Transcript Sports Editor
The only shame of it was Ryan Rainer had to stop after nine holes.
He might have shot 59. Heck, he might have shot 58. Anyway, the way he was going, only overnight and early-morning rains kept Tim Fleming's 15-under-par tournament record safe; even as it remains a fair bet nobody's ever put on a better shot-making exhibition than the one Rainer turned in on the way to Championship Flight victory at the 30th annual Westwood Invitational.
The third and final round cut back to nine holes after rain suspended play for more than two hours Monday morning, Rainer used what time he had to fire 29 on Westwood's front nine, catching and passing overnight leader Bryan Reed by two strokes.
"It was fun guys," Reed said, exiting the final green. "Fun to watch."
The statement was not only sarcastic, but oh, so true.
Finishing at 13-under 162 for his 45 holes, Rainer, a soon-to-be senior on the Kansas golf team by way of Norman North, was an undeniable force.
"It's been a couple of years since I played to my potential when it really matters," he said.
Rainer birdied No. 1 to shave Reed's lead, only to watch Reed come back with a birdie at No. 2 and reestablish his three-stroke overnight edge.
Rainer began his charge to the title after driving more than 50 yards over the third green, a 301-yard par 4, when his pitch back to a top-shelf pin lipped out. Reed failed to get up and down and the lead was two.
After both made two-putt birdies at the par 5 fifth, the lead was halved when Reed pulled his drive on No. 6 into a tree and had to settle for a two-putt bogey.
Rainer drained a 12-footer for birdie on No. 7 to force a tie. Then, after driving right on No. 8, found a lane through trees wide enough to spin his approach within four feet. Reed lipped out on the high side from 10 feet, Rainer made his short putt and the lead belonged to the Jayhawk from Norman.
The best was saved for last: Rainer hit his tee shot to the par 3 ninth 5 inches from the cup.
It was, indeed, fun to watch.
"He's a great kid. I'm proud of him," said Reed, classy in defeat. "A lot of people had given it to me, but you've got to finish. And he went out and earned it."
For Rainer, it was deja vu; not of a previous 29, but a victory.
"That nine reminded me of the final nine at state (in 2001)," he said. "I shot 31."
It was also "the last (tournament) I probably truly won."
Almost as amazing as the 29 was Rainer's reaction: none after tying at No. 7 and taking the lead at No. 8, and next to none after tapping in for victory; though he seemed to enjoy the aftermath, spending it with his parents and getting a bite to eat before receiving his trophy.
"Act like you've been there before," he said of his stoic turn. "I don't want to sound cocky, but I didn't want to rub it in."
Although he wasn't in the final group, former Sooner Kelsey Cline sneaked into third place, closing with a 32 to finish at 8-under-par 167. Mark Crabtree and Andre Metzger Jr. tied for fourth at 168. Brandon Blevins and Jondavid Metzger tied for sixth at 169.
Until Rainer worked his magic, the younger Metzger, with a 30, owned the day's best score.
The Championship Flight wasn't the only one to post red numbers, as Steve Landreth and Scott Ward both finished 45 holes at 5-under 170 in the Masters Flight. Landreth, with a par on No. 9, won the first-place trophy in a playoff.
Trey Rabon was next at 173, followed by Jim Traber at 178.
Scott Jackson, Jere Peer, John Reese and Tim Oyler tied for fifth at 179.
Chris Dickerson will have to jump up a flight next year, maybe two, after being the only player in the First Flight to finish under par. Dickerson followed rounds of 71 and 69 with a Monday 34 to coast to a six-stroke victory.
Charles Johnston, Alan Moody and Doug Warr tied for second at 180. Hal Moore and Morri Rose tied for fifth at 181.
After an opening 72 and a follow-up 81, Jeff Jones returned to fine form to close with a 37 and win the Second Flight, one stroke better than Steve Parham, who closed in 36 to finish at 191.
David Smelser was third at 192. Jason Brumm and Jim Meeks tied for fourth at 195.
Josh Simpson and Mike Burke just couldn't shake one another. Both players opened in 76, followed with a 78 and closed in 37. Simpson finally created enough distance to grab the Third Flight trophy, winning a playoff with a par on No. 1.
Tom Irey missed the playoff by a stroke after shooting 76-78-38 to finish at 192.
Bill McConnell, Foster Mullen and Dusty Johnston tied for fourth at 196.
Rex Brown took the Fourth Flight title with a handicap-adjusted 167 after rounds of 65, 66 and 36. Ralph Craig was next, three strokes back, in rounds of 63-67-40. Henry Drury was third at 171. Terry Saxon, Michael Smith and Mark McGuire tied for fourth in 174.
Clay Horning 366-3526 cfhorning@norma
Transcript Sports Editor
This Week's Circulars
Donald Dayne "DAF" Keim, 68, of Norman, passed away Wednesday, April 14, 2021. There are no services scheduled at this time. Condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com
Paula Jean Meyer, 66, of Moore passed away 4/16/2021. Visitation, 2PM-4PM, 4/18/2021, Tribute Memorial Care Event Center, 708 24th Ave. NW, Norman. Celebration of Life Service, 10AM, 4/19/2021, Emmaus Baptist Church, 16001 S Western Ave, Oklahoma City. (www.tribute.care) 405.292.4787.
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