NORMAN — As Michael Gellerman walked off the 18th green Sunday afternoon, the Championship Flight of the Westwood Invitational already in his bag, the rising Oklahoma junior, likely destined for the Sooner top five when the college golf season begins again in the fall, was shaking his head.
“He’s my best friend,” Gellerman said of the player he clipped by a stroke for the title, Austin Fuller. “But we still want to beat each other as bad as anything.”
Just not like this.
Gellerman three-putted the final hole for a bogey 5, an unfortunate end to his final-round 68 and his winning 201 total.
The three-putt opened the door for Fuller, who had five or six feet coming back to the hole for his own two-putt. Needing to make it to force a playoff, Fuller left the ball on the cup’s front right lip.
“I wish both of us would have made birdie,” Gellerman said.
So he was shaking his head. Conflicted. Though happy to win, he didn’t want to see his buddy lose that way.
“I’ll always root for this guy,” Gellerman said.
It was just one scene from the three days and 54 holes that made up the Westwood Invitational.
It is part top flight golf tournament, part reunion, part cookout and part happy hour. And it’s still the state’s largest stroke play event.
Gellerman became the first current Sooner golfer to win it and you hope he comes back to defend, very possibly about a month after appearing at the 2014 NCAA championship.
It would be great, but not required, for the tourney is self-sustaining, be it by the handful of first-year players who finally choose to give it a whirl, or by the tourney’s lifeblood, the repeaters, some of whom go back decades.