Sept. 14, 2009

 
A Look Back at OU's NCAA Champions

 

 (L) Walter Emery (1933) and Jimmy Vickers (1952)

Top OU Finisher at NCAA Championships
1933 - Walter Emery (First - match play)
1938 - Bill Craig (match play qualifier)
1939 - Bill Craig (match play qualifier)
1946 - Charlie Coe (Third - match play)
1947 - Charlie Coe (Semi-finalist - match play)
1952 - Jimmy Vickers (First - match play)
1965 - Jerry Keel (match play qualifier)
1967 - Steve Johnson (stroke play - 300)
1969 - Barry Wilson (T-17th)
1973 - Jim Zimmerman (15th)
1974 - Mark Witt (Eighth)
1976 - Steve Walser (37th)
1981 - Andrew Magee (65th)
1982 - A. Magee/Bill Hildenbrand (T-20th)
1983 - Andrew Magee (T-Ninth)
1984 - Andrew Magee (T-Fifth)
1985 - Todd Hamilton (T-Sixth)
1986 - Doug Martin (32nd)
1987 - Glen Day (T-Ninth)
1988 - Glen Day (T-19th)
1989 - Doug Martin/Ricky Bell (T-Second)
1990 - Matthew Lane (Fifth)
1991 - Jeff Lee (T-10th)
1992 - Derek Freeman (T-42nd)
1993 - Grant Masson (T-24th)
2000 - Matt Cohn (T-38th)
2001 - Martin Flores (T-46th)
2004 - Anthony Kim (T-55th)

Related Links
OU Men's Golf Central
2009-10 Schedule | Roster | Coaching Staff

NORMAN, Okla. -- Throughout the year, SoonerSports.com will take a look back at memorable events in the history of the OU men's golf program. This week's installment features Oklahoma legend Walter Emery, who brought national golf acclaim to Oklahoma by winning the 1933 NCAA Championships individual title.

 Walter Emery - 1933 NCAA Champion

 

Walter Emery, then a 20-year-old sophomore, blasted from a trap to within one foot to save par on the 35th hole in capturing the 1933 national crown at Williamsville, N.Y.

The 1932 and 1933 state intercollegiate champion certainly had a knack for coming up big on the grandest of stages, as Emery had already coasted to the individual title at the 1933 Big Six Championship, and was a member of the Sooner four-man and two-man team title winners at the conference championship in Kansas City that year as well.

Emery would make the 1,000-mile journey by car with fellow OU teammate Maurice Hankinson, who would also compete at the NCAA Championships. The tournament drew the largest field in the 37-year history of the event, with a total of 77 golfers squaring off for 36 holes of medal play.

Hankinson shone in the qualifying rounds with rounds of 77 and 78, good enough for 15th place heading into the match play portion of the event. Meanwhile, Emery had nearly shot himself out of a spot in match play with a tournament-opening 84, but rebounded with a 74 on day two, securing the 25th of 32 qualifying spots.

Emery registered the tournament's first upset, carding a 3 and 2 victory over co-medalist Johnie Banks of Notre Dame, who had beat Emery by 13 shots during the stroke-play portion of the event. The Oklahoma golfer moved to the quarter finals after a 4 and 3 afternoon romp over Yale's Oliver Transue.

Hankinson wasn't as lucky, dropping a 3 and 2 decision to Yale's Dixie Gray. After congratulating Gray, the Sooner golfer quickly threw down his bag and traversed the links in search of Emery, in hopes of cheering on his OU teammate to victory.

Emery quickly made work of his third-round foe, defeating Bob Cochran of St. Louis, 8 and 7, in what was suppossed to be the feature match of the day.

HeadlineThe 36-hole quarterfinals pitted Emery against Georgia Tech lefty Charles Yates - a protégé of the great Bobby Jones. The two battled back-and-forth, with Yates holding a 2-up lead through nine holes, before Emery cut the deficit in half at the 18th. Still 1-down at the 27th, Emery would turn the tide in taking five of the next six holes for a 4 and 3 victory.

Emery found himself all square through 18 holes of his championship match against Cornell's Rodney Bliss. Bliss jumped to a two-stroke lead at the start of the second 18, only to see Emery run off four holes in a row. Bliss would fight back to all square after 31 holes, before Emery would again return to 2-up with wins on the 31st and 33rd holes. Bliss came back with a win at the 34th, leaving Emery 1-up with two to play.

The end would come on the 35th hole, with Emery saving par from the front bunker, while Bliss couldn't convert his par attempt.

Emery was certainly not the fan favorite of the East Coast crowd, later recounting to the Tulsa Tribune.

"I had only three friends in the whole gallery throughout that whole 36-hole championship finals match.  One was Maurice Hankinson (OU teammate), another was my caddie and the third was some sandy-haired chap I didn't know. Rod Bliss (his opponent in the match play final) could put a second shot on any green twenty or thirty feet from the pin and the gallery'd give him a rousing cheer. And on the same hole I'd make a good iron second shot, dropping my ball way inside of Bliss' and you'd think there was a funeral around. Nobody said anything."

MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM EMERY'S 1933 NCAA TITLE:
"Emery's golf in the championship rounds sparkled like carbonated water. It was well-nigh flawless and justly amazed the eastern golf critics who had watched, some of them with smiles, the 170-pound Oklahoma's floundering in the qualifying rounds."

- Harold V. Keith - The Sooner Magazine

"One of the longer hitters Oklahoma ever has produced and master of his irons, Emery has only to aquire a consistent putting stroke to have a well-rounded game that may carry him to heights that no other Oklahomans have ever explored."
- Bus Ham - Sports Editor, The Daily Oklahoman

"The end came on the thirty fifth hole. Emery larruped a hard drive down the fairway, put his second into a trap in front of the green, but on a beautifully stroked third played out to within a foot of the pin to sink his fourth. The Sooner's magnificent pitch shot was too much for the Cornell boy who hooked his first into the rough, caught the edge of a trap with his second and was short with his third."
- Harold V. Keith - The Sooner Magazine

MORNING ROUND:

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
OUT
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
IN
Bliss 4 4 4 4 3
5
5
3
5
37
4
4
3
5
4
4
4
5
4
74
Emery
4
4
4
4
4
5
4
3
4
36
3
3
4
5
5
5
4
5
4
74

AFTERNOON ROUND:

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
OUT
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
IN
Bliss 4 4 3 5 4
4
6
3
4
37
3
4
3
*
4
5
3
5
   
Emery
5
4
4
4
3
3
5
3
5
36
3
4
4
5
4
4
4
4