Quade Cummins came back. Now Oklahoma is back — in the national championship.
The Sooners’ fifth-year senior returned for 2021 after telling coach Ryan Hybl, simply, "I want rings.”
OU is one step closer to doing just that after Cummins drained a 6-foot putt for birdie on the 17th hole to beat Cameron Sisk 2 and 1 on Tuesday at Grayhawk Golf Club to push the Sooners to a match play victory over top seed and host Arizona State.
Oklahoma faces Pepperdine in Wednesday’s finals in Scottsdale, AZ. The championship match starts at 3:35 p.m. CT and Golf Channel's coverage begins at 4.
“Yeah, I’m mean, tomorrow’s what we’ve been working for all year long,” Hybl said in an interview on Golf Channel. “Couldn’t be more excited for our guys in this moment.”
Cummins made the clinching putt in a quarterfinal victory over Illinois earlier in the day. On the 17th, as Sisk chose to hit iron off the tee box, Cummins went driver. Cummins’ shot landed on the green some 40 feet from the pin, while Sisk laid up, then hit into the fringe rough.
Cummins’ clinching putt took a hop but his line stayed true before settling into the cup.
“To watch Quade knock that putt in right there,” Hybl said, “to have a chance to play for the national championship is exactly why a guy like that came back.”
Said Cummins, “That’s why we practice all year long. To have a putt like that to either win a national championship or, in this case, to play in a championship match, that’s why everybody comes to OU — to have that opportunity to make that putt.”
Cummins’ putt was his fifth birdie of the day, broke a 2-2 tie and finished a streak of three straight Sooner victories.
In the pairing ahead of Cummins, senior Jonathan Brightwell beat David Puig 1-up, sinking a par putt on No. 18 to maintain a lead he held the entire match. And in the pairing before Brightwell, junior Logan McAllister beat Mason Anderson 4 and 3.
OU's Garett Reband and Ben Lorenz lost their matches 5 and 4, and 3 and 2, respectively, setting up the finishing drama.
Brightwell had a two-shot lead but Puig birdied the 17th to put the pressure on. He sank a 8-foot putt to ice it.
“That was crazy,” Brightwell said. “That was nerve wracking. But this is why we’re here.”
On the back nine, McAllister fired birdies on 9, 10, 11 and 14, then finished 15 with a part to clinch it.
“I put a real emphasis on putting this semester, because I feel like I’ve been sub par in that department pretty much for my entire career,” McAllister said. “I know I have the capability to do it, and to see it happen in the biggest stage that we have in college golf was absolutely awesome.”
OU and Pepperdine played last October in the finale of the East Lake Cup in Atlanta, and the Waves came away with a 4-1 victory. Brightwell was the Sooners’ only win that day as Cummins, McAllister, Patrick Welch and Garett Reband lost their matches.
“You gotta get there first, and to just have the opportunity is awesome,” Cummins said. “We have a lot of work to do. Pepperdine waxed us pretty good at East Lake Cup, so we know they’re a good team. But we’re a good team too.”
Fans of Bedlam wanted to see OU take on Oklahoma State in the championship match, but Pepperdine took down the Cowboys 3-0-2 as the Waves made their first national title match.
The OSU-Pepperdine match turned on Clay Feagler's hole-in-one on No. 8. He had trailed O-State's Austin Eckroat up to that point, but then seized the momentum.
“They’re very good,” Hybl said. “Everybody that’s made it to this point is just so good top to bottom. … They’ve got a phenomenal team. Just really excited about that challenge tomorrow.”
Match Play Semifinals
Grayhawk Golf Club, Scottsdale, AZ
Oklahoma 3, Arizona State 2
- Chun An Yu (A) d. Garett Reband 5 & 4
- Ryggs Johnston (A) d. Ben Lorenz 3 & 2
- Logan McAllister (O) d. Mason Andersen 4 & 3
- Jonathan Brightwell (O) d. David Puig 1-up
- Quade Cummins (O) d. Cameron Sisk 2 & 1
Match Play Finals
2 Pepperdine vs. 4 Oklahoma
- Time: Wednesday, 4 p.m.
- TV: Golf Channel