By Ken MacLeod
At his home Elk City Golf and Country Club, Tres Hill said the course normally plays about 5,900 yards and the greens run at just under 6 on the stimpmeter.
From the tournament tees at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow, Hill was dealing with a different beast, a course that stretches to 7,392 yards with lightning fast greens running at 12.5 for the final round of the OGA State Amateur Championship Wednesday.
No matter. With his length, touch and solid comeback putts every time he raced one past the hole, Hill did just enough to edge future Oklahoma City University teammate Dylan Teeter of Bixby 1 up to become the 2021 state amateur champion. He handled the course just fine in five previous matches to reach the final as well.
“This is big, the biggest victory I’ve ever had along with winning the 4A high school championship,” Hill said.
Hill seems destined for more significant victories to come.
“He’s really, really good,” said Austin Hannah, the former Oral Roberts player now a six-time club champion at The Oaks Country Club, whom Hill defeated 2 up in the morning semifinal matches. “I made a few mistakes, but he’s solid. He hits it really long and he’s going to be a really nice player.”
OCU coach Andy Crabtree jumped in his car and raced up the Turner Turnpike upon learning both of his incoming freshmen would meet in the finals. It was a no-lose proposition for him.
“Both these guys are going to be really good players and help us have a chance to win national championships,” Crabtree said. “The state of Oklahoma junior golf is so strong it’s just amazing and these two are a reflection of that.”
Hill, a starting point guard for his high school basketball team, makes quick decisions and plays refreshingly fast. Teeter has a cool Ben Hogan vibe, from his flat cap to his determined stride and intensity on the course.
Teeter won the first three holes of the title match with pars. Hill’s second shot on the first hole was in a deep divot and he chunked the third into a pond. He hit his tee shot on the par-3 second over the green, then missed right on the par-4 third and his ball somehow stopped short of the pond on a brick retaining wall, but he couldn’t get up-and-down.
He settled down with a birdie on the par-4 fourth, and cut the lead to 1 with a birdie on the par-3 sixth. But he fell down by three again at the turn with a poor tee shot on the short par-4 eighth that forced him to hit his second shot left handed. Teeter then birdied the ninth hole.
Up three and seemingly in good position about 15 feet from the cup on the par-4 11th, Teeter’s birdie effort raced some 8 feet past, leading to a 3-putt. He bogeyed the par-3 13th when he missed the green right, but came right back with a birdie on the par-5 14th to regain a two-up lead.
After Teeter bogeyed the par-3 15th, Hill tied it by chipping in from just right of the green for birdie on the par-4 16th. Teeter hit what appeared to be a good drive on the difficult par-4 17th, but his second shot caught an overhanging tree limb and fell into a pond fronting the green to go down in the match for the first time.
“The chip-in was huge,” Hill said. “I knew something had to go in sooner or later. That was a great time for that to happen.”
Both players hit perfect drives on the uphill par-4 18th. Teeter hit his second shot pin high about 10 feet left of the hole, but his birdie effort drifted by and Hill secured the 1 up victory with a two-putt from 20 feet below the hole.
“I played well,” said Teeter, who works in the bag room at The Club at Indian Springs and had pro Mark Budler and some others from the club in his gallery. “I hit the ball where I thought I needed to all day and didn’t get quite the results that I thought I deserved a few times, but that’s golf. You’ve got to move forward.”
The two had played together in several tournaments but both said they were looking forward to getting to know each better as OCU teammates for the next four years. Both have professional aspirations, but before that will be back for more runs in the State Amateur.
Teeter, who defeated Jake Bay of Shattuck and Abilene Christian University 2 up in the semifinals, said he picked up his affinity for Hogan after reading about his background. “He came from humble beginnings, just like I do, but he showed that you can make it no matter what.”
Both these players look like they’ll be making Crabtree a happy coach for years to come.
Oklahoma Golf Association
State Amateur Championship
July 19-21, 2021
Cedar Ridge Country Club
Dylan Teeter, Bixby def. Jake Bay, Shattuck 2 up
Tres Hill, Elk City def. Austin Hannah, Tulsa 2 up
Hill def. Teeter 1 up