2014 U.S. Senior Open
Oak Tree National was honored to host the 2014 U.S. Senior Open July 7-13th, 2014. Senior Open Champion Colin Montgomerie led at the end of the first and second days of the Senior Open, but entered Sunday's action four shots behind Gene Sauers and shot a 2-under 69 to force the playoff. On the 18th hole of regulation, Montgomerie parred, and Sauers had a chance to win the tournament with a birdie. His putt lipped out to force the playoff. "I guess I just may have misread that putt the first time around, didn't play enough break," Sauers said. "Hit a good putt, broke right at the hole at the last second." Montgomerie, saying he is playing his best golf since the 90's, entered the third extra hole with a one-shot lead, then sank a putt on 18 to par the hole and claim the win. Entering the playoff at 5 under par, it was the first playoff at a U.S. Senior Open since 2002 and was held in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees.
2012 Trans - Mississippi Championship
Oak Tree National was honored to host the109th Trans-Mississippi Championship July 9th, 2012 in which UC - Davis’ Tyler Raber wins! Tyler outlasted a talented field of amateur players and a long day of golf at one of the Midwest’s most challenging facilities. Raber held off University of Iowa’s Steven Ihm by a single shot with his final 1-over par 72. Earlier in the day Raber had posted a 4-over par 75 in the third round and trailed Arkansas’ Austin Cook by one stroke heading into the final round. Ihm placed second after rounds of 72 and 73 the final day. Cook finished in third place overall after rounds of 71 and 76. Oklahoma City’s Jeff Coffman was the low mid-amateur with a 72-hole total of 295.
2006 Senior PGA Championship
It took three playoff holes and what was left of his remaining nerves but once it ended, Jay Haas had earned his first major win at the 67th Senior PGA Championship at Oak Tree Golf Club on Sunday.
Haas got up and down from a front-right greenside bunker, draining a testy 12-foot par putt on No. 18. That left Brad Bryant with a 4-footer to extend the playoff to a fourth hole. However, Bryant hit a weak putt that slipped past the left side of the cup, ultimately handing Haas the championship and his third consecutive Champions Tour win.
“I was expecting to go to the next tee and I think when Brad missed I didn’t know what to do or where to go, who to look at, anything like that,” Haas said. “It was a little relief, but definitely just bliss, joy. I don’t know.”
Despite the way it ended, Bryant said he was pleased with his second-place finish.
“Jay will be a great champion for this championship,” Bryant said. “I think that that’s good. It’s good to have a major player win a major championship, not that I wouldn’t be a great champion, but you know, when you look at it, Jay’s been such a great player for such a long time, he deserves a major. He deserves a major, quite honestly, more than I do. I’m glad he won. He’s a tremendous man.”
Both Haas and Bryant holed dramatic putts on the 72nd hole, but Haas was the first player to post 5 under par in regulation.
Playing in the group behind Haas, who minutes earlier had drained an 8-footer for birdie and the clubhouse lead, Bryant followed by hitting a terrific approach from the right rough to 15 feet. When his right-to-left putt died in the hole, he jumped in the air and got a bear hug from his caddie.
The celebration didn’t last long, as Bryant needed to head back to the tee at the 433-yard par-4 18th for the first hole of the sudden-death playoff.
Both players made par, but Bryant’s was interesting. His third shot, a chip, rolled to within 4 feet of the hole. Needing par to extend the playoff, Bryant’s ball lipped around the cup before dropping in, sending oohs and ahhs throughout the enormous gallery surrounding the green.
The playoff resumed at No. 1, a 437-yard par 4. When Haas’ drive sailed way right, Bryant had the upper hand and placed his tee shot in the fairway.
With a birdie putt from 15 feet for the win, Bryant came up short and left and for the second time, and the playoff moved over to No. 18. Only this time, it would be decided there.
Back on the 18th tee, Haas ripped his drive down the center of the fairway. Bryant followed with a perfect tee shot of his own.
For his approach shot, Haas had 182 yards to the hole into a strong breeze, while Bryant had just 157.
With a 5-iron, Haas sent his second shot into the deep, front-right greenside bunker with not a whole lot of green between the ball and the hole. It was only the second greenside bunker he had been in all week.
“I remember what Tiger did a few years ago there at St. Andrews and didn’t hit in the bunker,” Haas said. “It was nothing like that. That’s way better. But, yeah, I wouldn’t have thought that at the start of the week that I would have been in plenty of bunkers.”
Bryant took a few seconds to figure out the wind. Once he had it gauged, he unleashed a mid-iron shot into the fringe in the back-right corner of the green.
From 70 feet, Bryant was the first to play the third shot. Playing 10 feet of break, he nestled the ball to within 4 feet of the hole.
Haas’ bunker shot came up well short of the hole and left a nervy 12-foot par putt, which he poured in on the right edge as if it were nothing.
When Bryant blew his par putt by the left edge of the hole, Haas became a major champion for the first time in his 29-year professional career.
“I guess I don’t think too much of the past, about what I haven’t done,” Haas said. “But yeah, it kind of hit me right there. And it was on TV and I wanted to say, ‘We did it, Jan (his wife), and couldn’t get that out. Nothing would come out. And I was getting ready to tear up, so it was a pretty emotional time for me there.”
With a strong wind blowing through the grounds of Oak Tree Golf Club, Haas somehow found a way to combat the breeze, and actually stunned everyone—including himself—with a run of five straight birdies that followed back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 2 and 3.
“Heck, 1, 2 and 3 if you hit any kind of decent shots, those are some of the easy holes out here. So as I was two over, I did not feel very confident,” Haas said. “But at the same time I had hit a lot of good shots up to that point. The five birdies in a row were something that—I think six in a row is the most I’ve ever done—and never in a major tournament. Never right by the lead. I had some stretches and everything, but to do it on this golf course and to get in the hunt. I said on the 18th green I got the fresh tires way too soon in NASCAR speak, being from South Carolina. But I looked up after No. 9 or 10 and I had like a two-shot lead. I went, ‘oh my goodness, that’s way too early to have a two shot lead? But again to be sitting here I didn’t think it was going to happen and at quite a few times during the day. But it sure is sweet.”
In the meantime, hometown favorite Gil Morgan, a native of Edmond and a member at Oak Tree who had the 54-hole lead, played the bogey-birdie game. Beginning on the third hole, Morgan went bogey-birdie over the next six holes before he bogeyed No. 9 to make the turn at 3 under par. Another bogey at No. 12 dropped him to 2-under and effectively ended his chances.
“Basically I kind of got out of sync, I think the front nine there,” said Morgan, who finished alone in third place at 3 under par. “And I think that was the story of my round today. I played very poorly for about four or five holes on the front and then wasn’t able to muster anything on the back.”
Dana Quigley, a runner-up in 2005, finished in fourth place at 2 under par, while Loren Roberts finished fifth at 1 under par.
Bryant was sailing along at 6 under par until he hit a messy patch on the front nine. He bogeyed No. 5 after a poor bunker shot, bogeyed No. 6 after failing to get up and down and double-bogeyed No. 7 after missing a short bogey putt. He battled back with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 but a bogey at 15 put him behind the eight ball before his dramatic eagle brought his chances back to life.
Bryant made a terrific birdie on No. 8, sticking his tee shot on the par 3 to within five feet, but gave the shot back at No. 9 after a wayward tee shot into the trees on the left forced him to punch out. The safety shot he played got dangerous when it skidded through the fairway and into the rough, leaving him an awkward sidehill lie. From there, he hit his third shot well over the flag and two-putted from 30-feet for bogey. He went into the back nine three shots off the lead at 2 under.
“I got to play with Gil again today and one of the things I do when I play with Gil is I watch him and I try to mimic his composure,” said Bryant, who played his last six holes in 4 under par. “He stays so level and so he’s just wonderful to watch on the golf course. He’s great man to know off the golf course. So I think that that helped a lot as far as having my composure.”
Haas nearly played his way out of the tournament on No. 16. Shortly before Bryant’s eagle, Haas’ second shot with a fairway wood bounced into and safely out of a lateral hazard on the left, just in front of the green.
Taking advantage of his lucky break, Haas was able to make par.
“I was very fortunate,” Haas said. “As I said, you have to get lucky breaks to win tournaments and that was a pretty glaring lucky break right there.”
2000 PGA Club Pro Championship
A spectacular lightning display hovered long enough ... almost seven hours ... near Oak Tree Golf Club on a Sunday morning. Mother Nature’s exhibition cancelled the final 18-hole round of the 33rd PGA Club Professional Championship, but it didn’t end the dramatics. A contingency plan of a five- hole cumulative score playoff was deployed to decide the winner of the Walter Hagen Cup. Tim Thelen of Richmond,Texas and Mark Brown of Glen Cove, N.Y., who had tied after 54 holes at 1-over-par 214, marched to the 10th tee on a soggy Oak Tree layout to decide the national championship. Thelen, a 39- year-old assistant at Baywood Country Club in Pasadena, Texas, opened the duel by saving par from a greenside bunker. Two holes later, at the 131-yard par-3 13th, Thelen hit a sand wedge to within four feet of the hole. Brown’s tee shot sailed wide right into a grassy swale, from where he saved par with a brilliant recovery pitch and made a 10-foot par putt. But Thelen’s one-stroke margin held up on the par-4 14th, as he two-putted for par from 35 feet and Brown followed by missing his downhill 20-foot birdie attempt. Thelen had learned much from his CPC appearance one year earlier, when he tied for eighth at Whistling Straits in Kohler,Wis. “I had been there before and gone through the pressure. I felt I was ready. Oak Tree was without question the toughest golf course I’ve played in my life - by two shots.”
1988 PGA Championship
Scoring over the first thirty-six holes of the championship was as hot as the 100-degree air. Thirty-one players broke par as Bob Gilder led the pack with a course-record 66. His record lasted only one day, however, as Dave Rummets followed an opening 73 with a seven- under-par 64. Rummels made nine birdies, including five in a row on holes 4 through 8, a record forty-four players bettered par, with Paul Azinger taking the 36-hole lead at 133 and club pro Jay Overton a stroke back. The cut came at 144, a record low for the PGA.
Azinger shot a 71 on Saturday to hold his lead as the wind came up and blew several players out of contention. One shot that helped him was his tee shot at number 4, which sailed across the pond, took two bounces, and went into the hole for an ace. Azinger thrust his fist into the air and tossed his visor to the heavens. At that point he had a four-stroke lead. But by day’s end, it was down to one as Rummels stayed hot with a 68. Three off the lead was diminutive Jeff Sluman, at 5 foot 7 inches and 135 pounds the smallest player on the Tour. Sluman, playing steadily, had attracted little notice while bettering par in each of his three rounds: 69,70,68.
Azinger found himself in a familiar position. Three weeks earlier he had led the British Open after fifty-four holes only to lose it to Nick Faldo with bogeys at 17 and 18. Now Faldo was in fourth place, four back. As for the two nearer pursuers, neither Rummels nor Sluman had ever won on the Tour.
But on Sunday, Sluman would win in the most decisive way, with a round of 65 that tied David Graham’s 1979 mark as the lowest winning final round in PGA history. His score of 272 was only one off the championship record and it made him the first player since Jerry Pate in 1976 to make a major championship his inaugural victory.
The key hole was number 5 where Azinger made a bogey 6 and Sluman stunned the field by holing out a 115-yard wedge shot for eagle 3. “As soon as I hit it I knew it was going to be close,” he said. “When it went in, it was the first time in 95-degree heat that I’ve had chills all up and down my body.”
Azinger followed his bogey, with another bogey at 6 as Sluman birdied 7 to go two ahead. Three more birdies on the back nine sealed it for him. Azinger tried to catch him, birdieing 16 and then hitting the stick with his tee shot at 17, his ball stopping only three inches away. But he needed another birdie at 18, and instead he made a bogey.
Prior to Oak Tree, Sluman had had trouble finishing tournaments. Although he ranked fourth in scoring average on the Tour (70.23), his third-round average of 71.5 ranked 112th and his final round average of 71.9 was 19th. He had blown leads at three tournaments earlier in the year. But this time, over the final thirty-six holes, he outplayed the field by five strokes. In the last round he missed only one fairway, only three greens. No one lost this PGA. Jeff Sluman won it.
1984 U.S. Amateur
Surviving a week of temperatures up to 107 degrees and even rain delays, participants included golf legends such as Dillard Pruitt, Bob Estes, Greg Turner, and Sam Randolph. Of all the players, however, one young student from Oklahoma State University outshined them all.
Scott Verplank had never participated in a USGA Amateur before 1984. In fact, he had never participated in any USGA event. The odds, however, were on Verplank’s side. In the two years leading up to the ’84 amateur, Verplank had won scores of NCAA tourneys, the Porter Cup, the Sunnehanna, and even the Western Amateur. It was a winning streak that would not be broken this time around, either.
With OSU golf coach Mike Holder caddying at his side, Scott Verplank went on to win the ’84 Amateur with a score of 4 & 3, beating out runner-up Sam Randolph in one of the the first major victories of his golfing career.