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John Rohde Modified: April 29, 2008 at 10:53 am •  Published: April 29, 2008
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EDMOND — Local businessman Ed Evans on Tuesday morning announced the purchase of Oak Tree Golf Club from previous owner Don Mathis.

Evans said he bought the prestigious private course in north Edmond with the intent of luring another professional major event, or perhaps landing an annual stop on the PGA Tour.

"This is something we feel we can do special for the state of Oklahoma," Evans said. "It's certainly clear the PGA views this market as being relatively untapped."

Built in 1974, Oak Tree Golf Club previously has hosted the 1984 U.S. Amateur, 1988 PGA Championship, 2000 PGA Club Pro Championship and the 2006 Senior PGA Championship.

Evans said he approached Mathis roughly four weeks ago about the possible acquisition.

"I think he had some pretty clear ideas of where we wanted the club to go and what he wants the club to be after he passed it on," Evans said. "At the end of the day, I think we were both pretty surprised how we were on exactly the same page and felt like it could be a pretty easy transition."

Evans will head an ownership group known as Oak Tree Golf, LLC, and said he expects the sale to be finalized within the next 30 days.

Evans did not share financial terms of the deal.

Oak Tree Golf Club originally cost $3 million to build. Mathis was part of a group that purchased the club for $3.5 million in 1994.

It is estimated that Mathis poured roughly $3 million into the club with various course and clubhouse renovations.

"This certainly accomplishes one of the itches I've had, and that's to give something back to the state," Evans said. "To do it in a sports-related way is a fun way to do it. And if it's not fun, it's not worth doing." Evans has dabbled in the sports world before.

He was part of a group led by Fred Malek and Jeff Zients that tried to buy the Washington Nationals from major league baseball earlier this decade.

Malek led the successful campaign to move the Montreal Expos to Washington D.C., but major league commissioner Bud Selig announced in 2006 the team would be sold to a group led by real estate developer Ted Lerner.

Evans also was involved in negotiations that led to the sale of the NBA Seattle SuperSonics and WNBA Storm to an Oklahoma City based ownership group in July of 2006 for $350 million.

A native Floridian, Evans is founder and CEO of Stelera Wireless LLC, headquartered in Oklahoma City. He formerly was chairman of the board of Syniverse Technologies in Tampa, Fla., and moved to Oklahoma in 1996 to become president of Dobson Communications.

Evans said he intends to have Oak Tree Golf Club designer Pete Dye visit soon to re-evaluate the course.

"We are going to look into a restoration project on the course and continue to build upon what he (Mathis) has done," Evans said.

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