The Oklahoma Men’s golf team has won the Division I NCAA golf championship after snatching the trophy from defending champion Oregon.
The tense championship match was preceded by four rounds of stroke play, followed by two rounds of match play.
This victory is the Sooners’ second NCAA golf championship, with their first in 1989 under head coach Gregg Grost. During this year’s season, the Oklahoma men’s team had won two regular season titles, as well as five individual titles. This was also accompanied by a multitude of new team and individual records.
The team originally entered as the 13th seed in the competition. However, after the stroke play round, the Sooners were able to head with full authority into the final match play round against Oregon.
With the final rounds taking place in Sugar Grove, Illinois at Rich Harvest Farms, the stage was set for a nail-biting face off. Sophomore Blaine Hale put the team up first, defeating Oregon’s Norman Xiong 4&3. Following Hale was senior Max McGreevy, who took down Oregon sophomore Edwin Yi, winning 3&2.
Though Oklahoma was asserting their dominance in the first two rounds, Oregon did put up a fair fight. The third match in the final resulted in Oregon’s Wyndham Clark defeating Rylee Reinertson, 1-up.
The fourth round consisted of a contest between Oklahoma junior Grant Hirschman and Oregon’s Ryan Gronlund. The match was all square at the 17th, but play was suspended due to sophomore Brad Dalke’s decisive victory.
In the last round of the final, Oklahoma’s Brad Dalke beat out Oregon’s Sulman Raza. The tensest moments of this round came down to the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. Dalke won the 14th and 15th to gain a three-up lead heading into the 16th.
Were Raza to lose the 16th, it would all be over. However, Raza saved par on the 16th while Dalke bogeyed the hole. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Raza was finally taken down at the 17th when the hole was halved. Thus, Oklahoma clinched their second national championship.
The entertaining final round was the end of two weeks of fierce collegiate level competition in Northern Illinois. During those weeks, about 16,400 people gathered to watch the best college golfers take each other on. According to Dalke, “This has been a week to remember for sure. We’ve had this goal in our minds since Pebble Beach, the beginning of the year.
We knew we had the team to do it. We have a lot of depth on our team I feel like, and we’re all super talented, we’re gritty, and we fight until the very last stroke.”
Considering the high level of individual talent displayed at this year’s tournament, it is easy to believe Dalke’s words. The Oklahoma men’s golf team exuded confidence, class and composure, which allowed them to perform at their best. The Oklahoma Sooners returned home on June 1st, with fans supporting their victorious arrival.
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