Quade Cummins always belonged. His journey just made him question it.
Cummins arrived at the University of Oklahoma reserved but ready to work. He grew up in Weatherford, playing Prairie West Golf Club, and forged a path to OU, claiming two high school state championships and All-State honors along the way.
The OU redshirt senior has one more year of eligibility after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the 2020 college season, which prompted the NCAA to grant all spring student-athletes a hardship waiver. The 2021 season will be a final chance to chase a national championship.
Until then, Cummins is thriving this summer.
He finished third at the Southern Amateur Championship in Carrollton, Texas, last weekend. He then went to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, days later to compete in this week’s Sunnehanna Amateur.
Cummins fired a 6-under 64 on Friday to make a push at the event after floating near the top of the leaderboard through 54 holes. He ultimately was five shots off from Preston Summerhays, who carded a 14-under 266 to win the four-day tournament.
Still, Cummins’ fourth-place finish at Sunnehanna reflects his caliber and place atop the amateur scene, which took him time to accept.
Cummins, who is No. 24 on the Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, didn’t travel far as a junior golfer. The kid from Custer County primarily played Oklahoma tournaments, where he enjoyed plenty of success in a state not short on talented golfers.
He needed time to recalibrate his mindset as he competed against and practiced with some of Division I’s top golfers. Despite his lack of travel as a young golfer, he was always still promising.
“I think he always felt like he was maybe a little bit behind everybody because he didn't [travel as much],” said OU men’s golf coach Ryan Hybl of Cummins. “So because of that, he's always played in practice with a chip on his shoulder of trying to learn as much as possible.”
Hybl remembers the quiet freshman Cummins was early in his college career. He soaked in as much as he could, and still does. He's just more vocal.
Cummins has become a leader for an OU squad that was expected to contend for a national title this past season.
Where Cummins made one of his biggest leaps was honing his confidence. It helps being around and coached by other gifted players.
He was a redshirt freshman on OU’s 2017 national championship team. And more recently, he’s spent the pandemic sharpening his skills at Edmond’s Oak Tree Golf Club.
He’s been in contact with his current teammates. But he often sees former OU golfer Michael Gellerman, as well as onetime Oklahoma State golfers Matthew Wolff and Vicktor Hovland, around the course. Cummins said he’s also played regularly with Oklahoma State’s Austin Eckroat since the 2020 season prematurely ended.
The nerves he once felt playing in big tournaments have subsided.
"It now feels pretty normal to me, since I've been around it for the last two or three years," Cummins said. "It doesn't really affect me anymore. I know that every time I go out, I'm playing against the best guys. And I think you have to look at yourself like you're one of those guys."
Cummins fit the part at the Sunnehanna Amateur, where he competed against a stacked field. Hybl, his coach, added to that group.
Hybl and Cummins were the 36-hole co-leaders after Wednesday. Hybl ultimately finished tied for 15th with Cummins leading his coach by four shots after 72 holes.
It was a solid comeback tournament for Hybl, who hasn’t played an amateur event since 2007. Cummins, however, has asserted himself as one of the world’s top amateur golfers.
Hybl doesn’t see that ending anytime soon.
“I don't know if I've ever been around a guy that wants it as bad as he does. And he has the talent,” Hybl said. “There's a lot of guys that want to be great at a sport but they don't maybe have quite the talent. Well, he has the talent, but his will and his determination are second to none. And I think he is just going to continue to thrive, for sure.”