By Ken MacLeod
For the third time in four years, Brendon Jelley hoisted the huge trophy signifying he is the Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Champion.
It will also be the last time for a while, as Jelley plans to turn professional next spring after his senior season at Oklahoma State.
“This one meant an awful lot,” said Jelley. “It was here in my hometown. It’s one of my favorite events and I am really excited and relieved to bring it back. I’m turning pro next spring, so this is my last state amateur for a long time.”
Jelley brought it home decisively with a 4 and 3 victory in the championship match Wednesday at Southern Hills Country Club over Cody Burrows of Chickasha, the 2017 Summit League Player of the Year for Oral Roberts. Jelley was five up after 12 holes before Burrows birdied holes 13 and 14. Jelley also birdied 13 and then won the match on 15 when Burrows’ birdie effort from 16 feet came up just short.
Jelley made just one bogey Wednesday, that on the 12th hole in his 4 and 3 semifinal victory over Bryce Newell of Oklahoma City. He also made just one bogey in his two matches Tuesday and played solid golf throughout, giving his opponents little breathing space.
The one exception was his opening match against Oklahoma State teammate Tyson Reeder. Jelley had taken his hat off ready to concede as Reeder rolled a six-foot birdie try on the first playoff hole. It missed, Jelley won two holes later and now again is the champion.
“That’s match play, you just never know what can happen,” Jelley said. “Tyson played really well and I thought he was going to make that putt.”
Jelley took advantage of two miscues by Burrows to get ahead early. Burrows’ second shot on the par-4 second from the rough went over the green into a hazard. Then on the par-3 sixth his tee shot hit the green and bounced over and out of bounds. Jelley then made his longest putt of the tournament, a 30-foot birdie on the par-4 seventh. After Burrows three-putted the eighth, Jelley was four ahead and firmly in control. Burrows drove into a bunker on the par-4 ninth and made another bogey, giving Jelley a huge five up lead at the turn.
Burrows had reached the final in an epic semifinal match with Arkansas sophomore Mason Overstreet of Kingfisher, the 2017 NCAA individual runner-up. Overstreet birdied four holes in succession early, but Burrows withstood the surge with three early birdies of his own and was just one down. He evened the match when Overstreet bogeyed the par-3 eighth, then made birdied on 10 and 11 to go one ahead. He eagled the par-5 16th to go two up, then Overstreet retaliated by nearly driving the par-4 17th and making his seventh birdie of the match.
Needing a final birdie on 18, Overstreet missed his attempt from 25 feet above the hole and Burrows was on to the final.
“I was just trying to survive against Mason,” Burrows said. “He hits it so far past me. I was just trying to hit good iron shots and make a few putts.”
Jelley will conclude his summer by playing in the Western Amateur in two weeks and has also qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship. Then it will be back to Stillwater to fight for playing time on the talented 11-man Cowboy squad.
“I’m playing well and excited to get back and get after it,” Jelley said.
The last player to win the state amateur three times in four years was when Glen Fowler won three times in succession from 1958-60.
Oklahoma Golf Association
State Amateur Championship
July 17-19, 2017
Southern Hills Country Club
Semifinals & Finals Results
Round — (Semifinal)
Cody Burrows, Chickasha, Okla. (8) def. Mason Overstreet, Kingfisher, Okla. (13), 1 up
Brendon Jelley, Tulsa, Okla. (11) def. Bryce Newell, Oklahoma City, Okla. (58), 4 and 3
Round — (Final)
Brendon Jelley, Tulsa, Okla. (11) def. Cody Burrows, Chickasha, Okla. (8), 4 and 3