Entering the day in sole possession of fifth place and needing to finish in the top eight to advance to match play, the defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners were looking to have another steady round on Monday at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships at Karsten Creek in Stillwater. After a rough start to the day, Oklahoma righted the ship with some solid back-nine play and finished stroke play in fourth place at +11 (+7 on the day). The play probably couldn’t be described as ‘steady’, but the OU golfers definitely got the job done.
This is the third consecutive season in which Oklahoma has advanced to match play competition at NCAAs, and Oklahoma won the whole thing a year ago with many of the players on the current roster. In total, four Big 12 teams claimed spots in the eight-team bracket, with the SEC claiming three of its own. If Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both advance past the first round, it will set up a Bedlam semifinal for Tuesday evening. Sign me up!
1. Oklahoma State vs. 8. Texas A&M
2. Duke vs. 7. Texas
3. Texas Tech vs. 6. Alabama
4. Oklahoma vs. 5. Auburn
Oklahoma came to the back nine in serious jeopardy of missing the cut for match play, but OU’s four golfers with counting scores combined to shoot -1 on the back half. Senior Brad Dalke, who clinched the national title for OU last season, was -2 on the back nine and finished at -1 for the tournament, which was good for a tie for 11th overall.
After starting +4 through the first three holes on Monday, Blaine Hale steadied his play to finish at +5 (77) on the round and +3 (T-29) for the tournament. He was also one of three golfers with counting scores to birdie the par-5 18th during the final round. Garret Reband, who struggled through the first three rounds, fired an even-par 72 for OU’s best score of the day.
Oklahoma will face the Auburn Tigers, who finished fifth in the stoke play portion at +15. Auburn is led by Brad Manchino, who fell to Augusta’s Broc Everett in a playoff for the individual national championship on Monday evening.
OU and Auburn will tee off at 7:50 a.m. CT on Tuesday morning.
Golf Channel Coverage
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Quarterfinal match play
3-7 p.m.: Semifinal match play
3-7 p.m.: Match-play finals
All times CT