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LOs Morey wins spot in national senior open

Lake Oswego's Mickey Morey knows he will be a huge underdog when he tees it up at the U.S. Senior Open early next month. That doesn't bother Morey, though. Just being in the field will represent the chance of a lifetime.

'I'm just ecstatic,' Morey said on Tuesday, one day after claiming one of two qualifying spots at a regional tournament held at Waverley Country Club in Portland. 'This is just a dream come true to play in a national championship.'

Morey, 56, earned his spot in the national senior championship by shooting an even-par 71 on the 6,579-yard layout at the historic Waverley course. He tied Norm Jarvis of Canada for the top score of the day. They finished one stroke ahead of David Jacobsen and Chris Maletis, two well-known local amateur players.

Morey was playing in the same group with Jacobsen, who is the brother of longtime tour pro Peter Jacobsen.

'I have a reverent respect for him,' Morey said of David Jacobsen, who has already played in 12 national tournaments.

Obviously, Jacobsen was striving for his 13th national appearance. But that didn't stop him from being Morey's main supporter along the way.

'He was just positive the whole day,' Morey said of his playing partner.

The key for Morey was hitting the ball straight off the tee and putting his approach shots where he wanted them. He hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation. That meant he didn't have to rely too much on his putter.

'The greens are very tough. You have to hit it in the right place,' Morey said.

When he birdied the 10th and was two under par for the day, Morey realized he had a good chance to finish at or near the top of the leader board. 'And I thought to myself, 'Just play solid the rest of the way.' '

Morey and Jacobsen were part of the third threesome to tee off on Monday. So, when they finished their rounds, the leader and the runner-up had to wait three hours for the other 14 groups to wind their way around the course.

It was an excruciating wait for both players. For Morey, who spends most of his days working as a lawyer who represents victims in sex abuse cases, he really had nothing else to compare the experience to.

'I don't think I've been that nervous waiting for a jury to come back,' Morey later told his brother Carter, who is also an attorney.

Before law school, Morey played golf in college - first at Pacific University in Forest Grove and then at San Francisco State. After attaining his law degree, Morey decided to put competitive golf on the back burner and he didn't get serious about it again until his late 40s.

Now he's a regular competitor in the Oregon Amateur Championship, the Oregon Senior Amateur, the Oregon Coast tournament in Astoria and the Oregon Open, which features pro players. Morey also won three Oswego Lake club championships (in 2001, 2003 and 2005).

Monday's round was his biggest accomplishment yet, although he did finish two shots off the pace at an earlier U.S. Senior Open qualifier. So he knew he had the game to compete at that level.

Competing at the next level might be a different story, however. When Morey plays in the U.S. Senior Open, which will be held July 5-8 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisc., he'll be matched up against the top senior pros in the world.

'My hope is to make the cut and play all 72 holes,' said Morey, who knows he'll have to endure a case of first-round nervous jitters.

'I'm sure I'm going to be nervous as can be,' he said. 'But there's certainly no pressure on Mickey Morey … I'm going there to have fun.'

The attorney said he plans to retain his amateur status as a golfer, even if he earns a high finish at the Open.

'I would never try to play as a pro,' he said. 'I'm simply not good enough.'

But, if he plays the way he did on Monday, Morey might be able to hang with the big guns for a while.

Just playing in the tournament will be an unforgettable experience. So much so that Morey plans to take most of his family and a few friends with him to Wisconsin to be part of the memory. While he's there, Morey has been asked by the Oregon Golf Association to record his experiences in a daily blog that will be featured on the OGA's Web site at www.oga.org.