position allowing her to save par and force a playoff where she quickly dispatched Wicks.

"I was struggling today big time," Stone said. "About the last six holes I was just trying to hold on."

On the first playoff hole, Stone outdrove Wicks by nearly 50-yards and had an opportunity to reach the par-5 green in two. Although her approach ended up in the greenside bunker, she was able to get up and down for a birdie and win the title.

"I had a real good lie and on the upslope," said Stone. "It was kind of a long bunker shot and the sand is a little soft, but it came out the way I wanted." She ended up just 5-feet away for her birdie attempt.

"As soon as she hit that bunker shot, I knew it was probably over," said Wicks. "I knew she wouldn't miss that putt. I had a long 30-foot birdie putt so I just lined it up and hit it so it would not end short of the hole. That was my only chance." Despite not making the putt, Wick's playoff loss still represented her best finish in an Oregon championship. "I am pretty pleased," Wick said.

While Young didn't need to go extra holes, it wasn't until after he birdied the 18th hole that he new he held on just enough to win.

Despite going into the round with a 4-stroke lead after shooting 66 in yesterday morning's opening round to establish a course record, the unheralded player struggled in the typical afternoon winds on Powell Butte.

"On 15, we thought that 1-under was in the clubhouse, and I was even at the time," said Young. With another bogey on 16 he thought he was out of contention when he made his approach to the final green. Without hesitation or any other thought than wanting to end his day where his score ended up 12-strokes higher than the prior day, he just stepped up and stuck his final approach to the 18th hole within a foot to set up a tap-in birdie.

As it turned out, it was the winning shot, beating Tim O'Neal of Vancouver, Wash. and and Cody Upham of Camas, Wash. by just 1-stroke.

"It's been a long time," Young said. "I really had no expectations coming in. That 66 yesterday, I was hitting the ball good but I hadn't had a score in the 60s in a while and hadn't had a bogey-free round in forever. That was a little unexpected."

"I really thought I'd have another good day after I birdied the first hole," said Young. But this course plays so difficult in the afternoon. Next time I think I'd rather be playing again in the morning!"

The win was the first major tournament victory for Young. In fact, he could not remember the last time he had won a tournament.

Established in 1988, the Oregon Mid-Amateur Championship is a 36-hole stroke play event for competitors age 25 or older. The minimum qualification for entrants is a handicap index of 10.0 or less for men and 22.4 or less for women. Entrants are initially placed on a waiting list, and once entries close, the actual field is determined by selecting only the best 108 men and 48 women who enter the event.

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