The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

August 4, 2013

Betchan wins Wheat Capital by 4 shots

ENID, Okla. — Jay Betchan no longer will be known as the best player never to win the Wheat Capital Golf Tournament.

The 42-year-old Betchan, who had six seconds in the tournament, finally captured the one local golf prize which has alluded him Sunday.

He shot a three-under par 68 for a 36-hole score of 139, four shots better than runner-up Jon Cline, who had a 71 for a 143.

“I do feel the monkey is lifted off my back,’’ Betchan said. “Everybody asks me ‘Why (haven’t you) won the Wheat Capital? We think you’re a good player, so why haven’t you won the Wheat Capital?’ ... Everybody expects you to win every tournament. They forget how hard it is to win a tournament. There are a lot of good players out there. It’s hard to win them all.’’

Betchan, who had a one-shot lead over Cline and Josh Bugg going into the final round, had five birdies and two bogeys for the day.

Cline had three birdies and three bogeys.

Betchan had birdies on Nos. 1, 6, 8, 10 and 15. Cline was only two back after making the turn with a one-under 35, but had a one-over 36 on the back to Betchan’s 34.

“I didn’t feel much pressure,’’ Betchan said. “I’ve played in quite a few big tournaments. I did tell my boys coming in that odd things can happen in tournaments. You never know.’’

Betchan has been a victim of bad luck. One year, he ended up in second after the eventual champion hit a golf cart on a wayward shot to avoid going out-of-bounds. The winner would chip up for a birdie.

“I’ve finished second so many times here,’’ Betchan said. “I’ve shot a 65 and finished second and I’ve shot in the 70s and finished second. It’s nice to put two good rounds together and win.’’

Betchan, third-place finisher Brady Wood (70) and first flight winner Ashton Armstrong (69) were the only players to finish under par Sunday.

Meadowlake pro Cody Lack had predicted scores would be higher than in the past because the rough at the course was thicker and higher than in the past. The 139 was the highest winning score since Jerrod Luttrell took the 2003 crown with a 141.

“The conditions were a positive factor for me,’’ Betchan said. “The more difficult the course, the better I play. The courses that I play national qualifiers in the rough is high and the greens are firm and fast.

“That (conditions) puts a premium on ball striking ... keeping the ball in the fairway and hitting greens. I was doing that. I can’t out hit a lot of these guys. When guys can hit it 310 yards, it turns everything into a pitch and putt.’’

Betchan plans to go to a U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan., in September.

“This puts me into a good frame of mind for that,’’ he said.

Wood’s round included three birdies (Nos. 2, 7 and 8) and two bogeys (Nos. 4 and No. 17).

Dave Cagle was fourth at 146 after a second-straight two-over par 73. That was good enough to win the separate senior division.

For the first time in Lack’s five-year tenure as tournament director, there were sudden death playoffs in the other flights.

Armstrong beat out Troy Rasp in first flight after both finished at 148. Bill Heizer beat out David Betchan in second flight after both finished at 160.

Other flight winners wer Brandon Beckett, third, 164; An Sik Kang, fourth, 169; Bobby Birchfield, fifth, 177; and David Keuchel, sixth, 185.

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