CHEYENNE – Golf is filling David Oraee’s time while he waits to see if he has been accepted into medical school.
The Greeley, Colorado, resident has taken the MCAT and submitted applications in June with the hope of starting school in August 2018.
“The process is really long, so I have a lot of time to play,” Oraee said. “I like cardiology even though it’s a really long fellowship and residency.
“I want to do some sort of surgery and something with my hands.”
Oraee’s work with his irons in the final round of the 61st Tyrrell Wyoming State Open wasn’t quite surgical, but it was close.
The 24-year-old carded a 3-under-par 67 on Sunday. He finished the 54-hole tournament at 15-under 195 to win the title and $7,000.
Oraee entered the final round with a three-stroke lead over University of Wyoming senior-to-be Glenn Workman.
Oraee made the turn at Airport Golf Club at 13-under after carding two birdies and a bogey on the front nine.
He started the back nine with a birdie on the 520-yard, par-5 Hole No. 10. His first shot on Hole No. 11 landed in the 10th fairway.
That’s when Oraee started to put some distance between himself and his playing partners.
He chipped is second shot over trees right of the 11th green and stuck his ball within seven feet of the flag. He easily sank his putt for birdie to improve to 15-under.
“Even though my drive was really bad, I knew I was going to be OK because there was nothing over there,” said Oraee, who played collegiately at the University of Colorado in Boulder. “I had a good (distance), hit a good shot and hit a good putt. It was a good hole overall.
“I was struggling to get something going early in the round, so that was nice to birdie 10 and then 11.”
Nos. 13 and 14 were holes where Oraee struggled during the final round.
He pared the 532-yard, par-5 Hole No. 13 and bogeyed the 11-yard, par-3 Hole No. 14.
“You always want to birdie the par-5s out here, so that was annoying,” Oraee said. “Then, I hit a good shot on 14 and it landed in a little dirt patch behind the green.”
Oraee erased any thoughts of a comeback by netting a birdie on the par-4 Hole No. 15.
“I was really aggressive with my wedge shot,” Oraee said. “I left myself a good putt and it all worked out.”
Oraee added a birdie on the 177-yard, par-3 Hole No. 17. He played conservatively to close the round and bogeyed the 416-yard, par-5 Hole No. 18.
Even though Workman couldn’t have taken home the $7,000 paycheck as the overall winner, he was in contention for that title and was within two strokes after 14 holes Sunday.
However, Workman’s first putt on Hole No. 15 went past the cup before going down the green’s false back. Workman had to putt back up the hill and finished with a double-bogey that left him five shots behind Oraee with three holes to play.
“You just don’t do that and I did it,” said Workman, who won the amateur title by finishing the tournament 8-under-par. “I knew I hit that putt too hard as soon as I hit it. I knew it was going down that hill.
“I tried to get too aggressive and tried to chase it too much. This is going to be a big lesson.”
Two-time Wyoming Open champion Steven Schneiter of Sandy, Utah, joined Oraee and Workman in the final group. Schneiter got within two strokes of Oraee on the front nine, but had a pair of bogeys on the back nine.
Schneiter finished third at 11-under for the event.
Ben Portie of Greeley, Colorado, started the final round six shots behind Oraee. He shot a 6-under 64 Sunday while playing two groups behind Oraee and finished as the runner-up.
“I kept the ball in play and hit a lot of greens,” Portie said. “A few times, I hit it close and was able to convert. My putter felt good the past couple days.
“I shot even-par the first day and was kind of out of it, but I was able to get hot and battle back a little.”
Even though Oraee has been earning money playing golf more often than not recently, he has no plans on pursuing it professionally if he gets into medical school.
“The medical field really excites me. My brother is a doctor and he exposed me to all that stuff growing up,” Oraee said, referring to his 31-year-old brother Daniel, who works in obstetrics and gynaecology.
“I’m playing well, so the money is good. It’s nice to win, but it’s not enough to sway me.”