Colorado senior David Oraee added to his trophy case Sunday as the Greeley native captured the Colorado Golf Association's State Stroke Play Championship in grand style.
A hotly contested final round cooled off after Oraee birdied four of the last seven holes to pull away from the field for a four-shot victory. He carded a final round 6-under par 64 after three consecutive rounds of 68, giving him a 12-under 268 total overall. He had entered the day one back of the lead, trailing Nick Nosewicz, who eventually tied for second; Oraee and Nosewicz were two of three players to score under par for all four rounds.
Oraee essentially mastered the 6,709-yard, par-70 Lakewood Country Club over the four rounds, recording two eagles, 16 birdies, 46 pars and just eight bogeys, none of which came on Sunday, when he had six birdies and 12 pars en route to a his 6-under 64.
He played the last 24 holes at 10-under par, with an eagle, eight birdies and 20 pars over his last 29 holes, rarely coming close to sniffing a bogey in that stretch.
"I knew coming in that the course was pretty tree-lined and definitely one where placement would be important so you had to play your irons well," Oraee said. "I hit the ball pretty good all week, but I putted kind of poorly the first three days. But today, I putted much better and that was the difference between the first three round scores and the final round score.
"When I shot 4-under on the back nine Saturday, that got the momentum going," he continued. "It was just frustrating to play so well off the tee and not being able to get the ball in the hole. I just had some trouble reading the greens but in the end I finally had them all figured out."
He was really unaware until the final hole of how anyone else was doing.
"I told myself to go out and do my job and whatever happens, happens," he said. "I birdied 16 to get to 6-under for the day, and just wanted to get into the clubhouse. I had no idea what was going on with anyone else other than who I was playing with, and didn't realize I was ahead by four shots when it was over."
His final round effort matched his previous best round in competition, which he recorded in 2009 in the AJGA Junior All-Star at Aspen Golf Club. His previous best finish in the match play was a tie for 15th two summers ago at Fort Collins Country Club (he tied for 27th last year).