|Toto Gana and Brad Dalke Discuss Their Upcoming Masters Appearances and College Golf|
|Thursday, 30 March 2017 13:53|
Toto Gana and Brad Dalke are collegiate golfers who will be competing in the 2017 Masters Tournament. Gana, a native of Chile, earned his invitation to the Masters by winning the Latin America Amateur Championship in January. Shortly after the tournament, he moved to the U.S. to attend Lynn University and compete for their golf team. He has played in three tournaments so far for the Fighting Knights.
Lynn Freshman Toto Gana:
It was like a dream. I went from nobody to somebody who can play in the Masters in a matter of five days.
It feels like more of a team effort in college golf. You play for yourself but more importantly you want to play well for your teammates and coach. It’s a great experience and so much fun to travel with the guys. Coach does a great job of making it a fun experience for all of us.
Oklahoma Sophomore Brad Dalke:
I have gotten the chance to go round Augusta National eight times now and every round is just as awesome as the first time I played it two and a half years ago. The way I see the course is that you need to do two things really well, hit solid iron shots with good distance control, and putt, especially speed on the putts. There are spots around the greens that are absolutely dead, and hitting irons in the correct parts of the green and not short-siding yourself is key. Putting is huge because sometimes you can be on the green and still have a very tough putt to judge with all the slope. You have to be very creative and have great speed to play well out there. I think the course fits my game really well because I am a very good iron player and all of the tee shots seem to fit my eye. I have told some people that I feel very comfortable out there, and that is definitely the truth. I haven’t made any crazy adjustments in my game. I have just been trying to get better at every aspect of the game that I can.
Q: How are you balancing your school work, playing for the University of Oklahoma, and preparing for the Masters in eleven days?
It has been tough to balance all of the things that I have going on this semester, but I have been managing it really well. My school work has been tough to manage ever since I got to college because of all of the travelling we do, so it really hasn’t been too different than it has been the last three semesters. Getting my game better has taken up a lot of my time. To be honest, I was not at a good spot this last December. I had gotten a little lazy with my practice and it showed in my game. I committed to have a better practice regimen this semester and it has shown. I have not had fantastic finishes in my tournaments so far this semester, but I know that my game is at a way better spot than it was four months ago. I am just waiting for when I put a few great rounds together and win a tournament, and I feel like the flood gates will bust open. I am close, it is just a matter of time.
Q: What experiences and lessons from your time playing for OU will be the most helpful to you in the Masters?
Being able to practice at the Charlie Coe Golf Center has helped me a lot. We have one of the best facilities in college golf, and it is such a great place to practice. You can hit any shot you want there and with all of the different shots you can run into at Augusta, I feel more prepared than I would practicing anywhere else. I also believe I have been able to evaluate my game better with the help of Coach Hybl and Coach Garren. They see me play every day, so I can always learn from their constructive criticism to help get better.
Q: Have you received advice from any former Sooners or Coach Hybl about playing in the Masters? If so, what did they tell you?
Hunter Haas gave me some great advice about the course. He played in the Masters after winning the Public Links, so he was obviously a great person to get advice from. He told me that he worked so hard on putting on fast greens and chipping off of into-the-grain lies, but it’s just not the same as it is at Augusta. I just need to prepare my best around the greens and on the greens in the tournament practice rounds because that will be most like the tournament conditions. Even then, he said that the course plays much different on Thursday than it does on Monday, so adjusting to those conditions is a huge key.
Q: What does it mean to you to be able to represent the OU in the Masters?
It means so much to represent the University of Oklahoma at the Masters. OU had been my dream school for as long as I can remember, and the fact that I can represent this great school and state on the biggest stage is something that I will always remember. I hope I can bring some Sooner Magic with me to Augusta, Georgia, and I know every Sooner watching will be rooting for me. That is such a cool feeling and it gives me chills knowing that I have so many people behind me.
Q: Traditionally, the Masters amateurs stay in the Crow’s Nest at Augusta, are you excited to stay in a place with such a legendary history?
Most amateurs only stay at the Crow’s Nest two or three nights, but I will be staying there all week. It will be so much fun staying in the clubhouse of the course I have dreamed of playing on ever since I was little. Knowing that I will be staying in the same place as all of the legendary golfers that have stayed in the Crow’s Nest is a cool feeling. Honestly, I am just so excited about the whole experience of having access to anything I want. There will probably be a few nights where I just go sit outside looking down at the 9 and 18 greens to soak it all in.