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May 29—Hard-charging early, grind and defend late.

The formula again worked in the final round for Sam Fidone, who cashed in the $25,000 top price Saturday and repeated as champion in the Health and Wellness Real Okie Championship at Muskogee Golf Club.

The lefty from Lufkin, Texas, shot 16-under par and again, took hold of this event by the throat on the front nine. It was a modest run compared to last year’s 28, and not quite the 30 that led to his 62 in the second round this year. Two of his three birdies came on the first two holes, the other coming at 5 just before a bogey at 6.

Then, for the third time in four days, he eagled the par-5 9th on a chip from the front edge of the green to go to 4-under 32 at that point. In his third round, he had one of his two bunker shots from there drop, the other being on the par-5 fifth.

The one-time golfer at SMU was seven up at the time.

“I hadn’t hit a putt on 9 in two days,” he said. “Sometimes it feels like it’s your week and this week has felt that way for me.”

Garrett May of Carrollton, Texas, who collected $10,000 for second place, started the day two back but struggled on the front nine, going 1-over through 8 after opening with a birdie. He was 3-under 31 on the back nine with a birdie at 10, 14 and a 30-foot birdie off the back edge of the par-3 17th.

A 20-footer for birdie at 18 slipped by just inches off line, taking some pressure off Fidone, who played par from 10 on except a bogey at 12 and again at 15.

“The back played a little harder today, but I didn’t feel like I got nervous,” Fidone said. “I was just trying to do the right things, but Garrett made a hell of a charge. He was playing the into-the-wind holes really well and I think those were the hardest holes coming home.

“That was a bomb on 17 and then he almost made it on 18 which would have really made my par putt big.”

Fidone shot 18 under last year and won by a stroke. He had rounds of 67, 62, 67 and 68 this week.

May, who played at Baylor through 2019, wound up matching Fidone’s 2-under on the final day.

In third was Ryan Baca of Sugar Land, Texas at 12-under after a 68. Ex-Oklahoma Sooner Martin Flores of Frisco, Texas, M.J. Daffue of Pretoria, South Africa and Brian Dwyer of Southlake, Texas, all finished at 11-under 269.

Bobby Hudson of Dallas, who started the day three back and in the final group, was 3-over 74 on the day and the former University of Texas golfer ell all the way to a tie for 16th at 7-under 273.

The top finisher from in state was Oklahoma State ex Hayden Wood of Edmond, who tied for seventh with last week’s winner on the APT Tour, Brandon McIver of Billings, Mont.

But again, the course was a fit for Fidone.

“A lot of left to right holes here and I like to hit a draw off the tee, so I think that sets up well for me, and I putted well enough to win,” he said.

With three top five finishes this year, he shot up to third in money winnings at $35,576 behind only Jake McCrory ($39,182) and McIver ($35,949).

It was the fourth consecutive year for the event and first to be sponsored by the Health and Wellness Center. Par was adjusted one stroke as the 508-yard No. 15 was dropped to a par 4.

Complete fourth round results at