Wortman dominates state amateur with dad caddying

Bryce Wortman, left, relied on his dad Laine’s caddying throughout the event. Photo by Emma Routley/The Chronicle

PORTLAND – Bryce Wortman, a Creswell resident and son of the head golf pro at Emerald Valley Golf Resort, dominated the final rounds of the 111th Oregon State Amateur on Saturday at Columbia Edgewater Country Club to win the men’s title. His father, Laine, caddied for him during the event.

“It was really cool. It’s still sinking in a little bit,” Bryce said Sunday morning while helping out his dad at Emerald Valley’s pro shop. 

The younger Wortman had a blistering final round, taking advantage of fast greens baked by searing heat last week. He never trailed in the match in defeating Ben Wanichek 8&7 in the men’s final, earning his first Oregon Amateur Championship title.

Wortman closed out the tournament “in a zone.”

“In the final round, I was lucky to have my dad on the bag,” Bryce said. “We’d talk about the shot we wanted to hit, and for 11 straight holes, we did what we said. It seemed easy.”

Wortman birdied hole No. 1 (19th hole of play) to extend his advantage, and then won five consecutive holes – Nos. 6-10 (holes 24-28 for the match) to take an 8-up lead with only nine holes to play. The match ended on No. 11 (No. 29 overall) when the players halved the hole – each recording par.

“I putted really well, and everything just clicked,” Wortman said. “If I hit in the rough, I’d get it on the green with the next shot. I made a couple of long putts. More importantly, I made big momentum putts.” 

Wortman, a 22-year-old redshirt senior at San Jose State University, said he benefited from the fast greens Saturday.

“I drive it really straight, and I can putt really well. I did both at the same time. The greens were so firm; it was so hot and they really let them get firm for the tournament. That helps me. I love that.”

The Creswell native won the junior amateur when he was 17, playing at Eagle Crest just outside of Redmond. “This one is like, a little bit different,” he said Sunday, noting that nearly 400 people attempted to qualify for the event.

His dad, who also is the general manager at EVGR, was an important factor in the victory, Wortman said. 

“I was trying to stay locked in, and he was trying to keep me there,” Bryce said regarding the large lead he was enjoying during the final round. “It’s why we practice and play – to get to moments like that. We tried to treat every hole like the match was still even. It was a snowball of good things.”

Laine, who left the house Sunday morning with the trophy on his way to work before Bryce had woken up, was thrilled.

“Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s great,” he said.

The scholarship golfer who is studying general business said he chose the school for its coach and the ability to play more golf.

“I made the decision early to get out of the Oregon rain so I could practice and play more golf in the sun,” he said. Spartans golf coach John Kennady was the main reason Wortman is at San Jose State. “He’s more of a friend than a coach if that makes sense. We had an immediate connection. He treats me like a peer, and obviously he has much more wisdom than my ‘peers’ … he has a lot of wisdom. He’s helped me grow on and off the course,” Bryce said.



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