Player diary: Brad Dalke (Part 3)
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I can’t believe my summer is over!
School started Aug. 18, and I now have to adjust to the discipline of school and schoolwork mixed in with golf and practice.
My summer has been very busy and I am sad to see it over, but in one year, I will go to the University of Oklahoma to play golf and get a great education. Going to OU has been a dream of mine from my earliest memories and it is hard to believe that I am that close to that dream coming true!
Some of my best memories from the summer include the AJGA Wyndham Cup, the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, the Junior PGA Championship and the announcement of the Junior Ryder Cup team.
I tied Tiger Woods’ record by playing in my fourth AJGA Wyndham Cup in July. I hope to break his record next summer because I will be eligible again to play in the event. Our West team fought back and ended up tying the match, retaining the Wyndham Cup because of our win in the summer of 2013. Team play has to be my favorite type of competition. Sam Burns and I were the team leaders for the West and led the chants all week. It was a blast!
I played well in the U.S. Junior, finishing ninth (69-72) in the stroke play qualifier against 178 great juniors from all over the country and world. The tournament was held in The Woodlands, Texas, at Carlton Woods Golf Club's Nicklaus course. My instructor, Joey Wuertemberger, from the Texas Jim McLean Center in Fort Worth, caddied for me. I played Anton Serafini in the first round of match play. I played well, but he played even better. Anton was solid all day and definitely deserved the win. Even though I lost 3 and 2 to Anton, I was proud of how I played.
A shoutout to Dr. Bob and Chris Dernick for hosting my family and providing the best food on earth (especially the puppy chow, although I did not beat Cody Proveaux's record for amount eaten during one tournament).
Next up was the Junior PGA Championship just up the road in Bryan, Texas, at Miramont Country Club. One of the directors at the Miramont told my mom that his kids think he works in a castle. The clubhouse is amazing! The Junior PGA is one of my favorite events because of how well run it is. I played well and tied for third with Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, with rounds of 69-70-69-69. I put some pressure on my good friend and eventual winner, Sam Burns, and runner-up Gordon Neale, with five consecutive birdies on holes 9-13 on the final day.
Soon after the Junior PGA concluded, I was informed by the former president of the PGA and U.S. Junior Ryder Cup captain Brian Whitcomb, that I was a captain’s selection for the event. The Junior Ryder cup has been a dream of mine for several years and it feels so great to achieve it. The event will be held Sept. 22-24 in Scotland. My teammates will be Sam Burns, Gordon Neale, Austin Connelly, Davis Riley and Cameron Young. The girls representing the United States will be Kristin Gillman, Bethany Wu, Hannah O’Sullivan, Sierra Brooks, Andrea Lee and Amy Lee. I can’t imagine a stronger team! I can promise that my teammates and I will be ready to take on the European team and bring home the fourth USA victory in a row!
One bonus: I will get to stay and watch the great American team compete in the Ryder Cup, as well.
My next event is the AJGA Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass Aug. 28-31. After that is the Junior Ryder Cup.
I want to say thanks to all those people in my life who make these experiences possible. Words cannot express how much I appreciate my parents, my instructor Joey Wuertemberger, the Jim McLean Center in Texas, my six brothers and sisters and their spouses (can’t forget the three nieces and four nephews), my grandparents, and the list goes on and on. I would not be where I am today without their sacrifices and support.
Until next time,