FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — When it was over, speaking about his team and his team's season outside the pro shop of The Blessings Golf Club after reaching the match play portion of the NCAA championships a fourth straight year, Oklahoma men’s golf coach Ryan Hybl sort of addressed all of it.
“I know, deep down, that we’ve had a nice year. I know that,” he said. “But I’m 37 years old and I’ve done this thing a long time, to where I realize [things] that these guys don’t right now. They’re going to be super sad and disappointed.”
He was thinking of his seniors, Brad Dalke and Blaine Hale, who Tuesday became the first two collegiate golfers to play in four straight NCAA match play competitions, concerned their final collegiate golfing experience might not be a good one.
“For me, it’s about making sure that those guys leave on a positive note, in the direction they need to get going and getting our younger guys to respond and understand that it’s their turn.”
He also recalled how he was moving on to the next thing very quickly, also, even the year, 2017, the Sooners won the national championship.
“It was like the next day, you still don’t even know what happened, and then you’re recruiting three days later,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in and you don’t have much time to reflect.”
Hybl said he gets his reflecting done during the holidays.
"I sit down with my family and think about what we’ve done and where we’re going,” he said.
• All so close: OU finished tied for fourth with Texas in the 72-hole stroke play portion of the national tournament without any player in the top 10 individually.
Still given the year the Sooners had, that might not have been so strange.
Among the Sooners' top five at The Blessings were Dalke (70.81 stroke average), Hale (70.15), Quade Cummins (70), Garett Reband (70.22) and Patrick Welch (70.61).
The entire starting five played the fall and spring within 0.81 strokes per round of each other.
• Welch's different rout: Patrick Welch, the only freshman in OU’s lineup unless alternate Logan McAllister — stroke average: 71.22 — is put on the list, has a multi-sport background.
While that may not be odd for a Division I golfer, it might be at a program like OU’s, especially when it’s considered that Welch was a three-sport varsity athlete in high school who didn’t give up his other sports, playing basketball and baseball before golf could become his primary focus in the summer.
In the GolfWeek story about his commitment to OU was this line: “Welch only plays golf from May-September.”
Still, that didn’t keep him from qualifying for three of the previous four U.S. Junior Amateurs.
Other notes on Welch mentioned in that story?
He plays cross-handed and he’d never had a lesson, at least before committing to OU.
• Big-time program: Only Illinois and Texas have joined the Sooners at the last nine NCAA championships and only the Sooners have been to the last four match play portions of the event.
All of that has occurred under Hybl, who was hired as a 20-something head coach off the staff at Georgia on June 22, 2009.
At OU, Hybl’s brother — Nate — may still be more famous. Nate was the successor to Josh Heupel as Sooner quarterback and was MVP of the 2003 Rose Bowl.