DRAMATIC VICTORY: Salado grad O'Rear defeats Harwell on seventh playoff hole, wins Texas Mid-Amateur
SAN ANTONIO – Former Salado High School standout golfer Ryan O'Rear won the 37th Texas Mid-Amateur in dramatic fashion Sunday at Oak Hills Country Club.
The 29-year-old O'Rear, who now resides in Leander, began the third and final round with four consecutive bogeys. However, he then reversed the momentum by playing the next 14 holes in a total of 9 under par – including an eagle on No. 10 en route to a 5-under 30 on the back nine – to fire a 5-under 66 for a 54-hole total of 3-under 210. That 210 total was matched by San Antonio's Colby Harwell, an Oak Hills member and two-time Texas Mid-Amateur champion who shot a final-round 67.
O'Rear and Harwell tied each other on the first six holes of their sudden-death playoff before O'Rear made a 7-foot birdie putt on the seventh playoff hole to earn victory in the Texas Mid-Am, an event for elite players 25 and older.
“That was a great playoff,” O'Rear told the Texas Golf Association afterward. “I've known Colby a long time and played a lot of golf with him. He had a great week and it was a great battle.”
O'Rear won three consecutive Class 2A individual state championships at Salado from 2007-09 and led the Eagles to two team state titles. He also competed in the U.S. Amateur in 2007, 2010 and 2012, played four years for the Baylor men's golf team and played professionally for several years before regaining his amateur status.
“It was a roller-coaster,” O'Rear told the TGA about what happened Sunday. “Obviously, it wasn't a very good start. But my caddy did a great job today of just keeping me positive. On the back nine, I don't really know what happened. I started hitting it close and making a lot of birdies and somehow got in a playoff.”
“That playoff is exactly why we still come out here and play,” Harwell told the TGA. “Ryan is a really good player. It was very impressive, but honestly I expected it.”
Overall, O'Rear made 16 birdies and an eagle in three rounds of play before edging Harwell in the extended playoff.