Editors Note: Story by Clay Horning, The Norman Transcript with permission
NORMAN, OK (July 4, 2016) -- Brad Dalke did not break the tournament record.
Soon, the rising sophomore member of the Sooner men’s golf program will be teeing it up at the Trans Miss Championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, one of the nation’s most historic amateur golf tournaments on one of the nation’s most historic courses, and still he couldn’t quite erase Sam Powell’s 18-under par 192, shot in 2009, from the record book.
He tied it with rounds of 64, 63 and 65. Though he got it to 19-under with a few holes still to play, he actually bogeyed the par 3 15th and three-putted the par 5 16th for par. Then, just as he was about to drop another stroke at both the par 3 17th and the par 4 18th, he came up with two dandy up-and-downs.
Anyway, it was a cool scene.
A bunch of carts following the final group. A bunch of carts waiting, side-by-side, above the 18th green, like it was a drive-in movie.
For the second straight year Austin Bowman finished second. A year ago he shot 196, this time it was 197. Maybe he wins next year.
So the golf, once again, was top notch. And still, even in the final group, the Westwood Invitational story was about more than that.
Here’s the thing.
Dalke has lived a bunch of places, but more than anywhere else in his young life, he lived in Burkburnett, Texas.
Since, he’s lived in Hobart, Edmond and, upon arriving at OU to play golf, his family has made its home in Norman, too. His father, Bill, happens to be the boys golf coach at Norman North, succeeding Dennis Etter.
Bowman is from Pryor.
He spent a year at Oklahoma State, though he was never a Cowboy golfer even after being a three-time Class 5A state champion. Then he made his way to Central Oklahoma where he became a Broncho golfer.
He’s managed to qualify for a couple Web.com Tour events, and he’s played a smattering of Adams Tour events.
His family owns and manages Pryor Creek Golf Course and it’s there he works his day job, supporting his wife and three children, even as his golf dream survives.
If you’re dying to be a stakehorse, reach out to Bowman.
Then there’s Kelsey Cline, who everybody knows and who knows everybody. Cline lives in Oklahoma City, grew up very close to the now shuttered Westbury Country Club, giving him a Yukon address even though that same address demanded he attend Mustang schools.
The last guy in the group, Heath Myers, whose Sunday 62 remains the 41st annual tourney’s best round and one shot off the course record, went to Kingfisher High School, played golf at Oklahoma City University, and still claims Kingfisher as his hometown.
So, you’ve got a tournament, the largest stroke-play event in the state, being won by one of the nation’s best amateurs, who’s not from Norman but now makes his home in Norman.
Chasing him in the final group was a guy from Pryor, a guy from Mustang or Yukon, take your pick, and a guy from Kingfisher.
And, count on it, that wasn’t remotely the only foursome representing four different towns and four different golf courses.
“They come from all over,” said Cline, who’s won the thing four times, but never seems too bothered by finishing second or third.
So you’ve got all that, and you’ve got the golf that keeps getting better.
Myers finished 10-under par with rounds of 71-62-67. Since 1990, that 200 total would have won the tournament 12 times and put Myers in a playoff three times. It might have won it many more times, but the actual scores of the first 14 winners have been lost to history. Only their names are on the wall.
Once again, after being reprised at the 39th annual tourney, a shootout followed the trophy ceremony. It cost $20 to enter with a bundle up for grabs.
That means, when it was all over, it wasn’t really over. Many hadn’t yet had enough.
Only at Westwood.