CRESWELL, ORE. (Sunday, August 14, 2011) - With the field cut to the top half of both the Senior and Open Divisions after 36-holes at Emerald Valley Golf Course, and players re-paired based on scores, leaders faced off against each other to determine the Oregon Men's Stroke Play Champion.
The Senior Division teed off first with the final grouping including 36-hole leader David Lydell of Aloha, Ore., Mark Bowler of Portland, Ore. and Chris Maletis of Portland, Ore..
It was not to be Lydell's day as he stuggled on the outward nine, posting bogeys on five holes to drop out of the lead and ultimately fall to a T3 finish at 7-over par 70-73-77--220.
Bowler, who started the day 1-stroke behind Lydell bogeyed the first hole to drop into a tie with Maletis with whom he would battle all day. A birdie opportunity on the final hole gave him one last chance at the lead, but it was to be a return to the winner's circle for Maletis who has won the event three previous times the last coming in 2005.
Maletis first won the Senior title in 1999, then had a five year lapse until winning again in 2004. Last year, he was runner-up to Pat O'Donnell of Clackamas, Ore., who won the event for four consecutive years.
It's [Emerald Valley] one of the best and I've always said that," noted Maletis. "It tests you, and if you have it together you can really score. But once the wheels start coming off, you really feel them coming off.
In reviewing his round, Maletis commented, "I picked up a shot on 16 so I had a 2-stroke lead. On 17, we stood on the tee and felt the wind coming at our face so I took a 9-iron and it went over the green. When we got to the green we could feel it was really a downwind shot. I didnt want to leave it short in the junk, so I hit it about 12 feet, left it in the jaws, left it short and put pressure on myself having to play the last hole with a 1-shot lead."
"On the final hole, I thought he had a chance of making it and I thought I could hit it pretty close. I hit it the way I wanted to but it released over the green...and then I was struggling just to get par. I could have hit it to the right and two putted, but if he would have made the birdie ...well thats golf."
Maletis, the th ranked senior nationaly according to Golfweek, will next play in the 57th USGA Senior Amateur, September 10 - 15 at Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia.
In the Open Division, 36-hole co-leader Nick Chianello of Gresham, Ore. finished with a 5-under 70-70-71--211 to finish four strokes ahead of Eric Grimberg of Portland, Ore. and Jesse Heinly of Bend, Ore. on the 7,115-yard, par-72 layout. Chianello was the only player to shoot under-par all three rounds and dominated the front nine each day with 15 birdies.
Depite opening with a bogey on today's opening hole, he fired five birdies in the next six holes to give him all the cushion he ultimately would need to take the title.
"I felt really good today. I played well on the front side all week and struggled on the back, but the putter felt great all week ad that's what really helped me," Said Chianello.
The back side is so demanding off the tee," he added. "If you miss the fairway its such a struggle to get up and down for a par. There's hardly any birdie opportunities on the back side."
Chianello, who played for the University of Portland until the school ended the golf program this year, transferred to Oregon State and will begin his first Pac-12 season this fall.
He will also be joining Oregon State junior Nick Sherwood of Albany, Ore. who finished fourth with an even-par 72-74-70--216. Former Oregon State golfer Paul Peterson, who won the past two Oregon Stroke Play Championships, finished in a tie for fifth at 1-over 74-73-70--217.
The Oregon Stroke Play Championship was established in 1951 and is open to amateur golfers with a USGA Handicap Index of 5.0 and less for the open division and 10.0 and less for the senior division and annually attracts some of the best amateur from Oregon and Southwest Washington.
View results for Oregon Men's Stroke Play Golf Championship