Ryan Fery was in golf limbo for a couple years.
Waiting. Waiting. And more waiting.
When a professional golfer changes his mind and wants to return to amateur events, he must wait.
“I got my amateur status back six or seven months ago. When I got it back, this is the first entry I turned in,” Fery said. “This is my favorite tourney. Obviously a really good one to win.”
Fery, a 36-year-old Beaverton resident and former University of Oregon Duck, won the 2013 Royal Oaks Invitational, holding off several college golfers Sunday evening to claim one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the Northwest.
Fery concluded the three-day event with an even-par 72, good enough for a one-stroke victory over Jesse Heinly, who attends Concordia University in Portland. Fery, Heinly and James Hall of Seattle were tied for the lead going into the final round. Fery finished at 2-under, 214.
Heinly finished with a 73 while Hall carded a 75 to finish three off the lead.
This was Fery’s first appearance at Royal Oaks since before he turned professional in 2006, but he still remembered the course. He used his driver just one Saturday and Sunday.
“I had a strategy on this golf course to just pound my 3-wood,” he said. “The 3-wood and the putter pretty much won it for me.”
Fery and Heinly each had a bogey to open Sunday’s round, giving Hall the early lead. But Fery and Heinly would each remain even for the day by the turn while Hall bogeyed the 8th and 9th holes.
Fery’s approach shot landed within a couple feet of the hole on No. 10. His birdie there gave him the lead for good. Heinly would tie for the lead with a birdie on the 12th, but Heinly would three-putt bogey No. 14. Another bogey on 17 gave Fery a two-shot lead going into the final hole.
“I thought I was going to have a shoot a 69 to win it today,” Fery said. “A win is a win. I’ll take it.”
It was more than a win for Fery. A competitive golfer all of his life, he said this is the shining achievement of his career.
“I’ve played in some USGA events, but as far as victories, this is my biggest,” he said.
Heinly said even though he wanted to win, he was happy with how he played this week.
“The course is awesome. I have so much fun every time I come out here,” said Heinly, who played his high school golf in Bend. “You can’t get mad when you’re out here.”
Hall, who went to Seattle Prep and now plays for the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, had birdies on the 13th and 15th holes to pull within one shot. But he double-bogeyed the 18th to finish the tourney at 1-over.
John Wise, 2-over, and Andrew Morgan, 3-over, rounded out the top five.