Cal sneaks by Arizona State in NCAA men's golf quarterfinals

This is why the match-play format exists in men's golf - top-seeded Cal edged Arizona State 3-2 in a drama-filled quarterfinal matchup at the NCAA men's golf championships Friday. With the win, the Golden Bears advance to the semifinals to face Illinois on Saturday.


The Sun Devils made Steve Desimone's boys work for it a good bit, but Cal was too much down the stretch, clinching it when Arizona State's Jon Rahm conceded 18 to Brandon Hagy. NCAA individual medalist Max Homa continued his good play, helping Cal out to an early edge with a 3-2 victory over Trey Ka'ahanui. All square through the first seven holes, Homa won three of the next seven to take a three-hole lead and clinched it when Ka'ahanui couldn't inch closer on 16. Joël Stalter also got in on the fun, sinking a par putt on 18 to finish one up on Tim Mickelson's Max Rottluff. As such, Homa and Stalter gave the Golden Bears a 2-0 lead, needing just one more point to end Arizona State's season.


But the Forks roared back. A full 18 holes couldn't decide the battle between ASU's Austin Quick and Cal's Michael Weaver, so the duo needed free golf. Quick then edged Weaver on their 19th hole, cutting the Cal lead in half. Former Sun Devil golfer James Byrne liked what he saw out of the sophomore from Scottsdale:


Mickelson's men weren't done, as Spencer Lawson upset Michael Kim, the top-ranked collegiate golfer according to Golfweek, finishing the 18 holes one up on Kim.

So it all came down to Brandon Hagy and Jon Rahm, who shot a 61 on this course Tuesday.  Hagy had a one-hole lead heading into 18, where he hit the approach shot to end all approach shots:

Rahm's approach was pretty good, too, but down a hole, it didn't really matter. The Spaniard couldn't hole his birdie putt and conceded the match to Hagy, who finished two up to push Cal through to the semifinals.

The match-play intrigue continues Saturday and Sunday with the semifinals and finals. Will Cal be able to put the icing on the cake of a season to remember? Check back here on the Pac-12 Post for further NCAA men's golf championships coverage.

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