Sooners take third in NIT; Dalke, Hale fight to regain starting roles

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No. 3 Oklahoma men’s golf picked up its sixth top-three finish of the season, taking third place at the National Invitational Tournament. The two-day, 54-hole event was held at the par-72, 7,200-yard Catalina Course at the OMNI Tucson National in Tucson, Ariz.

The 16-team field featured three top-five teams in the latest Golfweek rankings.

In their final round Tuesday, the Sooners posted a 280 (-8) to bring their 54-hole total to 836 (-28). OU’s three-round score of 836 marked its second-lowest team total of the season.

“We definitely didn’t have our best stuff this week, but it was a great learning tournament for us,” OU head coach Ryan Hybl said. “We gave up too many east shots to compete for the tournament title. Quade (Cummins) and (Garett) Reband produced again for us this week, which they continue to do. It was good to see Thomas Johnson close with a nice finish today for us.”

No. 4 Arizona State won the team title by 21 strokes, earning the victory with a three-round 814 (-50). No. 5 USC took second place at 835 (-29).  Colorado State grabbed sole possession of fourth place with a team total of 839 (-25), followed by Iowa State in fifth at 840 (-24).

Junior Garett Reband took sole possession of seventh place at 206 (-10) to lead the Sooners. Reband picked up seven birdies during the final round and posted a 68 (-4). The junior earned his third top-10 finish of the season.

Redshirt junior Quade Cummins claimed his fourth straight top-10 finish, recording a 54-hole 208 (-8). Cummins carded a 70 (-2) and recorded four birdies during Tuesday’s action.

Freshman Patrick Welch posted a 73 (+1) on Tuesday, bringing his three-round total to 213 (-3). Welch finished in a tie for 26th place. Redshirt junior Thomas Johnson put together his best round at the tournament, recording a 69 (-3) during the final round. The Norman, Okla., native tied for 30th place at 214 (-2).

Junior Riley Casey logged a 77 (+5) to bring his 54-hole score to 218 (+2). Casey tied for 51st place at the event.

Seniors Brad Dalke and Blaine Hale, both out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive event, showed they are ready to battle for their spots.  Dalke fired a 67 during the final round and finished in third place with a 54-hole of 200 (-10), his second-lowest three-round score in his OU career. Dalke carded three rounds in the 60s at the tournament.
Hale matched his lowest round of the season, posting a 5-under 65. The senior tied for sixth place at 207, his second-lowest 54-hole total of the year.

The Sooners return to action March 28-30 at The Goodwin in Palo Alto, Calif. OU won the 25-team event last season.


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Ken MacLeod

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