By Murray Evans
DUNCAN (June 24, 2020) – Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen hadn’t planned on spending the summer in the United States, but when the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in tournament cancellations in Europe and made travel challenging, the Oklahoma State sophomore from Denmark opted to stay in Stillwater.
That’s proven to be a fortuitous decision. Neergaard-Petersen held off challenges from J.P. Roller of Jenks and Carson Tewell of Edmond on the back nine in the final round on Wednesday to win the Oklahoma Golf Association Stroke Play Championship at The Territory Golf and Country Club.
Neergaard-Petersen closed with a 3-under-par 69 and at 14-under 202 for the three-round tournament. That was good for a three-shot win over Tewell, who also shot a 69 while finishing as the tournament’s runner-up for a second straight year. Roller, a Texas Tech signee who began the day with a one-shot lead over Neergaard-Petersen, posted a 74 and was third, one shot behind Tewell.
Neergaard-Petersen added the OGA win to his extensive amateur resume, one which includes wins in the German International Amateur Championship in 2018 and 2019 and the DM Junior Danish National Championship in 2017 and runner-up finishes in the Danish International Amateur Championship in 2018 and 2019.
“I’m just excited to be back playing competitive golf, honestly,” he said. “It’s been awhile.”
He spent the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Denmark before returning to OSU for the spring portion of his sophomore season. In March, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down college sports as well as events in Europe, but many U.S. amateur events still were planned.
For a college guy just wanting to play golf, the choice about where to spend the summer seemed obvious. He’s got a busy schedule the next few weeks, with amateur events in North Carolina, Texas and Indiana.
“I could have gone home, but there wouldn’t have been any tournaments to play in,” he said. “So I’m going to play here all summer.”
Roller, who won the OGA Junior Boys Amateur title earlier this summer at Kickingbird Golf Course in Edmond, lost his lead with a double-bogey on the par-5 No. 2, while Tewell – who started the round four shots behind Roller – birdied the par-4 No. 1, and what seemed like a two-horse race entering the day suddenly had a third entrant.
By the turn, Neergaard-Petersen held a two-shot lead over Roller, with Tewell another shot back. Tewell, who is transferring from Stetson to NCAA Division II power Central Oklahoma for the 2020-21 season, bogeyed the par-5 No. 11 to fall four shots back while Roller birdied it to pull within one.
But Tewell hit long birdie putts at No. 12 and No. 13, and Neergaard-Peterson three-putted from 60 feet on the latter hole. Suddenly, Neergaard-Petersen and Roller were tied, with Tewell just one shot back.
Neergaard-Petersen knew he had to respond and he did, draining a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 No. 14 to regain the solo lead. That putt was set up by a shot from about 200 yards out with a 5-iron, into the wind.
“I’d probably say that was my best shot of the tournament,” he said. “That was a huge momentum shift. I got the lead back and it settled me down.”
Roller’s hopes ended at No. 15, when his second shot on the par-5 went into the woods to the left of the fairway and he had to take a drop, eventually resulting in a bogey. Neergaard-Petersen, meanwhile, reached the green in two shots and birdied the hole and built his lead to three shots.
“I’m not going to lie. I was struggling a little bit today,” Neergaard-Petersen said. “I didn’t hit the ball as good as I did the past couple of days. At 13, I hit a poor shot … and I ended up three-putting that. I wasn’t too happy about that. I kind of felt I just needed to keep plugging away, because I wasn’t hitting the ball the way I wanted to today.”
With his grandfather, former PGA Tour pro Doug Tewell, watching from the gallery, Carson Tewell drained a 70-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to pull within two shots and keep things interesting, but Neergaard-Petersen steadily parred No. 18.
“I would fall behind a little bit and then I’d fall back and (Neergaard-Petersen) would make a little run and jump out even further ahead,” Tewell said. “It was a solid tournament for me. I just try to keep putting myself in contention. It’s all learning.”
Oklahoma Golf Association
Stroke Play Championship
June 22-24 2020
The Territory Golf Club
Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen Stillwater – 67-66-69 — 202
Carson Tewell Edmond – 68-68-69 — 205
James Roller Jenks – 67-65-74 — 206
Jordan Wilson Edmond Oklahoma – 68-72-67 — 207
Jaxon Dowell Edmond OK – 69-69-70 — 208
Logan McAllister Norman – 71-69-68 — 208
Brian Stark Stillwater – 69-69-71 — 209
JR Hurley Norman – 73-72-66 — 211
Tyson Reeder Edmond – 69-72-70 — 211
Drew Mabrey Tulsa – 71-67-74 — 212
Mason Overstreet Kingfisher – 71-70-71 — 212
Alex Motes Edmond – 73-69-71 — 213
Heath Myers Kingfisher – 73-69-71 — 213
Heston Brown Cordell – 69-70-76 — 215
Kason Cook Hydro – 71-72-72 — 215
Trent Lutze Edmond – 71-71-73 — 215
Trevor Norby Edmond – 72-68-75 — 215
Matthew Smith Oklahoma City – 70-69-76 — 215
Bennett Baldwin Stillwater – 70-74-72 — 216
Dillon Eaton Moore – 74-71-71 — 216
Davis Woodliff Tulsa – 70-71-75 — 216
Kolton Baber Devol – 70-71-76 — 217
Tres Hill Elk City – 71-72-74 — 217
Jared Strathe Owasso – 72-70-75 — 217
Parker Rose Stigler – 74-69-75 — 218
Carson Griggs Sand Springs – 75-70-74 — 219
Patrick West Jenks – 70-74-76 — 220
Lane Wallace Yukon – 71-74-77 — 222
Craig Sanders Edmond OK – 75-70-79 — 224
Josiah Crews Ninnekah Oklahoma – 70-72-84 — 226