By Ken MacLeod
Mike McGraw wolfed down his dinner, reading and rereading his notes and confessed, “I’m nervous.”
Then he hopped up before a ballroom packed with family, friends and golfers from around the state, and in a 10-minute rapid fire speech that was equal parts humorous, witty, poignant and raw, knocked it out of the park while paying tribute to his father and mother, Gervis and Pat McGraw.
The Cherokee Strip honored the legacy of Gervis McGraw, head professional at Ponca City Country Club from 1957-1982, and his wife of 43 years Pat, who worked at his side during all the years the club hosted the famed Cherokee Strip pro-am, which raises money for the Opportunity Center in Ponca City.
“I have such great memories,” Mike said. “I’ve played in 17 Cherokee Strips now, but this one is pretty special without my parents.”
McGraw played in the tournament with his twin sister and Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame member Patty McGraw, her husband Chuck Coatney, head professional at Stillwater Country Club and a long-time assistant for Gervis at Ponca City, and brother Tim McGraw, who finished first in the Senior Professional Category shooting rounds of 72-70.
Mike, former high school coaching legend, Oklahoma State coach and now the head coach now at Baylor, also participated in and won the 2018 Mr. Cherokee Strip Pageant on Friday night (see video) and fully embraced all that has made The Cherokee Strip such a fun and memorable event over the years.
Mike recalled how his mother revolutionized a woman’s role in the golf shop, not only by running day-to-day operations but by starting a woman’s boutique in the shop, selling dresses to the members.
“She was the smartest woman I’ve ever known in my life and she was only high school educated,” Mike said. “She read two books a week for 54 years. Just try that out. I tried to honor her memory in 2005 by reading one book a week and got through 35. I thought I did pretty well to do that.
“She learned and taught herself through reading. She taught herself accounting and kept his books. I know my dad couldn’t have done what he did without her help.”
As for his father, Mike shared several stories (video) that illustrated his father’s sense of humor, dedication and old-fashioned values.
Below are the results from this year 57th anniversary tournament. Preston Stanley of Katy, Texas, won the professional division, blistering the course with rounds of 66-62. Trent Whitekiller of Sallisaw was second, four shots back after rounds of 63-69. Rain forced some rounds to be delayed and even moved into the following day for completion.
2018 Cherokee Strip Golf Classic
Ponca City Country Club
September 6, 7 ,8
220 golfers (44 teams) participated in this year’s 57th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Golf Classic at the Ponca City Country Club and 28 ladies participated in the Marty McArthur Ladies Tournament. The Cherokee Strip Golf Classic supports the Opportunity Center Foundation for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Chip Huston, David Kinsinger, and Cynthia Wilson served as the Tournament Co-Chiefs and embraced the Back to the Strip theme with a special tribute in honor of Gervis & Pat McGraw.
Professional Division Winners:
1st: 66-62=128 Preston Stanley
2nd: 63-69=132 Trent Whitekiller
3rd: 70-63=133 Alex Carpenter
4th: 72-62=134 Rhein Gibson
5th (tie): 69-66=135 Mark Walker
69-66=135 Colton Dell
7th (tie): 67-69=136 Chris Greenwood (A)
68-68=136 Evan Nash
9th: 71-66=137 Cameron Meyers
10th: 68-70=138 Tyler Tull
Senior Professional Winners:
1st: Tim McGraw 72-70=142
2nd: Bruce Smith 71-73=144
3rd: Bruce Maddux (A) 78-72=150
Dee Sims Flight – 2 Low Ball Net
1st: 122-118=240 Colton Dell, Pedro Lopez, Derry Paige, Jerry Daniel, Connor Cline
2nd: 122-118=240 Logan McCracken, Grady McKee, Cory Hoover, Jon Hoover, Stacy Landers
3rd: 121-120=241 Chris Brown, Tom Carter, Bryan Carter, Greg Carter, Rick Lemonnier
4th: 122-121=243 Pat Collogan, Russ Didlake, Jeff Webster, Phil Giachino, Matt McCall
5th: 125-120=245 Rhein Gibson, Chip Huston, Matt Bintz, Chris Gilbert, Kiel McCall
Robbie Roberson Flight – 2 Low Ball Net
1St: 128-116=244 Brent Wilcoxen, Joe Mossauer, Wade Lessert, Scott Jackson, Dave Hunt
2nd: 122-122=244 Trevor Austin, Ryan Austin, Steve Austin, Ron Cremers, Brad Purdy
3rd: 124-121=245 Bruce Smith, Richard Arellano, John Wolverton, Mike Pluemer, Ray Sadler
4th: 128-120=248 Chris Greenwood, Tyler Mayse, Mark Detten, Tom Rigdon, Stan Wheeler
5th: 134-119=253 James Anderson, John Brown, Matt Anderson, Brian Anderson Darin Kirchenbauer
Men’s Horse Race Winners
Win: Glen Cassity & Scott Lewis
Place: David Shears & Jack Shears
Show: Earl Lemons & Caitlyn Cassity
Win: Carl Renfro & Craig Myers
Place: Jeff Larmer & Charlie Young
Show: Sam Barto & Wayne McClain
Win: Kevin Billings & Dirk Bush
Place: Joe Kinzer & John Stanley
Show: Mike Daniels & Gary Patton
Friday Day Money – _Dee Sims Flight:
1st: 121 Mark Walker, Jason Flegler, John Hacking, Melissa Bowers, Earl Lemons
2nd: 121 Chris Brown, Tom Carter, Bryan Carter, Greg Carter, Rick Lemonnier
3rd: 122 Pat Collogan, Russ Didlake, Jeff Webster, Phil Giachino, Matt McCall
4th: 123 Shane Pearce, Scott Hart, Chris Holland, Cary Linck, Dirk Bush
Friday Day Money – Robbie Roberson Flight:
1st: 122 Trevor Austin, Ryan Austin, Steve Austin, Ron Cremers, Brad Purdy
2nd: 123 Craig Poet, Jeff Northcutt, David Sparks, Tim Gilbert, Brady Reed
3rd: 124 Bruce Smith, Richard Arellano, John Wolverton, Mike Pluemer, Ray Sadler
4th: 127 Jimmy Howe, Gary Patton, Mike Daniels, Wayne McClain, Sam Barto
Saturday Day Money – _Dee Sims Flight
1st: 118 Colton Dell, Pedro Lopez, Derry Paige, Jerry Daniel, Connor Cline
2nd: 118 Logan McCracken, Grady McKee, Cory Hoover, Jon Hoover, Stacy Landers
3rd: 120 Rhein Gibson, Chip Huston, Matt Bintz, Chris Gilbert, Kiel McCall
4th: 121 Kenzie Nielsen, Pat Rooney, Baloo Subramaniam, Mike Phenix, Dale Chapman
Saturday Day Money – _Robbie Roberson Flight
1st: 116 Brent Wilcoxen, Joe Mossauer, Wade Lessert, Scott Jackson, Dave Hunt
2nd: 119 James Anderson, John Brown, Matt Anderson, Brian Anderson, Darin Kirchenbauer
3rd: 120 Chris Greenwood, Tyler Mayse, Mark Detten, Tom Rigdon, Stan Wheeler
4th: 123 Phillip Bryan, Scott Scholten, Matt Franzen, Jon Chang, Jim Dixson
Ladies Marty McArthur Memorial Tournament – _Modified Scramble
1st (tie): Mary Stanley, Natalie Fraser, Joan Welborn, Barby Myers
Darla Howe, Diane Daniels, Donna Patton, Susie Barto
3rd: Lori Brown, Dawna Bowman, Kylee Thomason, Jennifer Swords
1st: Kim Hart, Laura Holland, Tracy Linck, Angela Kinsinger
Closest to Hole #6: Natalie Fraser
Longest Putt Made #9: Donna Patton
Longest Putt Made #18: Dawna Bowman