NORMAN — The week leading up to the Westwood Invitational was not one of the better ones for Derek Dodd. The pro golfer had missed two straight cuts on the Adams Tour and was feeling down about his prospects. A phone call as he was pulling into the parking lot Friday morning didn’t make it any better.
“I received a text telling me a good friend, Thy, had been taken off life support that morning,” Dodd said.
In that tragic turn of events, Dodd found renewed purpose and clarity.
“That kind of put everything in perspective for me,” he said. “God blessed me, and things could have been a lot worse. I played this tournament for him.”
And he played it better than anyone else. Climbing from six back early in the final round of the 39th annual OklahomaTickets.com Westwood Invitational, Dodd completed an unlikely comeback to walk away with the title.
Dodd’s victory came in dramatic fashion. He sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that briefly sat on the lip of the cup before falling in. That completed the comeback and put him a shot up on second-place Travis Keeley, and when he matched strokes on 18 Dodd finished his round with a one-under 69 to take the title by one stroke over Keeley and fulfill the promise he dedicated to his friend’s memory.
“It feels great to be able to do that and win,” said Dodd, who had a several top-five finishes but never a victory at the historic tournament. “I was down six and freaking out a little about it coming around the turn, but I stayed relaxed and just played my game. I prepped properly for this tournament; I blueprinted the course and I knew I needed to just stick to my plan and not press.”