Vitali adds OGA Senior Stroke Play to his summer of success

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Final results:

By Ken MacLeod

BARTLESVILLE – Peter Vitali has found that getting to play golf most weekends –something he rarely did in his former life as a PGA professional –  suits him just fine.

Vitali continued his victory march across the Oklahoma Golf Association landscape Tuesday by winning the Senior Stroke Play Championship at Hillcrest Country Club. He won by two shots over another former PGA professional turned amateur, Greg Bray of Jenks, the former head professional at the Golf Club of Oklahoma who recently regained his amateur status.

Vitali left the pro ranks in 2013 and regained his amateur status in 2016. Now a private investment manager with J.P. Morgan, he turned 50 this year and has since won the OGA Senior Amateur Championship at The Trails in Norman and the Senior Stroke Play Championship, the first to hold both titles in the same year since Mike Hughett in 2012. Eric Mueller also accomplished the feat in 2002. Vitali now holds three OGA championships simultaneously as he and partner Blake Gibson also won the OGA Four-Ball this spring.

Vitali took command of this one on holes 8, 9 and 10, playing the trio in 4-under to shoot past first-round leader Bray as well as  Hughett, who was attempting to land his 25th OGA championship.

Left to right, Peter Vitali and Greg Bray.

The tee box on the par-4 eighth hole was moved up to 275 yards, making it easily drivable but also bringing some difficult pitch shots into play for those who missed the green. Vitali took out his 3-wood and bounced it on the green where it rolled to within six inches of the cup for a tap-in eagle. He then birdied the par-5 ninth and 10thholes.

“I had nothing going until that shot on eight,” Vitali said. “Made two solid birdies on the par-5s and then had another good look on 11. I realized I had a little cushion at that time.”

Vitali made two bogeys over the final seven holes but an outstanding second shot from the trees left on 15 led to another birdie that kept his lead at three shots.

“Being a weekend golfer means I play more than I did as a club pro, for sure,” Vitali said. “It’s really nice to have both these trophies.  There’s some really good golfers in these events.”

Bray had a five-shot lead on the field after shooting 5-under 67 in the opening round then getting off to 1-under start through five holes. But while Vitali was catching fire, Bray had a three-hole stretch in the opposite direction, making bogey on the par-3 sixth, double bogey on the par-5 seventh and bogey on the short par-4 eighth. Suddenly Vitali was three shots out in front, with Hughett as his closest pursuer.

Hughett, however, played the same stretch that Vitali shot 4-under on in even par and didn’t make a birdie after the par-3 sixth. His hopes were dashed permanently on the par-3 16th when his tee shot was a few feet short and went in the pond. He finished with a 2-over 74 and tied for fourth with Blake Gibson. Dustin Wigington shot 1-under 71 and took third at 143, a shot behind Bray.

Bray righted the ship and had a chance to apply some pressure down the stretchc but made par on every hole on the back nine. He closed with a 75 after his opening 67.

“I didn’t play bad, just made a couple of bad choices,” Bray said. “The second shot on 7, I shouldn’t have tried to go for the green and ended up in the hazard.”

Next up on the OGA calendar is the Mid-Amateur Championship Monday and Tuesday at Quail Creek Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City. Hughett is the defending champion but will miss the event to play in a qualifier for the U.S. Senior Amateur. Vitali said he is currently signed up but not sure if he can get off two more days of work

In the OGA Super Senior division, Terry Collier of Bixby shot a final round of 1-under 71 to claim a five-shot victory over Orville Stephens of Okmulgee. Collier finished at 2-over 146, while Stephens shot 151 (78-73) a stroke better than Steve Hughes of Bartlesville (78-74).

28th OGA Senior & 19th OGA Super Senior Stroke Play Championship
Monday, July 24, 2023 – Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Hillcrest Country Club
Final Results

Senior Division
Peter Vitali, Oklahoma City, OK – 71-69–140
Greg Bray, Jenks, OK – 67-75–142
Dustin Wigington, Oklahoma City, OK – 71-72–143
Blake Gibson, Yukon, OK – 73-71–144
Michael Hughett, Owasso, OK – 70-74–144
Scott Mabrey, Tulsa, OK – 70-75–145
Brian Cook, Tulsa, OK – 71-78–149
Scott Challis, Edmond, OK – 76-74–150
Shawn Barker, Bartlesville, OK – 76-74–150
Jason Gulley, Tulsa, OK – 75-75–150
Joel Driver, Oklahoma City, OK – 77-74–151
Roger Smith, Jr, Oklahoma City, OK – 75-76–151
Christopher Laughlin, Edmond, OK – 74-78–152
Eric Evans, Ponca City, OK – 75-78–153
Todd Raffensperger, Broken Arrow, OK – 80-74–154
Don Cochran, Norman, OK – 77-77–154
Jeff Smith, Edmond, OK – 76-80–156
Stephen Siegenthaler, Bixby, OK – 77-79–156
Brent Taylor, Bartlesville, OK – 78-79–157
Guy Child, Stillwater, OK – 77-80–157
Keith Stitt, Tulsa, OK – 76-81–157
Rick Bell, Norman, OK – 74-83–157
Mike Gotcher, Broken Arrow, OK – 75-83–158
Kirk Maynord, Oklahoma City, OK – 80-80–160
Frank Billings, Tulsa, OK – 83-78–161
Scott Athey, Enid, OK – 82-79–161
Robert Strother Shawnee, OK – 79-82–161
Carter Cowan, Tulsa, OK – 83-80–163
Kirk Wright, Oklahoma City, OK – 82-82–164
Roger Hobbs, Edmond, OK – 80-84–164
John Petersen, Enid, OK – 85-80–165
Mark Wallace, Edmond, OK – 83-82–165
Kirk Fryer, Tulsa, OK – 84-82–166
Joel Lake, Bixby, OK – 85-88–173
Mark Crelia, Collinsville, OK – 92-89–181
Marice James, Oklahoma City, OK – 91-95–186

Super Senior Division
Terry Collier, Bixby, OK – 75-71–146
Orville Stephens, Okmulgee, OK – 78-73–151
Steve Hughes, Bartlesville, OK – 78-74–152
Art Bennett Tulsa, OK – 75-78–153
Jim Curd, Bartlesville, OK – 77-77–154
Tom Nielsen, Edmond, OK – 77-78–155
Craig Collins, Enid, OK – 77-78–155
Tim Rogers, Broken Arrow, OK – 77-78–155
Keith Gockenbach, Edmond, OK – 75-85–160
Britt White, Owasso, OK – 81-81–162
Nick Sidorakis, Tulsa, OK – 80-84–164
Mark Friesen, Broken Arrow, OK – 89-81–170
Jack Steinmeyer, Tulsa, OK – 86-85–171
Michael Dillinger, Purcell, OK – 92-85–177
Gary Allen, Chickasha, OK – 90-94–184


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Ken MacLeod

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