Oklahoma State’s golf history and tradition is replete with team and individual national championships, Big 12 and regional titles and multi-year All-Americans. There are so many accomplishments and trophies lining the walls of the clubhouse at Karsten Creek, it’s hard to imagine a team breaking new ground.
Yet the 2017-18 Cowboys have an opportunity to put their name alone in the crowded OSU record book by becoming the first team to win eight consecutive events in a season. They’ll go for the record this weekend at the Arizona State/Thunderbird Invitational at Karsten Golf Course at ASU.
With its win last weekend in the Aggie Invite at Texas A&M, the top-ranked Cowboys equaled the record of seven consecutive victories set in 1986-87. No team has won eight consecutive tournaments in a season. The longest overall streak was nine, when the 1987-88 team won the first two tournaments of the fall season after concluding the spring with seven.
It was announced Thursday that both Zach Bauchou and Viktor Hovland are semifinalists for the 2018 Ben Hogan Award.
“This team has a chance to do something that’s never been done, and that’s rare around here,” said head coach Alan Bratton. “You look at the record book and whether it’s winning a national championship or being a multi-year All-American, it’s been done. A lot of good things have happened in the history of OSU golf and this is a nice opportunity to add to that tradition.”
It will not be easy. Arizona State, Baylor, UNLV and in-state rival and defending national champion Oklahoma are all in the field. This will be the first of likely four battles with the Sooners including the upcoming Big 12 Championship at Southern Hills, NCAA Regional at Jimmie Austin OU and NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek in Stillwater. It was recently announced that a crew from NBC along with Rickie Fowler’s production company is working on a documentary series about the rivalry and the buildup to this year’s national championship.
The Sooners and Cowboys haven’t crossed paths since the fall season. Bratton said the rivalry will be healthy for college golf and should attract crowds at both the regional in Norman and the NCAA Championships.
“It’s great that both teams are good and hopefully both can put on a good show that will lead to a lot of interest and fan support for the championship,” Bratton said.
The Sooners are looking to continue their momentum after winning their second straight tournament at The Goodwin, March 29-31. The team victory marks the first time since 2015 that OU has won back-to-back tournaments in one season. OU’s three-day 828 (-24) at The Goodwin marked the second-lowest 54-hole total for the Sooners this season.
OU’s top finisher at the event was Brad Dalke, who earned his fourth top-5 finish of the season with a three-day 207 (-6). Dalke finished the tournament in share of fifth place to pace OU’s lineup. Grant Hirschman, Blaine Hale and Quade Cummins all picked up top-10 finishes to help the Sooners to their third team victory of the season.
The Sooners’ lineup for the ASU Thunderbird Invitational will include Dalke, Hirschman, Hale and Cummins. Sophomore Garett Reband rejoins the lineup for this weekend’s event.
Redshirt sophomore Thomas Johnson and senior Rylee Reinertson will be competing as individuals, unattached from team scoring. The individual tournament will take place at the par-71, 7,316-yard Papago Golf Course in Phoenix, Ariz. Live scoring for the ASU/Thunderbird will be at golfstat.com.
Here are the Golfweek rankings for the field: Oklahoma St (1), Oklahoma (4), Baylor (10), Arizona St (19), UNLV (25), Arizona (35), Colorado St (41), Colorado (43), Utah (76), Wyoming (77), Oregon St (84), Washington St. (103), Boise St. (114), Denver (122), New Mexico St. (128), UC-Irvine (135) and Hawaii (245).