WARRENTON — It was some sort of record Saturday at the Astoria Golf & Country Club, where six first-time champions were crowned in all six divisions of the Oregon Coast Invitational.
Pretty impressive, considering the annual tournament has been around since 1910.
A few previous champions came close to winning again, but all came up short in Saturday’s championship flight finals.
A few of the new champions had waited a long time for their titles, including Super Senior winner Gaylord Davis and Women’s Seniors champ Mary Jacobs.
The men’s Seniors champion, Tom Mulflur, avenged a tough loss to his opponent of two years ago to win Saturday’s final, while Jim Alder of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club was a first-time champion in the Junior/Seniors division.
Twenty-year-old Jon Holzgang of Tigard had a big week on the North Coast. He earned medalist honors in the qualifying round a week earlier in the Grand Champions division, then won the match play title Saturday against former champ Anthony Arvidson.
And the third time was the charm for 33-year-old Gretchen Johnson, who had the feel-good victory of the tournament, winning the Women’s title over 11-time champion Lara Tennant after coming close the last two years.
“This is my third year playing in (the OCI),” said Johnson, who trailed for most of Saturday’s match with Tennant. “I was medalist and got to the finals my first year, and couldn’t quite close the door. And last year, I was up in the semis and in a good position, but couldn’t close it out. This year I was fortunate enough to come out on top.”
She held a 1-up lead through the first three holes, before Tennant pulled even on the fourth, then led (by as much as 3-up) for the remainder of the morning round.
Johnson trimmed her deficit to 1-down over the first six holes of the afternoon round, and the two were even for most of holes 25 through 30.
Johnson took a 1-up lead on the 13th hole (31st overall), but nearly lost it on the 16th.
Tennant’s second shot rolled within feet of the cup, while Johnson’s second shot landed on the side of a sand trap.
Her shot out of the bunker was still farther away than Tennant’s ball, but Johnson hit a long putt from the edge of the green, while Tennant narrowly missed her putt, leaving Johnson with her 1-up lead still intact.
Johnson hit another nice putt on 17, then was able to play the 18th safely to end the match.
“I had two great up-and-downs on 16 and 17,” Johnson said. “I had kind of a ‘hanger lie’ on 16 that I thought would go right, but I closed it a little bit and pugged it left,” into the bunker.
“Then I hit a pretty good bunker shot, and a 20-footer for par,” she said. “Then on 17 I thought I hit a great iron, but the wind pushed it over the green. I had a pretty good chip after that, then made another eight- or 10-footer.”
Even Johnson had to admit, it was “pretty clutch.”
Johnson has been clutch the last two weeks, after scoring a win over Amanda Jacobs in the final of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s mid-amateur tournament, held at Arrowhead Golf Club in Molalla.
“I was fortunate enough to come out on top against my best friend (Jacobs),” Johnson said. “It’s been a couple weeks of some good competition.”
Johnson used a hole-in-one on the 12th hole to win in Molalla. She topped Jacobs again in a Friday semifinal to reach the title match of the Coast Invitational.
Johnson had been the runner-up the last two year’s of the mid-amateur event as well.
In the men’s Grand Champions final, Arvidson (the 2013 OCI champion) and Holzgang traded the lead or were even for much of the morning round, before Holzgang took the lead — for good — on the 17th.
A freshman golfer last season at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Holzgang held leads of 2-up or 3-up for most of the afternoon round, before ending the match with a 4-up lead on the 34th hole.
In Junior/Seniors play, Alder defeated Jim Parks of Evergreen Golf for his first OCI title.
The men’s Seniors championship flight was a rematch of the 2017 final between Mulflur and Astoria Golf’s Bret Stevens.
Stevens won the 2017 match, which went 20 holes, and Mulflur won Saturday’s rematch on the 18th.
Still, it was a good week for Stevens, who had wins over Robert Tennant and No. 1 seed Paul Gulick to reach Saturday’s final.
The Super Seniors came down to a match between two Astoria Golf members, Jack Cartwright and Gaylord Davis.
Seeking his eighth overall title in the Coast Invitational, Cartwright had a big week with wins over Fred Hamel, Russ Taggard and John Lewis to reach the title match, but Davis had a better day Saturday for his first OCI championship.
Davis also had the top score (a 2-under par 70) in qualifying, then topped the No. 2 seed Cartwright in Saturday’s final.
And exactly 100 years after a golfer named Frances Jacobs won the 1919 Women’s championship, Mary Jacobs of Waverley Golf won the 2019 Women’s Seniors title with a victory over No. 1 seed Wendy Storlie in Saturday’s final.