NCAA men's golf championships: Stanford, UCLA eliminated
The No. 1 seed Cardinal defeated the University of Illinois in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, 3-2, on the strength of Patrick Rodgers’ 3-and-2 win along with Cameron Wilson and Viraat Badwhar’s 1-up victories. Stanford would battle with Oklahoma State in the semifinals before dropping the match 3-2 on Badwhar’s missed putt on 18. The Bruins were not as fortunate, losing 4-1 with Lorens Chan the only victor on the UCLA squad.
Wilson was paired in the quarterfinals with Illinois’ Alex Burge and was met with a bigger challenge than expected. Wilson found himself 1-down on several occasions but was able to bounce back, taking the 1-up advantage on the 17th hole, the same hole on which he won the national championship on Monday.
Badwhar and his opponent, Charlie Danielson, took viewers on a roller coaster ride. Badwhar led by three strokes on two separate occasions before pulling out the 1-up victory. Rodgers dominated Jonathan Hauter 3-and-2 after dropping three of the first four holes.
In the semifinals against Oklahoma State, Wilson excelled over the Cowboys’ Ian David, winning 4-and-2. Rodgers battled with Jordan Niebrugge through 12 holes before winning the skin on 13 and 14 and maintaining the lead throughout the next three holes to win 2-and-1. The most intense match of the day was between Maverick McNealy and Oklahoma State’s Talor Gooch.
The duo dueled back and forth with neither taking a lead larger than one stroke. Gooch’s birdie on 16 and McNealy’s bogie on 17 seemingly sealed the victory for Gooch until he followed up with a bogey on 18 to force a playoff. They battled for two more holes until Gooch finally pulled out the victory.
All the pressure of the match then rested on the shoulders of Viraat Badwhar, who had not won a hole throughout his match with Wyndham Clark. Badwhar battled back from 3-down after 13 holes and won the 14th and 15th holes. The pair tied on the 16th and 17th holes, and it came down to Badwhar needing a birdie on 18 to extend the match, which he pulled to the left, handing Oklahoma State the victory.
The Bruins’ chances heading into the quarterfinals were shaky at best, but the squad finished up strong down the stretch to secure the No. 6 seed and would have to face No. 3 seed Louisiana State. Lorens Chan started strong with a 2-up lead through the first three holes over LSU’s Stewart Jolly. The pair started on the 10th hole and by the 17th hole, they were all square once again. Chan would pick up four strokes over the next three holes and would be declared the victor 4-and-3 after the pair both hit par on the sixth hole.
Preston Valder matched up nicely with LSU’s Curtis Thompson as the pair halved nine of the holes on the day. Valder fell in an early 2-down hole after three holes but would gain the strokes back on the 14th hole with a birdie putt while Thompson bogeyed. Valder would take a 1-up lead after the 16th hole but returned to all-square after 17. The two would remain so for the next three holes until Valder won the skin at the third hole. Thompson would square it up down the stretch on seven but Valder would take the l1-up lead heading into the final hole. The biggest disappointment came on the ninth hole where Valder settled for a double bogey to lose two strokes and the match to Thompson 1-up.
UCLA's Jonathan Garrick played a similar match to Valder against LSU's Smylie Kaufman. Garrick started off in a 2-down hole after the 10th hole and then went on to halve 13 holes with Kaufman. Garrick never led in the match although he did win the fourth and 12th holes.
The Bruins' Matt Pinnizzotto took an early 2-up lead over the Tigers' Zach Wright but found himself 2-down after the first ten holes. After winning the skin on the second hole, there was a glimmer of hope with the pair halving the next four holes. Dropping back to 2-down and halving the next hole closed the door on Pinnizzotto, losing 2-and-1.
The most consistent golfer on the Bruins, Anton Arboleda, had the poorest performance in match play against LSU's Benjamin Taylor. Arboleda, like Pinnozzotto, had a 2-up lead after three holes and watched it slip away. Arboleda gave up skins on 13 and 15 before gaining one back on 16, then giving it right back on 17. Taylor took his first lead on the fourth hole and would go on to take the next two holes, sealing the 4-and-3 finish.