(March 4, 2017) -- With the Masters quickly approaching we thought it would be a good time to catch up with Oklahoma sophomore Brad Dalke who will be teeing it up in the years first major next month.
Dalke qualified for the Masters by finishing as the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Amateur and he will be one of five amateurs in the field.
Since his run at the U.S. Amateur, Dalke has represented Team USA as a member of the three player World Amateur Team Championship team and also as one of the 16 Walker Cup practice session participants.
Dalke played in all 13 Oklahoma events last year, his freshman year, with his best finish coming at the 2015 Ka'anapali Classic Collegiate Invitational where he finished second.
Sam Dostaler: What are you most excited about when it comes to your upcoming Masters appearance?
Brad Dalke: Just the whole the experience, staying in the Crows Nest, playing with the pros and seeing the 40,000-50,000 people watching every day. Just the whole experience of it should be pretty awesome.
SD: Can you put into words what emotions you are feeling with the Masters now just over a month away?
BD: I've been working really hard for the last three or four months not only to get prepared for [the Masters] but college golf in general and I feel like my game is in good shape right now. I went to Augusta [the last weekend of February] to get a little game plan going and I felt really comfortable out there.
So I guess the emotions that I have for the next month are to be excited to go get some more practice rounds in before and then once I finally get there have fun, play well.
SD: What hole/holes are you most looking forward to playing?
BD: Amen's Corner is awesome. The 11th is a great hole, 12 and 13 will be fun holes that you can birdie or you can also make a big number if your not careful. They are just great designs and beautiful holes to play so the Amen Corner area will be an exciting area.
SD: Has life on campus changed for you because of your success at the U.S. Amateur?
BD: Not crazy, there are some people that will stop me every once in a while. But nothing to crazy. I'm guessing that if I can do well at the Masters that might change a little more but nothing to crazy as of yet.
SD: What is the best bit of advice you have been given about Augusta National?
BD: I talked to [former Oklahoma golfer] Hunter Haas who played in the Masters in 2000 after winning the U.S. Public Links [in 1999]. He told me that he tried so hard to prepare. When he played here at OU he asked the superintendent out here if they could try and get the greens faster and the area around the greens mowed into the grain like at Augusta like people say it is during the tournament.
But he just said there is like no way for you to even prepare for it. Even when you are playing the practice round Monday it is going to be way different on Thursday then it is Monday so you just have to kind of know in your head that it is going to be way different come Thursday-Sunday.
It is just something that you kind of have to adjust to and you just have to be creative on the greens. At Augusta there are so many big breaks that sometimes you almost have to leave it short sometimes and hope that it eeks out and into the hole. It is just kind of a little bit different thought process on the green.
SD: You come from a long family line of Oklahoma athletes. What does it mean to follow in their foot steps and compete for the Sooners?
BD: It means a lot. I was born and raised a Sooner. From as much as I can remember from when I was younger I was always wearing OU tee shirts or throwing an OU football around or watching an OU football game, it is just in my blood and honestly I just never imagined myself doing well so the fact that I had that dream to play golf here and the fact that I am here now is just really cool.
I am the only sibling that out of six older siblings that went to OU and to kind of carry on that legacy a little bit is a pretty cool feeling.
SD: To follow up on that you also grew up in Norman, OK. Did you consider going any place else for school?
BD: I never took a visit anywhere else. It was just kind of ingrained in me so much I never even imagined myself going any place else.
SD: What do you remember most from the week at the U.S. Amateur?
BD: Honestly it is all kind of a blur. But I would say on No. 11 of my semifinal match there is a huge bowl in the front and middle of the green and I hit it on top of the bowl which is almost dead and I probably had about a 50-footer and part of it had to go sideways and it was just this huge breaker that had to go around the bowl and it almost went in so I two putted to win the hole and go 1 up in the match. It gave me a lot of momentum. I think that was one of the biggest shots of that week.
SD: How much confidence did you gain from your U.S. Amateur performance?
BD: It gave me a lot of confidence. Last fall I didn't play as well as I would have liked, everything was just off a little bit last fall. But I've been working hard and I know that after the U.S. Am that I can go and play with anybody in the world if I play well.
That thought in my in mind, if I am coming down the stretch in a big tournament, I know that I have been in that spot before. In almost every match that I had it was close and I was able to hit clutch shots down the stretch when I needed to and just having that kind of memory to draw back on in certain situations is really important to me.
SD: Your Oklahoma team seems poised to make a run at the NCAA's this year. How much do you enjoy the team concept of college golf?
BD: It's awesome. I got to play in the Junior Ryder Cup, I got to play a bunch of Wyndham Cups with the AJGA and all that. I love team golf it is just so much fun. Whenever you win a tournament or win the Junior Ryder Cup it is just such a different feeling to be able to celebrate a win with other people.
It is awesome when you win individually obviously but your kind of celebrating by yourself or with your family or caddie and all that but when you are with a team you all put that hard work in together and to be able to celebrate together is just tough to describe. I mean I just love team golf and having teammates depend on each other. It is just an aspect you don't get that often in team golf.
SD: Back to the Masters for a moment before I let you go. What are your goals for Masters week?
BD: I feel like I will be in contention honestly. I'm really comfortable out there. For some reason when I am out there on the course I just feel comfortable like I can birdie every hole and that is a feeling you don't always get on a course if it doesn't fit your eye. But for some reason reason, it just feels like Augusta fits my eye. I believe I obviously need to play well but I feel when my game is on I can play with anybody and I want to go down there and be in contention. I believe I can so you know we will see.
SD: What part of your game do you think will help you the most while at Augusta?
BD: I think my iron game, I think iron game is second behind putting out there and putting is just all speed at Augusta. You have to be able to read the four footers, you have to match up your speed and line.
But behind putting I think iron game is most important because you can easily put yourself in horrible spots if you hit a bad iron shot. Honestly though, if you are hitting your irons good you will have a lot of good looks because there is usually one pin on every green that is play to the middle of the green and give yourself a 25-footer but most of the pins there are one or two certain spots on the green that allow you to have a really good look [at the hole] so I think it is just a matter of me hitting my irons well and hitting my spots and I think I can do that with my game. That is the best part of my game and I am confident in it.