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Oklahoma Junior: winners crowned as golf tries a return to normal
04 Jun 2020
by Brayden Conover of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Oklahoma Junior Amateur, Kickingbird Golf Club

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L-R: James Roller, Emily Miller, Ryder Cowan (Oklahoma Golf Association photos)
L-R: James Roller, Emily Miller, Ryder Cowan (Oklahoma Golf Association photos)

Oklahoma’s top junior golfers took to Kickingbird Golf Course in Edmond, Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Golf Association’s Junior Championship. While taking COVID-19 precautions in the clubhouse, the OGA and Kickingbird allowed the tournament to be played ‘regularly’ with normal cups and allowing the flagstick to be taken out.

“I give the OGA a lot of credit,” Oklahoma Christian School head coach Tosh Hays told AmateurGolf.com. “Last week we did not take the pins out of the holes. We required everyone to putt with the flags in.”

Hays got to see the future of his boys golf program take center stage as Ryder Cowan bested his OCS teammate Bryant Polhill in the 14-15 boys championship. Both Cowan and Polhill finished their freshman year at OCS and played just one tournament before the COVID-19 ended their season.

Polhill had a one-hole advantage on 10 of the first 14 holes with Cowan staying well within striking range. Tied on the 17th tee, Cowan took his first lead of the match with a par countering Polhill’s bogey. Not looking back, Cowan closed out the match with a birdie on 18 to win 2UP on his teammate.

“I was just so proud of them,” Hays said. “The way they were representing themselves, the school, it was such a great match.”

Edmond North senior and Texas Tech commit James ‘JP’ Roller beat red-hot Oklahoma commit Drew Goodman 4&2 to capture the 16-18 boys championship. Prior to the championship match, Goodman was 20-under for the tournament which included a six-under performance through 17 holes in his 3&1 semifinal win.

Roller and Goodman dueled for much of the front nine before Roller fired a dart from 187-yards to four-feet on the par-5 ninth tapping in for eagle and taking a 2UP advantage before making the turn.

Trading blows but not allowing Goodman to make up too much ground, Roller had a 3UP advantage heading to the par-3 16th. Hitting his tee shot to 20-feet, Goodman cleaned up a par before conceding the match to Roller who had a four-footer for birdie.

With his senior season cut short, Roller said the win over his friend in the championship meant “a lot” to him. Surely the duo will get the opportunity to play each other again as they are heading to rival Big 12 schools.

In the girls division, Edmond North senior Emily Miller got one last junior golf win at her home course. Never making it past the first round of match play in her career, Miller found herself matched up with the No. 1 seed and good friend, Maddi Kamas in the championship match.

1UP at the turn, Miller kicked it into gear on the back nine, quickly building a 3UP lead through 12 holes. Cutting the lead back down to 2UP, Kamas ran out of holes before falling to Miller 2&1.

“I knew she [Kamas] was going to be really tough to beat,” Miller said. “I just kept trying to make putts, keep my head on, and stay steady.”

Miller is committed to playing at the University of Central Oklahoma where she has high aspirations for herself and her future team.

“My goal is to take UCO to the national championship and compete as a team and hopefully win there.”

View results for Oklahoma Junior Amateur

ABOUT THE Oklahoma Junior Amateur

Open to juniors 14-18 (19 if haven't started college) who haven't started college and are residents of Oklahoma. Format is 36 holes of stroke play (will crown stroke play champion) and top 16 in each age group qualify for Match Play. 14-15 and 16-18 players must play in their age group.

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