REDMOND — Suddenly, it was a tight match on the Ridge course at Eagle Crest.
With four holes left in Tuesday’s men’s senior division final at the inaugural Oregon Four-Ball championship, Crosswater’s Carey Watson and Stein Swenson had a 3-up lead over Portland’s Mark Bowler and Dave Lydell.
They got there with a run by Watson in the middle of the round, who had three birdies in four holes (No. 9 through No. 12), and then made a two-putt par from 50 feet to halve the 13th.
As the players walked off the green, Swenson exclaimed, “It’s the Carey Watson show, everyone!”
But with the big lead the pair had a couple of hiccups on 15 and 16, making their first bogeys of the day, and pars from Bowler and Lydell had the Portlanders back in the match.
“There was some charity on our part,” Watson said, “and they took advantage of it. That’s all about amateur golf … we just got a little tight on a couple of holes and didn’t get it done.”
“We were hanging with them,” Bowler said. “They made a mistake there and kind of let us back in.”
With their lead now down to 1 up, Swenson and Watson both struggled off the 17th tee, and Swenson’s ball nearly went out of bounds.
But it stayed in. And after Watson’s second shot failed to reach the green, Swenson hit what may have been one of the key shots of the match.
From more than 200 yards out, his ball flew right at the pin and bounded onto the green, stopping a mere 15 feet past the cup.
Swenson’s two-putt par halved the hole and preserved the lead going to 18. Watson would make his sixth birdie of the day with a 15-foot putt to close out the match 1 up, as Bowler sat just 6 feet away for the birdie to send it into extra holes.
Swenson was appreciative of his partner’s stellar play on the day.
“Carey’s much more seasoned at this, as are David and Mark, I’m kind of the newbie,” he said, laughing. “Carey was clearly the better player on our team, but we won this thing as a team.”
Playing 90 holes over four days to reach the final (plus a practice round) had both teams spent after Tuesday’s match.
“I was feeling wore out when we teed off this morning,” Bowler said.
“It’s been a long week,” Lydell said. “We played really well up until today, and they played better than us today … they deserved to win.”
Bowler agreed that although it got tight toward the end, Swenson and Watson played well throughout the match.
“Those guys played fantastic,” he said. “I’m fine with it … and they are a couple of Central Oregon boys, which is fitting.”
Portland’s Gretchen Johnson and Amanda Jacobs won the women’s final 2 and 1, while in the open division final, Trevor Harding and Brent McKee, also from Portland, won their match 6 and 4.
— Reporter: 541-617-7868, firstname.lastname@example.org .