By Ken MacLeod
OWASSO – Brendon Jelley and Preston Crawford advanced to the semifinals of the Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship Tuesday at The Patriot Golf Club, setting up the possibility of a battle between former Jenks High School teammates in the championship match.
Jelley, now approaching his redshirt freshman season at Oklahoma State, put on a clinic Tuesday, shooting 9-under par through 17 holes in disposing of future teammate Tyson Reeder of Edmond North in the morning match, then blitzing Quade Cummins of Weatherford 7 and 5 in the quarterfinals. Jelley did not make a bogey in either match. Against Reeder, he played the five par-5s in six under, including holing a 100-yard shot for eagle on the 10th hole.
"I was playing really well, but the crazy thing was how well Tyson was playing," Jelley said. "He was 6 or 7 under as well. It was cool to play a future teammate and I’m really impressed with his game. It was a heck of a match. It was one of the best rounds I’ve ever had."
To reach the finals, however, Jelley will have to get past long-time friend Eric Kline of Ponca City and the University of Central Oklahoma. Kline defeated another current Jenks player, Connor Houston, 2 up in the morning and then edged Sam Johnston of Edmond and Oklahoma Christian University 3 and 1 in the quarterfinals. Kline birdied five of eight holes on the back nine against Johnston, who earlier had knocked out 15-year-old Class 6A state champion Austin Eckroat of Edmond North 1 up in 19 holes.
Crawford, who will be a senior this fall at Jenks, is the lone high school player still standing. He entered the tournament with a more modest goal of making it to the final 16, but has since adjusted his sights and now would love to meet Jelley in the finals. The two started for Jenks together when Crawford was a freshman and sophomore.
"It would be really cool to play Brendon," Crawford said. "I’ve been working really hard on my game, particularly my mental game. Just trying to stay in every match and not get down and commit to every shot."
Crawford will face Casey Fernandez of McAlester, who will be a senior this fall at Southern Miss. Fernandez defeated Heath Myers of Kingfisher 4 and 3 and Nick Pierce of Sallisaw 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals.
Semifinal matches begin at 8 a.m. and 8:07 a.m., with the finals commencing 45 minutes or so after both morning matches conclude.
Jelley’s match with Reeder, who has committed to Oklahoma State prior to this senior year at Edmond North, was the talk of the tournament Tuesday.
Jelley’s eagle on the 10th hole gave him a 3-up lead, but Reeder birdied 11, 13 and 16 to stay in the match. Jelley birdied the par-5 15th and 16 holes before closing it out with a par on 17.
Jelley won four consecutive holes on 3-6 in his match with Cummins, who rebounded with a birdie on 7 but then made bogey or worse on four of the next six.
"This is a tournament I really want to win," Jelley said. "I just want to stick to my game plan. I like my chances but you never know in match play. Someone gets hot and starts making a lot of putts and it’s tough."
If he can get past Kline, Jelley said it would be fun if his former teammate could advance.
"I know Preston’s been working really hard on his game and it’s really paying off. I couldn’t be more happy for him," Jelley said. "That’s awesome to see."
Oklahoma Golf Association
State Amateur Championship
July 21-23, 2014
The Patriot Golf Club
Match Play Results
Round — (Round of 16)
Nick Pierce, Sallisaw, Okla. def. Kyle Story, Edmond, Okla. 19 holes
Casey Fernandez, Mcalester , Oklahoma def. Heath Myers, Kingfisher, Okla. 4 and 3
Zachary Oliver, Checotah, Okla. def. Rustin Purser, Edmond, Okla. 2 and 1
Preston Crawford, Tulsa, Okla. def. Carson Daniel, Stigler , OK. 19 holes
Sam Johnston, Edmond, Okla. def. Austin Eckroat, Edmond, Okla. 19 holes
Eric Kline, Ponca Citty, Oklahoma def. Connor Houston, Tulsa, Okla. 2 up
Brendon Jelley, Tulsa, Okla. def. Tyson Reeder, Edmond, Okla. 3 and 1
Quade Cummins, Weatherford, Okla. def. Cullen Stahl, Lawton, Okla. 4 and 3
Round — (Quarterfinal)
Casey Fernandez, Mcalester , Oklahoma def. Nick Pierce, Sallisaw, Okla. 2 and 1
Preston Crawford, Tulsa, Okla. def. Zachary Oliver, Checotah, Okla. 2 and 1
Eric Kline, Ponca Citty, Oklahoma def. Sam Johnston, Edmond, Okla. 3 and 1
Brendon Jelley, Tulsa, Okla. def. Quade Cummins, Weatherford, Okla. 7 and 5