More PGA tourneys but Allred still safe

I just checked with the PGA Tour. With five more tournaments this year than last because of the wrap-around season, those folks project a 15 percent increase in FedExCup points. Last season, 200th place had 92 points, allowing for entry into the Web.com Tour Finals.

This season, 200th place should be just over 100 points, if estimates are accurate, so Jason Allred, with 163 points from last week’s co-third place in the Northern Trust Open, should not have any trouble getting in.

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Clearing up Allred’s professional earnings

There was incorrect information about Jason Allred’s career earnings following his tie for third place Sunday at the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. An AP photo we ran online added to the confusion when the caption said he made more money in the tourney than he had in his 11-year career. The same information was in other stories (not ours), and it’s not accurate.
Allred’s check for $388,600 was greater than his PGA Tour earnings. He was on tour full time in 2005 and ’08 and played occasional events in other years and made $352,918. However, he’s also made $354,591 in Web.com Tour tourneys for a total of $707,509 prior to Sunday’s windfall. That pushed his earnings for the two to $1,096,109. That doesn’t count $57,500 in Q school checks.
He has additional tourney earnings on the Canadian/Gateway tours, etc., of more than $250,000, I’m told, and endorsement income well beyond that.
He’s done much better for himself than reports indicated.

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Christensen’s passing brings back baseball memory

It was so sad to hear today of former Oakland Raider tight end Todd Christensen passing during surgery at the age of 57. Many of us have certain things that stick out from our youthful athletic pursuits, and Christensen played a starring role in one of my baseball experiences. It was one that went much better for him than for me.

It was the spring of 1973. I was in the ninth grade at Highland View Junior High in Corvallis, but was allowed to play baseball at Corvallis High. I pitched on the JV team, but one Saturday morning I was shocked when I got to school and was told I’d go with the varsity to Eugene for a doubleheader against the Sheldon Irish.

It was the first time I wore the Spartan uniform, and I remember to this day walking up the ramp from the locker room and getting chills at my reflection in a ticket-booth window adjacent to the gym.

I don’t remember how exactly the DH went. We might have won the first game but were getting shelled in the second. That’s when coach Carl Hutzler sent me to the mound in relief.

I was nervous beyond belief. Then Christensen stepped into the box. My body turned to Jell-O. Nervousness turned to outright fright. He was a man among boys, and there was no one more boyish than me out there. He must have gone 250 pounds. Under his batting helmet and a big mop of black hair, he looked like a grizzly bear to me. I’m sure I looked like a snack to him.

I had a good fastball in Pony League ball. Struck out a lot of overmatched batters. This wasn’t Pony League, and he wasn’t overmatched. I don’t know how many pitches I threw. It might have only been one. If so, it was one he really liked. He swung mightily, I ducked swifty. After the “THWACK!”, I turned to center field.

We had a really good center fielder, Jerry Miller. He would go on to play at Oregon State and, I believe, set a single-season hits record there. He knew baseball, and he knew he didn’t have to exert much energy chasing this one. He stayed in his crouch, hands on knees, and only slightly tilted his head as the ball zoomed overhead. It should have had a flight attendant on it.

Everything else about that day was relatively inconsequential. On the bus ride home, I sat behind coach Hutz. He knew baseball, too, having played shortstop in the Yankees organization, Scooter Rizzuto blocking his path to the bigs. I overheard him tell his assistant: “I’ve never seen a high school kid hit a baseball that far.”

It’s a story I’ve told from time to time, and likely will again. I only hope Christensen got a little mileage out of the time he hit a ball for a lot of mileage off me.

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Former Phoenix star Young was would-be hero

Former Phoenix High standout Alex Young went from hero to subplot in a matter of seconds Friday night when his UC Irvine Anteaters opened the college basketball season against Fresno State. You may have seen the highlights already on ESPN, which led with it on the early-early-early morning show. Fresno State’s Allen Huddleston made a lunging basket from just inside half court as the buzzer sounded for a 98-97 win at UCI. Here’s the video.

His basket overshadowed the sophomore Young’s effort — seconds before and, really, throughout the game. The 6-foot-1 point guard tied his career high with 20 points, and the final three appeared to bring the Anteaters victory. Trailing 95-94 with 25 seconds left, Young dribbled the ball upcourt to the top of the key, went left to right, passed off, received the ball again, shook off his defender with the help of a screen, then knocked down a step-back 3-pointer for a 97-95 lead. It was a thing of beauty and sent the crowd into a frenzy … until Huddleston hustled frantically upcourt and made his improbable basket.

Young made 8 of 17 field goals, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, and added six rebounds, four assists and a steal. He was named co-Big West Conference freshman of the year last season.

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De La Salle: Working for their education

St. Mary’s coach Paul Coughlin almost felt guilty after the Crusaders defeated De La Salle North Catholic 3-2 in the 3A/2A/1A boys soccer playoffs Tuesday. Coughlin was impressed with the Knights on the field, but more so what he learned of the players and what they do off the pitch. The coach said the Portland school only takes kids under the poverty line — the school’s website describes the students as underserved — and they must work five days a month in a job share program. The money they earn goes to their college preparatory education. The school opened in 2001 and is modeled after Cristo Rey Jesuit High in Chicago.

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Tostenson shines in finale, college next

It was nice to see Crater senior Gracie Tostenson finish strong at the Class 6A state cross country championships Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene. She was gearing up for the district and state meets and was in fabulous shape when she hurt her right knee in a fall during a morning training run about a month ago. She didn’t tell coach Justin Loftus about it until the team workout that afternoon. He said she seemed to feel guilty.

She gutted out a sixth-place district finish just to get to state, then ran strong there. Among those she beat were five girls who placed ahead of her at district and Paige Rice, the 2011 state champion from St. Mary’s. Tostenson’s time for 5,000 meters 18:26, one second out of second place.

It should show the colleges recruiting her that she’s still in good shape. She took a visit to Portland State shortly after the injury. She has another visit pending to Hawaii. Utah of the Pac-12 and Southern Utah are also in the picture, according to Loftus.

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Friday night tidbits

A few notes from Friday night football that didn’t make it into game recaps:

Tyler Munsell, a Prospect senior wide receiver, implored coach Dave Boekenoogen to let him throw a pass in the season finale against Butte Falls. He had one request, however. Let it be to junior quarterback Darren Stillwagon. Good call. Munsell got his chance on the game’s first play, and he and Stillwagon hooked up for a 63-yard score. Munsell had good reason to put his trust in Stillwagon. The latter contributed to seven touchdowns by running, passing, receiving and returning an interception.

Crater coach John Beck’s Comets eked out a 41-39 play-in win over Forest Grove, and now faces top-ranked Jesuit in the first round next week. His team won’t shy away from the challenge. Beck remembers coaching on a Barlow staff in the early ’90s. The team was a huge playoff underdog to a Jesuit team considered among the best on the West Coast, but wound up winning handily. That story might get retold a few times this week.

We don’t know the validity of this story, but a player in one of the games was apparently running for a long touchdown when his pants came down. Didn’t catch enough of it to know if the player scored or stopped to fix himself and was caught, but I’m sure it made for a lighter moment.

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Landslide voting for Athlete of the Week

Mereida-Ford

Every now and again, participation in our Athlete of the Week voting makes us do a double-take. That was the case this week when the final numbers were in and Phoenix volleyball player Adriana Mereida-Ford was declared the winner — with a whopping 2,314 votes. Jared Evans, a North Medford football player, had another 1,436 of the total of 3,776. His total far exceeds the several hundred weekly votes we usually get for the five athletes.

The previous high — and this is hardly scientific — for total votes was about 2,500, I believe (we don’t keep records), and Cascade Christian football player Brandon Williams was a runaway winner that week.

In email correspondence with Adriana’s mother as we sought to get a picture of the winnerI told her of the landslide voting and the historical significance. She was as surprised as we were and attributed it to a large family and lots of friends.

If you want to vote, go here and find the Athlete of the Week info on the right side, including info about the performance of each athlete and the place to vote.

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Here’s a link to an insightful blog on the Pac-12 Networks

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News writes in a blog that the Pac-12 Networks were a raging success in their first year last year, based on previous viewing options for fans of the conference. It’ll only get better — for those who can tune in.

He also writes that there continues to be no apparent progress in deals between the Pac-12 and  DirecTV and Charter. The Pac-12 is holding tight to its subscriber fee of 80 cents because that’s what it charged all the other networks and systems it has carriage deals with. It’s a figure DirecTV still isn’t going for.

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Columnist: Common sense not part of UO’s new shrine

About 100 journalists got a tour of Oregon’s new football training facility and more than a few jaws likely dropped along the way. Drool, too. At least one, Bob Welch of the Eugene Register-Guard, was struck by the extravagance and was willing to ask: Really? Is this necessary? And, more to the point, what happens when these college kids have to leave the Taj Mahal of college digs and re-enter the real world?

I can hear the phone call now: “Security, we have another fifth-year senior who won’t leave. Please send someone up.”

Here’s Welch’s column on the Ducks’ shrine. By the way, he’s a UO grad.

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