NORMAN — Brad Dalke fondly remembers Oklahoma’s run to the NCAA golf championship in 2017.
The senior has strong memories of closing out Oregon with his final putt to clinch the Sooners’ second national title.
Quade Cummins was a substitute golfer that week, but he got to watch and celebrate after his teammates captured the crown.
Starting on Friday, the OU golfers will be looking to capture their second title in three years when they begin play in the NCAA Championships at The Blessing Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“Me and Blaine (Hale) were the only ones that played that week, and we know what it was like playing in that final match,” Dalke said this week. “Quade was our sixth man. He was watching all week.
“That will help, having a ton with experience. We’ll go back to what it felt like to try to get into that top eight and what it felt like to be in that final match.”
The NCAA Championships format features 30 schools fighting to be among the top 15 that will advance to a fourth day of stroke play on Monday. Eight schools will advance to match play, when a national champion is determined.
Bedlam rival Oklahoma State is the defending champion, but Dalke said he sees a familiar blueprint to the Sooners’ 2017 title run.
“I’m kind of seeing some parallels with that (championship) week. In my sophomore year, we really didn’t play that great all year,” Dalke said. “We were just all right. We really started to play well before nationals. We were playing so well so we knew we had a chance to win.
“This spring was kind of the same way. We haven’t been playing that well. Nothing horrible, but we haven’t won much and haven’t gotten everybody going at the same time. This past week, we played well and we are starting to click. I think we know we have a chance this week.”
It will be important to get off to a strong start, Cummins said.
The Blessings course hosted the women’s tournament this week. While the setup isn’t the same, the OU golfers
noticed that the teams with solid opening rounds lasted to match play.
“We can go super low, and I know that everybody on our team has the firepower to shoot 5 or 6 under through nine holes and you can turn a bad round around,” said Cummins, a redshirt junior. “We’re looking to get off to a good start.”
Dalke is hoping to make one more memory while at OU.
“It would be unbelievable. Winning an individual title would be great, but winning a team title would be the best way possible to cap off my career here,” he said. “That’s what I’m wanting to do. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that you can’t control. I just have to go out there and play golf.
“If that happened, it would be a pretty cool way to end, that’s for sure.”