Oregon Stroke Play: Kevin Geniza prevailed in Playoff
Incoming Oregon freshman Kevin Geniza <br>(OGA Photo)</br>
Incoming Oregon freshman Kevin Geniza
(OGA Photo)

MEDFORD, OR (August 7, 2016) -- Kevin Geniza (Corvallis, Ore.) birdied the first playoff hole to win the 64th Oregon Men’s Stroke Play Championship, held August 5-7, 2016 at Centennial Golf Club in Medford, Ore. Pat O’Donnell (Happy Valley, Ore.) won the Oregon Senior Men’s Stroke Play Championship, and Jim Dunlap (Beaverton, Ore.) earned the victory in the Master-40 Division.

Geniza defeated Charlie Hillier (Oregon City, Ore.) in the playoff after both players tied at 207 (-9) after 54-holes.

Geniza, who will be a freshman this fall at the University of Oregon and will play golf for the defending national champions, entered Sunday one shot back of the lead. He fired a 3-under par 33 on the front nine, then birdied the par-4 13th hole to move to 10-under par overall and a tie for the lead. However, on the par-3 17th, he missed a three-foot par putt for his first bogey of the day. A par on the final hole secured his spot in the sudden death playoff with Hillier, who plays golf at the University of Kansas.

The playoff began and ended on the first hole. Hillier fired his tee shot down the left side, finding the rough. Geniza pushed his drive right, but found himself with a good lie right of the cart path. Hillier’s approach shot ended up just short of the green, leaving himself with a 25-foot attempt at birdie, while Geniza knocked his short second shot to 4-feet from the hole. After Hillier missed his birdie putt, Geniza made his, pumping his fist in celebration after winning his first OGA Championship.

An accomplished Oregon Junior Golfer, Geniza expressed after his win how great a victory this weekend felt.

“It feels really good,” said Geniza. “This is my first tournament I’ve won since stepping up from the junior tournaments, so it feels really good to get a men’s tournament [win] in my bag.”

“This is my transition from junior golf to college golf, and it just gives me extra confidence going into college.”

Geniza completed the championship with rounds of 71-67-69 – 207 (-9), while Hillier shot 69-69-69 – 209 (-9).

A stacked leaderboard featured a three-way tie for third place behind Geniza and second-place finisher Hillier: Medford native Reese Fisher (Medford, Ore.), incoming Boise State freshman Brian Humphreys (Washougal, Wash.) and Chico State’s Justin Wiles (Klamath Falls, Ore.). All three finished at 208 (-8) for the tournament. Medford native and Dominican University of California golfer Jake Quast (Medford, Ore.) and Oregon State golfer and fellow Southern Oregon native Kevin Murphy (Rogue River, Ore.) tied for sixth place at 209 (-7).

O’Donnell entered the final round with a four-shot lead, and never looked back on Sunday. He began his round birdie-birdie on the first two holes, then finished his first nine with two-straight birdies to shoot 32 (-4) on the first nine holes. On the back nine, O’Donnell birdied the par-4 12th and 13th holes, and then put a cap on his weekend by chipping in for birdie on the 18th and final hole.

He completed the 54-hole event with scores of 71-66-65 – 202 (-14). After the round, O’Donnell shared what turned his game around during the final 36 holes of the event.

“Putting,” explained O’Donnell. “I made an adjustment in my stance a little bit, brought the ball a little bit more under my eyes. That’s what made the difference, confidence in that.”

O’Donnell’s win is his seventh overall Oregon Senior Men’s Stroke Play victory, and his second-consecutive win after his conquest last year at Willamette Valley Country Club in Canby.

Denny Taylor (Gladstone, Ore.) took advantage of an impressive final round to earn second place, shooting scores of 72-72-69 – 213 (-3). Charley Griswold (Bend, Ore.) finished in third place, finishing with rounds of 72-70-73 – 215 (-1), while Gregg Guernsey (Vancouver, Ore.) and Brad Karns (Vancouver, Wash.) tied for fourth place, both finishing the event with a three-day total of 217 (+1).

Dunlap played consistently throughout the 54-hole event, and won the Master-40 title for the second-straight year. He began play on Sunday with a four-shot lead, but maintained a sizeable gap between him and the nearest competitor by shooting 34 (-2) on the front nine. A 1-over par 37 on the back nine was enough for a four-shot win over Jeff Ward (Bend, Ore.).

With Ward playing well in the group in front of him, Dunlap knew he had to focus on his own game if he were to win on Sunday.

“I was just kind of in my bubble,” said Dunlap. “Every shot’s a challenge, so I wasn’t really paying that much attention to what was going on around me. I was just trying to execute each shot, shoot the lowest score I could.”

Dunlap finished the championship with scores of 74-72-71 – 217 (+1). Ward earned second place with a stellar final round, and a 54-hole total of 74-78-69 – 221 (+5).

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ABOUT THE Oregon Stroke Play

Entries are open to amateur golfers with USGA Handicap Indexes™ of 5.0 and less for the Men’s and Master 40 Divisions, and Seniors with Handicap Indexes of 10.0 or less and are members in good standing of an OGA Member Club. All Contestants must be at least 13 years of age. Master 40s must be 40 years of age and seniors must be 50 years of age or older.

54-hole stroke play competition with a cut to the low half of the field and ties in each division after two rounds of play.

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