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July 7, 2014

Total success, if success can be measured in fun

NORMAN — How to judge the success of the 39th annual OklahomaTickets.com Westwood Invitational?

Well, you could go with the almost 150 golfers who played this time around. It’s not the tournament’s high-water mark, but it’s up there and several more than the most recent past.

That more than 30 entered into Championship Flight was a big deal, too. Always, there’s quality in the field, but this year provided real depth, too. 

It’s enough to make you wonder if they could spin off a tournament within a tournament. Maybe bring Championship Flight back for 18 more holes. Maybe a new sponsor can come through with $5,000 or $10,000 added just for one more day of golf from the tourney’s marquee flight.

It’d be a hoot.

Of course, it already is.

This was the first year the tournament fell under the watch of new Westwood head pro Rick Parish, and he must be doing something right because the staff presented him a birthday cake, done up in a Boston Red Sox motif, just before it was time for him MC the victory ceremony.

And if there was already a sense of rejuvenation for the state’s largest stroke-play event, 38 years after it all began, it appeared confirmed by the shootout that took place in Championship Flight.

Derek Dodd, a ’99 Westmoore grad, claimed the most competitive Championship Flight in memory, basically winning the tournament with a long birdie putt on the cliff that was the section of the 17th green they put the pin on Sunday.

Even with a bogey on the 18th, Dodd came home in 3-under par 32 to finish at 8-under par 202 to escape with a title that seemed to pass through so many hands.

Travis Keeley, the old Norman High Tiger, who played his college golf at East Central, got it to 11-under after going 4-under through the first eight. However, that total was back to 7-under by the time he was teeing off on No. 11.

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