By Ken MacLeod
EDMOND – Jaxon Dowell, a rising senior at Oklahoma Christian School, capped a big day for himself and his school with a 4 and 3 victory over William McDonald in the championship match of the Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Boys & Girls Championship sponsored by Taylor Moore.
Dowell, a two-time defending Class 3A state champion at the small private high school in Edmond, had a steady four-birdie, no-bogey effort in the final to take down McDonald, a University of Arkansas signee. McDonald had finished second to Dowell in the stroke play portion as well and there was no argument that two of the best junior players in the state were squaring off.
At this point, however, Dowell rules the roost. He poured in 17 birdies in 36 holes in shooting back-to-back rounds of 64 to win the stroke play and was only pushed past the 15th hole once in match play, a 2 and 1 victory over Charlie Jackson of Norman in the quarterfinals.
Brooklyn Benn, also of Oklahoma Christian, won the girls title with a 1 up victory over Alyssa Wilson of Yukon. Jake Hopper of Norman won the battle of future stars in the boys 14-15 age group against Ryder Cowan of Edmond, another Oklahoma Christian student.
Dowell, a lifelong Sooner fan who will sign with Oklahoma in the fall, said adding his name to the prominent list of OGA Junior champions on the trophy meant a great deal.
“You look at that trophy and there are guys on the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour, guys competing for NCAA championships. To put my name on that trophy means a lot to me.”
Dowell said all facets of his game were working through the long week, as the final round was pushed back a day by rain on Thursday. His putter was blazing hot, particularly in stroke play where he said he made five putts of 20 feet or longer for birdie.
This match was even after McDonald stuffed his tee shot to about 5 feet for birdie on the uphill par-3 sixth hole, but Dowell regained a one-up lead on the next hole when McDonald conceded a short birdie putt. Both players birdied the par-5 ninth, but McDonald missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-4 10th that could have evened the match, then three-putted the par-5 12th hole after reaching the green in two. Dowell two-putted for a birdie after a tremendous second shot from behind a tree found the green to go 2 up.
McDonald, battling a wayward driver, got in trees to the right on 13th hole leading to a bogey. Dowell won his third hole in a row on the 205-yard par-3 14th, making birdie from 10 feet directly behind the hole.
Benn was 2 up on Wilson through 11, but Wilson made three birdies on the next four holes to grab the lead. As she did in her semifinal win over Jenni Roller, Benn won the final two holes, winning the last with a bogey as Wilson three-putted.
Wilson exhibited superior ball striking throughout the match but struggled on the greens or may have won easily.
“If her putting had been good, it wouldn’t have been a match,” Benn conceded. “But I scrambled really well and made a few key putts.”
Benn was thrilled for her Oklahoma Christian team. In addition to the three finalists, her brother Bosten Benn reached the semefinals against Dowell before losing 6 and 4. The OCS girls won the 2A state title, but Benn finished second to Roller of Regent Prep. This time she prevailed.
Tosh Hays, who coaches the boys team and is also the swing coach for PGA Tour player Robert Streb of Edmond, said the school’s rise to golf stardom was a reflection of the great families that attend OCS.
The tournament got a lift from the sponsorship provided by Taylor Moore, professional golfer from Edmond currently competing on the Web.com Tour. The extra funds allowed for additional roping, water and gatorade coolers and other touches that the players enjoyed.
Oklahoma Golf Association
Junior Boys & Girls Championship
June 3-6, 2019
Kickingbird Golf Club
Brooklyn Benn, Edmond 1 up vs Alyssa Wilson, Yukon
Jake Hopper, Norman, 2 & 1 vs Ryder Cowan, Edmond
Jaxon Dowell, Edmond 4 & 3 vs William McDonald, Oklahoma City