By Larry Lewis
TULSA – The biggest obstacle to a record 19th Oklahoma Golf Association title for Mike Hughett appeared to be Father Time.
At age 57, Hughett is past the prime years of the early 50â€™s for senior golfers, but it didnâ€™t look like it Tuesday afternoon.
Hughett fired a final round one-under-par 70 at Meadowbrook Country Club to win the OGA Senior Stroke Play State Championship by three shots, over Mike Alsup and Don Clark,
â€œItâ€™s every bit as special to me because when you get to be my age, it never gets any easier,â€ said the 57-year-old Hughett about the meaning of winning this championship. â€œIâ€™m just appreciative of still being able to compete, and I just enjoy playing.â€
In a sizeable understatement, Hughett added, â€œIâ€™m still somewhat competitive, and Iâ€™m just happy to be able to win. â€œ
The players had to endure a four-hour rain delay and strong, gusty south winds in the heat
Carrying a one-shot lead over Alsup and Clark after an opening round 71 Monday, with all three playing in the same group, the trio were tied after five holes until Hughett birdied number six. He led by two shots over both players until a birdie on the tough 13th hole. From then on, Hughett maintained at least a three stroke lead, finishing at 141 for two rounds.
The only suspense occurred on the 18th hole when Hughett appeared to push his drive right in the a heavily wooded area. A bad bounce off a tree could have led to a double bogey. However, his ball appeared just past the tree line on the dogleg right, leaving him with a clear shot at the center of the green from 95 yards out on the 442-yard hole.
â€œItâ€™s funny because I was in the exact same spot yesterday. Itâ€™s farther right than I wanted to be, but I knew, that where I landed, I could get past the trees, the trouble, to where it opens up, and so I didnâ€™t mind hitting on that line,â€ Hughett said of his wind-aided tee shot.
Hughett, Clark, and Alsup all made at least pars on every hole on the back side.
Meadowbrook has been a special place for Hughett. He won his last OGA senior stroke play championship at Meadowbrook in 2012 in a one-hole playoff after shooting 140 in regulation.
â€œItâ€™s a lot different from what Iâ€™m used to,â€ Hughett said about Meadowbrook from Owasso Golf and Athletic Club, where he plays most of his golf. â€œMy home course is pretty wide open. This is a very tight golf course. You have to manage your way around the golf course. But if you hit some good shots, there are a lot of birdie opportunities.â€
â€œWe all were having a hard time making putts and making birdies until I finally hit one two inches away on number six. That would be pretty to miss/ Then after that I played pretty solid. I donâ€™t think I missed too many greens after that. I just got off to a bad start both days.
Besides the 2012 championship, Hughett had previously won this tournament in 2009 and 2010. His four championships tied Roger Brown for the career lead. Hughettâ€™s last OGA Senior Match Play title came in 2015.
John Valuck finished in fourth place at 148. Last yearâ€™s champion, Doug Perry, finished at 154, while James Reid, the winner in 2013 and 2014,finshed at 150.
In the Super Seniors portion of the tournament for players 60 and over, Bob Sine shot 70-73-143 to win by six shots over James Callison, who shot 75-74-149.