By Ken MacLeod
EDMOND – After four days of battling intense Oklahoma heat, precious few birdies were flying in the finals of the Oklahoma Golf Association Senior State Amateur Championship at Fairfax Golf Course Thursday.
The lone birdie of the day, in fact, came on a 30-foot putt on the 11th hole, giving Oklahoma City fireman Kirk Wright a 3-up advantage over Lawrence Field of Tulsa. Wright went on to claim his second OGA senior crown with a 4 and 3 victory.
The 11th hole was crucial, but the hole that doomed Field was the 13th. He was presented an excellent opportunity to win his first hole of the match and cut the lead to two when Wright lost his tee shot in woods left of the fairway. But after a perfect drive, Field his his second shot from 120 yards over the green into a nasty lie and could not get up and down. Wright, meanwhile, hit his second drive down the middle, stuffed a wedge 3 feet away and made the putt for a bogey that halved the hole.
â€œThe one that settled me down was 13,â€ Wright said. â€œTo get out of that hole without losing it was huge. It could have turned the tide. That gave me the momentum.â€
â€œI thought I had stuffed it,â€ Field said of his second shot. â€œI didnâ€™t have a flyer lie. There may have been a little wind behind it, but I didnâ€™t think it would go over. Looking back, I should have laid off and put it in the middle of the green.â€
What happened instead was that Field suffered his fourth three-putt of the round on the par-3 14th hole to fall four down and the match ended on 15 when Field missed a 15-foot birdie effort.
Field, a Southern Hills member who had a tremendous junior career before setting aside golf for most of 20 years, now has rededicated himself to the game and in 2015 won the Trans-Miss Four-Ball Championship with Draegen Majors. He played well throughout the week, but the speed on his lag putts was off Thursday, resulting in too many lengthy par putts which he failed to convert.
â€œI didnâ€™t feel tired at any point and I wasnâ€™t nervous,â€ Field said. â€œI just couldnâ€™t see the line and I was probably moving my head a little bit. And I wasnâ€™t hitting my irons that well and left myself with too many 30-, 40- and 50-footers instead of reasonable birdie putts. This is a course you ought to be able to take better advantage of and have make some birdies.
â€œKirkâ€™s putt on 11 was big. I was only down two and I had come back from two down yesterday with five holes left. But every time a door opened I wasnâ€™t able to take advantage of it.â€
Wright, 55 and a fireman for 29 years, said he felt the effects of the heat in his afternoon 2 and 1 semifinal victory over Don Clark Wednesday. He was shaky on the greens early, with two three-putts in the first three holes, but settled down and played even par from the remainder of the match.
â€œIt was a grind,â€ Wright said. â€œMy legs were feeling it yesterday toward the end of the second match. I didnâ€™t play well toward the end. But I was able to get a bunch of fluids in last night and thankfully we played early today.
â€œBoth of us were a little erratic with the putter at the start. Thankfully mine calmed down a little bit. Lawrence was fighting his putter a little bit.â€
It was the fourth trip to the finals for Wright, who won this event in 2013 and gave away an excellent chance to repeat in 2014 before losing to Mike Hughett in 2015.
Oklahoma Golf Association
Senior State Amateur Championship
June 13-16, 2016
Fairfax Golf Course
Match Play Results
Kirk Wright, Oklahoma City, Okla. (11) def. Lawrence Field, Tulsa, Okla. (4), 4 and 3