Oh so close
Simpson second at Oregon Amateur
by Eric Yaillen
Oregon Golf Association
and John Denny
PORTLAND - Tyler Simpson of Happy Valley came very close to winning the Oregon Golf Association Amateur Championship, held at Waverley Country Club Friday and Saturday.
The Clackamas High graduate finished runner-up to Jack Dukeminier of Eugene in the men's division of the match play tournament, losing 2 and 1 in the final round.
It was the second major title for Dukeminier, who was Oregon Boys Junior Amateur Champion in 2005.
Simpson took early command of the finals, winning the first two holes. But Dukeminier returned the favor on 4 and 5, to pull even.
The duo battled back and fourth the entire round and finished Saturday morning all square after 18 holes.
Dukeminier built an early lead in the afternoon 18, going 3-up after the 27th hole turn.
Simpson rallied, winning the 11th and 12th holes. And it appeared that things would be all even after Dukeminier conceded Simpson a birdie putt on the par 5 13th. But Dukeminier also birdied, holing a tough, breaking putt from 15 feet out.
Dukeminier retained his 1-up advantage as both players parred 14, 15 and 16.
On the 17th, the two players mirrored one another's tee shots, leaving each with a 20-foot birdie putt. Dukeminier holed out in two. Simpson ran his 20-footer four feet past the hole and then missed his comeback par putt, giving Dukeminier the hole and the match.
'I wasn't really thinking about the consequences of missing at that point,' Simpson said of his birdie attempt. 'It was going to be tough, with Jack's length, to beat him on 18 (a par 5). I gave it a run and just missed the comebacker, unfortunately.'
Simpson, a former member of Oregon State University's golf team, qualified for this year's amateur by finishing second in an 80-golfer field at a recent qualifier held at Stone Creek Golf Club. He qualified with rounds of 35 and 34, for an 18-hole score of 69.
A 2005 graduate of Clackamas High School, Simpson placed third at the OSAA Class 4A State High School Tournament in 2004 and in 2005.
Simpson's third place finishes at the state high school tournament are believed to be the top finishes ever by a Clackamas High School golfer.
Dukeminier is only the fifth man to win both Boys Junior Amateur and Oregon Amateur championships in the 102-year history of the Oregon Amateur. He joins Bruce Cudd (Oregon Amateur 1952 and 1953), Mitch Mooney (Oregon Amateur 1975), Randy Mahar (Oregon Amateur 1977) and Chris Holzgang (Oregon Amateur 1989),
Dukeminier has been a key player for the University of Oregon's golf team the past two years. In 2010, he tied for third at the NCAA Championships and the Ducks finished the season ranked third in the nation.