Friday drains key putts late to win Section Professional Championship

By Murray Evans
NORMAN – Shannon Friday had trouble making putts in the PGA South Central Section Professional Championship on Tuesday – until he absolutely had to have them.

Friday’s only two final-round birdies came on No. 15 and No. 18 and he sank what proved to be a title-saving 20-foot par putt on No. 16 to hang on for a two-shot win over defending champion Michael Boyd and Trent Rommann at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

"I kind of buckled down there right at the end," said Friday, the head pro at Lake Hefner Golf Club in northwest Oklahoma City. "It was almost too late."

Friday closed with a 1-over-par 73 on the 7,371-yard layout to finish the three-round event at 10-under 206 and take home the winner’s check of $2,720. Boyd, the director of golf at The Club at Indian Springs in Broken Arrow, shot a 69 on Tuesday while Rommann, the assistant pro at Wichita Country Club in Wichita, Kan., posted a 68.

Mark Fuller, the general manager of The Golf Club at Surrey Hills in Yukon, and Tracy Phillips, the director of instruction at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow, tied for fourth, four shots behind Friday.

They will join Friday, Boyd and Rommann in representing the section at the 2016 PGA Professional National Championship, which will be played June 26-29 on the Atunyote Golf Club and Shenendoah Golf Club courses at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y.  The low 20 scores in the national tournament will make the field for the 98th PGA Championship, scheduled for July 28-31 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.

"I think you’ve got a good representation of guys to go up to Turning Stone next year and represent our section," Boyd said. "You want to win, but the big goal is to have a chance to make the PGA. I played good enough to do that today."

It’s the third time Friday has qualified for the Professional National Championship, as he was the sectional runner-up in 2010 at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock, Ark., and finished fifth last year at Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City.

He entered Tuesday with a six-shot cushion over Phillips, Boyd and Fuller after firing rounds of 65 and 68 on Monday.

"That made it a little easier," Friday said. "I was maybe even a little too relaxed today. I still wanted to make some birdies today. I wanted to go out there and try to really dominate, but it didn’t quite work out. Yesterday morning, I hit a lot of shots close and made a lot of putts in both rounds. Today, nothing dropped and I didn’t hit anything close, except for the one on 15."

As a result, his huge lead nearly evaporated. Friday bogeyed No. 2 and No. 9 on the front side, while Boyd birdied No. 7 and No. 8. When Boyd rolled in a birdie putt on No. 13, he was at 8-under, just one shot behind Friday.

On the par-3 No. 15, Friday’s tee shot was nearly perfect and he drained a five-foot birdie putt. But on No. 16, his tee shot went right and ended up under a small tree in the rough. Despite having to take an awkward stance to shoot, he successfully punched the ball down the fairway and then chipped onto the green, leaving himself with a tricky downhill putt to save par.

Friday drained the putt, then watched Boyd leave a 10-foot birdie attempt short, maintaining Friday’s two-shot edge.

"I was very fortunate to make that one," Friday said.

Friday hit into the bunker fronting the green on the par-4 No. 17 and made bogey, while Boyd parred. With a one-shot lead at the par-5 No. 18, Friday played it safe, keeping his first two shots in the fairway, then sticking his approach shot to 12 feet. He made the birdie putt while Boyd left his birdie attempt a foot short.

"I was just trying to play good golf and he made a few bogeys, and I slipped within one when I birdied 13," Boyd said. "I thought, ‘Maybe I’ve got a chance here.’ But I burned the edge on 14 and left those putts short on 16 and 18.

"I just didn’t make enough putts coming in. I left two short from inside 20 feet, right in the heart, on 16 and 18. The ones that go by don’t go in either, but you want to give them a chance." 

 
Full Leaderboard
Pos    Player    Today    Thru    Total    R1    R2    R3    Total     
QUALIFIERS (5)

1    Shannon Friday    +1    F    -10    65    68    73    206   
T2    Trent Rommann    -4    F    -8    71    69    68    208   
T2    Michael Boyd    -3    F    -8    70    69    69    208   
T4    Mark Fuller    -1    F    -6    68    71    71    210   
T4    Tracy Phillips    -1    F    -6    69    70    71    210   
ALTERNATES – IN ORDER (3)
T6    Patrick Bates    -1    F    -2    74    69    71    214   
T6    Jeremy Dear    -1    F    -2    72    71    71    214   
T6    Steven Hausmann    +1    F    -2    72    69    73    214   
DID NOT QUALIFY
T6    Jim Woodward    -1    F    -2    69    74    71    214   
10    Tim Fleming    -2    F    -1    74    71    70    215   
11    Greg Bray    +3    F    E    71    70    75    216   
12    Jim Young    +4    F    +1    71    70    76    217   
T13    Cary Cozby    E    F    +2    74    72    72    218   
T13    Brian Soerensen    +1    F    +2    72    73    73    218   
T13    Kyley Tetley    +2    F    +2    67    77    74    218   
T13    Tyler Woodward    +5    F    +2    69    72    77    218   
T17    Blake Bowman    +1    F    +3    73    73    73    219   
T17    Derrick Vest    +5    F    +3    75    67    77    219   
T19    Lee Johnson    +2    F    +5    77    70    74    221   
T19    Dustin Semsch    +7    F    +5    73    69    79    221   
T21    Jarod Lundy    +1    F    +6    70    79    73    222   
T21    Tim Graves    +2    F    +6    77    71    74    222   
T21    Derek Franco    +6    F    +6    70    74    78    222   
24    Philip Holley    +4    F    +7    72    75    76    223   
T25    Brent Wilcoxen    +3    F    +9    74    76    75    225   
T25    Kyle Flinton    +2    F    +9    80    71    74    225   
T25    James Kane    +5    F    +9    73    75    77    225   
T25    Kevin Moberg    +6    F    +9    72    75    78    225   
29    Kurt Gibson    +7    F    +10    77    70    79    226   
30    Art Romero    +4    F    +11    75    76    76    227   
T31    Michael Henderson    +7    F    +12    79    70    79    228   
T31    Mark Budler    +6    F    +12    75    75    78    228   
T33    Mike Stewart    +7    F    +13    75    75    79    229   
T33    Ryan Rody    +9    F    +13    72    76    81    229   
T33    Troy Hendricks    +6    F    +13    77    74    78    229   
T33    Steve Blaske    +6    F    +13    77    74    78    229   
T33    Darren Watts    +6    F    +13    79    72    78    229   
T33    Aaron Kristopeit    +3    F    +13    74    80    75    229   
39    Joey Martinez    +4    F    +15    73    82    76    231   
40    Brad Fulton    +2    F    +17    81    78    74    233   
T41    Mike Hansen    +6    F    +18    79    77    78    234   
T41    Rodney Young    +3    F    +18    76    83    75    234   
43    Garrett Diel    +8    F    +19    80    75    80    235   
T44    Bruce Baxley    +7    F    +21    79    79    79    237   
T44    Barry Howard    +5    F    +21    80    80    77    237   
T46    Edward Roethlisberger    +10    F    +23    79    78    82    239   
T46    Mark Wiley    +7    F    +23    82    78    79    239   
48    Brent Cryer    +11    F    +24    76    81    83    240   
49    Nathan Alloway    +9    F    +25    82    78    81    241   
50    Jeff Tucker    +11    F    +26    77    82    83    242   
51    Kerry Petricek    +12    F    +27    79    80    84    243   
52    Travis Anderson    +6    F    +29    86    81    78    245   
53    Daniel Barlow    +13    F    +31    78    84    85    247   
54    Jim Elliott    +12    F    +32    80    84    84    248   
55    Cary Maddox    +4    F    +33    88    85    76    249   
56    Mark Trudeau    +13    F    +48    81    98    85    264   
57    Sebastien Courtois    +21    F    +70    98    95    93    286

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