CRESWELL, Ore. — Derek Bayley of Rathdrum came so close to putting his name on a trophy for winning a tournament once won by Tiger Woods.
But despite a runner-up finish at the 116th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur, the former Lakeland High star said he’ll take nothing but good things from this week’s meatgrinder of an event.
“There’s no doubt I’m going to take nothing but positives from this,” said Bayley, who lost 1-up to Emmett Oh of Calgary, Alberta, in the 36-hole championship match Saturday at Emerald Valley Golf & Resort. “I played some good matches. I played some good golf this week and I can take some good out of it.”
Bayley, a rising senior at Washington State, played nine tournament rounds in six days — a stretch unlike any he has played before.
“It was a grind, that’s for sure,” he said in a phone interview on the way home from Oregon.
Before that, Bayley played four rounds in three days at the Sahalee Players Championship, where he tied for 22nd in the July 5-7 tourney in Sammamish, Wash.
He traveled from there to Oregon for the men’s amateur, which began Monday with a 168-man field.
“It has been a long, long couple of weeks,” he said.
In Saturday’s final Oh, the No. 13 seed and a recent graduate of Houston, won the first hole in the match. Bayley, the No. 7 seed, took a 1-up lead after four holes, then Oh won the next two holes to take another 1-up lead and never fell behind again.
After the morning round, Oh still had his 1-up lead, and built it to 3-up after 26 holes. But Bayley clawed his way back into the match, squaring the match on the 33rd hole and after 35 holes of play, Oh and Bayley still stood all square on the tee of the 36th hole, a 577-yard par-5.
On the final hole, Oh hit a good drive, while Bayley pushed his tee shot right into the trees, from where he had to punch out to about 150 yards from the green. From there he put his third shot onto the green, about 40 feet from the hole. Oh hit his second shot to the front fringe of the green, and chipped up to just a few inches from the hole and Bayley conceded the birdie. Bayley’s long birdie putt, and chance to tie the hole and push the match to extra holes, missed the hole on the left side, giving the hole, and the match and title, to Oh.
“I played fine; I didn’t have my best today,” Bayley said. “The course was set up pretty difficult, so pars were good scores.
“When I woke up this morning my feet felt pretty bad,” he said. “And my legs felt pretty heavy. But adrenaline kept me going; it’s not often you get to play for a championship.”
“That final nine holes, it was pressure packed,” Oh said in a news release provided by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association. “It felt like Derek had all the momentum. He played super solid coming home, didn’t give me anything, and the course played tough. It was tough just to make pars.”
This week was the first time Bayley had played the Creswell course. This was his best finish in the tourney since three years ago when he made the semifinals at Palouse Ridge.
Bayley said he also signed up this week for the Rosauers Open Invitational in Spokane, because he wanted to defend his championship. That event started Friday, but once Bayley kept winning in Oregon and made it to the quarterfinals, that option was out of the question.
So after all this golf, a little rest is likely in order for Bayley?
After a brief stop at home, Bayley plans to fly over to Seattle tonight and play a practice round Monday for the Pacific Coast Amateur, a 72-hole tourney starting Tuesday at Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 U.S. Open.