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New Mexico upsets USC to win Match Play

Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship

How did they do? Pre-tournament picks from Asher Wildman, Ron Balicki and Lance Ringler

MARANA, Ariz. – Things were not looking good Tuesday for New Mexico and for Lobo freshman John Catlin in the waning stage of the championship match at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship

New Mexico and USC were deadlocked at 2-2 in the title match at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, and Catlin was 2 down with two holes to play in the last match against USC’s Martin Trainer.

“I knew I had to make birdies, and I knew I had to dig down deep within myself and make something happen,” Catlin said.

Catlin seized the moment, winning the next two holes with birdies to send the match into extra holes, then clinched the victory for the Lobos with a par on the 19th (No. 1) hole.

“It can’t get much more exciting than that,” said coach Glen Millican, whose Lobos entered the event as the 15th seed in the 16-team event, and at No. 52, the second-lowest ranked team in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. “This has been such an exciting thing to be a part of.”

It was definitely a big victory for New Mexico, which was winless this season. In four previous starts this spring, the Lobos had not finished better than fifth and even had a T-12 at UNLV.

“To get any win, anytime, is great,” Millican said. “To win one like this, with this (match play) format, on such an outstanding venue and against such a great field (14 teams ranked in the top 50, including seven in the top 15) makes it even more special.

“The guys have worked hard all season and this should make them feel good about what they’re doing,” Millican said. “I think this shows them they’re capable of playing some great golf.”

While disappointed in the final outcome, USC coach Chris Zambri still left with some positive feelings, not to mention the excitement he felt in that final match.

“It was unbelievable out there,” Zambri said. “What an exciting finish. I really like this format. Winning a match is like winning a tournament. It was a tough loss but this was a good way to see how the guys react in different situations, and in that sense, it was a great week. I feel we got a lot of good experience out of this week.”

Matthew Giles and T.J. Vogel gave USC its first two points. Giles rolled past Nick Geyer, 6 and 4, while Vogel disposed of James Erkenbeck, 5 and 4.

New Mexico came in with Travis Ross cruising past Steve Lim, 5 and 4, and Brandon Putnam defeating Stewart Hagestad, 4 and 2. That set the stage for the fantastic finish between Catlin and Trainer.

At the par-4 17th hole, Catlin hit his 54-degree wedge approach shot to 8 feet. After Trainer struggled to make bogey, the putt was conceded.

At the par-4 closing hole, Catlin hit 3-wood off the tee and then a 5-iron cut shot from 205 yards out to 35 feet above the hole. Trainer, meanwhile, was 15 feet right of the hole. It looked like all he would need to do was two-putt for the win.

“I knew I had to make it as I felt he would at least two putt,” Catlin said. “I told myself: ‘Just go for the make here.’ I hit a great putt and it went in. It got pretty crazy around the green because everyone on the team was there watching. I was pretty emotional, but I knew I had to get under control because it wasn’t over.”

On the first playoff hole, Trainer hit his tee shot off the fairway and in the desert and had to punch out while Catlin, who also gave New Mexico the team victory the day before when he won his match on the 18th hole to break a 2-2 team tie, knocked his approach shot 30 feet from the hole.

After rolling his birdie putt 8 inches past the hole, Trainer conceded the putt ending the match and giving the Lobos the title.

“Coming down the stretch I was committed to hit quality golf shots and I did it,” Catlin said. “It feels great, especially knowing how much it all meant for the team.”

In the days other matches:

Third Place – Dustin Morris edged Ignacio Elvira on the 21st hole to give Colorado State a 3-2 win over defending NCAA champion Texas A&M.

Fifth Place – Iowa defeated UNLV, 3-2.

Seventh Place – Gunner Wiebe went 20 holes before edging Steven Kearney, as San Diego downed top-seeded Stanford, 3-2.

Ninth Place – Indiana, at No. 78 the lowest-ranked team in the field, topped Arizona 3-2.

11th Place – UCLA slipped past Texas Tech 3-2, when Alex Kim defeated Nils Floren on the 19th hole

13th Place – After losing its first two matches, Arizona State charged back and won the final three in beating Washington.

15th Place – TCU, which a few days earlier won the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson by 10 strokes, posted a 3-0-2 victory over Middle Tennessee State, the tournament’s defending champion.

Final results from the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship, played March 21-2 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club (Dove Mountain) in Marana, Ariz.:

FINALS

New Mexico def. Southern California, 3-2-0

  • T.J. Vogel (USC) def. James Erkenbeck, 5 and 4
  • Travis Ross (N.M.) def. Steve Lim, 5 and 5
  • John Catlin (N.M.) def. Martin Trainer, 19 holes
  • Matthew Giles (USC) def. Nick Geyer, 6 and 4
  • Brandon Putnam (N.M.) def. Stewart Hagestad, 4 and 2

• • • 

SEMIFINALS

Southern California def. Colorado State, 3-2-0

  • Riley Arp (CSU) def. T.J. Vogel, 4 and 3
  • Steve Lim (USC) def. Bryce Hanstad, 1 up
  • Martin Trainer (USC) def. Ryan Peterson, 1 up
  • Dustin Morris (CSU) def. Matthew Giles, 1 up
  • Stewart Hagestad (USC) def. Zahkai Brown, 4 and 2

New Mexico def. Texas A&M, 3-2-0

  • James Erkenbeck (N.M.) def. Andrea Pavan, 2 and 1
  • Travis Ross (N.M.) def. Cameron Peck, 2 and 1
  • John Catlin (N.M.) def. Jordan Russell, 1 up
  • Ignacio Elvira (T) def. Nick Geyer, 3 and 2
  • Conrad Shindler (T) def. Brandon Putnam, 4 and 2

• • •

QUARTERFINALS

Southern California def. Standford, 3-2-0

  • T.J. Vogel (USC) def. Sihwan Kim, 2 and 1
  • Steve LIm (USC) def. Steve Ziegler, 4 and 3
  • Martin Trainer (USC) def. Andrea DeDecker, 1 up
  • Joseph Bramlett (S) def. Matthew Giles, 1 up
  • Steven Kearney (S) def. Stewart Hagestad, 3 and 2

Colorado State def. Iowa, 3-2-0

  • Brad Hopfinger (I) def. Riley Arp, 2 and 1
  • Bryce Hanstad (CSU) def. Vince India, 2 and 1
  • Barrett Kelpin (I) def. Ryan Peterson, 1 up
  • Dustin Morris (CSU) def. Chris Brant, 6 and 5
  • Zahkai Brown (CSU) def. Brad George, 3 and 2

Texas A&M def. UNLV, 4-1-0

  • Andrea Pavan (T) def. Derek Ernst, 4 and 2
  • Cody Smith (UNLV) def. Cameron Peck, 1 up
  • Jordan Russell (T) def. Brett Kanda, 5 and 4
  • Ignacio Elvira (T) def. Eddie Olson, 2 and 1
  • Conrad Shindler (T) def. Jeremiah Wooding, 1 up

New Mexico def. San Diego, 3-2-0

  • James Erkenbeck (N.M.) def. Scott Brace, 1 up
  • Travis Ross (N.M.) def. Kenneth McCready, 1 up
  • Alex Ching (S.D.) def. John Catlin, 2 up
  • Nick Geyer (N.M.) def. Jason Shano, 2 and 1
  • Gunner Wiebe (N.M.) def. Brandon Putnam, 6 and 4

• • •

FIRST ROUND

Stanford (1) def. Indiana (16), 3-2-0

  • Sihwan Kim (S) def. Alex Martin, 2 and 1
  • Steve Ziegler (S) def. David Erdy, 3 and 2
  • Chase Wright (I) def. Andre DeDecker, 2 up
  • Brant Peaper (I) def. Joseph Bramlett, 3 and 2
  • Steven Kearney (S) def. Ren Han, 1 up

Southern California (8) def. TCU (9), 4-1

  • T.J. Vogel (USC) def. Johan de Beer, 2 up
  • Steve Lim (USC) def. Travis Woolf, 3 and 2
  • Martin Trainer (USC) def. Tom Hoge, 2 and 1
  • Matthew Giles (USC) def. Daniel Jennevret, 4 and 3
  • Pontus Gad (T) def. Stewart Hagestad, 2 and 1

Iowa (13) def. Arizona State (4), 3-2

  • Brad Hopfinger (I) def. Jesper Kennegard, 1 up
  • Vince India (I) def. Scott Pinckney, 2 and 1
  • Barrett Kelpin (I) def. Knut Borsheim, 1 up
  • James Byrne (A) def. Chris Brant, 6 and 5
  • Braxton Marquez (A) def. Brad George, 3 and 1

Colorado State (12) def. UCLA (5), 2-2-1

  • Riley Arp (CSU) def. Alex Kim, 2 and 1
  • Pontus Widegren (U) def. Bryce Hanstad, 3 and 2
  • Pedro Figueiredo (U) def. Ryan Peterson, 3 and 1
  • Dustin Morris (CSU) def. Connor Driscoll, 4 and 3
  • Mario Clemens (U) vs. Zahkai Brown, halved

Texas A&M (3) def. Arizona (14), 3-2-0

  • Tarquin MacManus (A) def. Andrea Pavan, 3 and 2
  • Cameron Peck (T) def. Jonathan Khan, 2 and 1
  • Rich Saferian (A) def. Jordan Russell, 5 and 3
  • Ignacio Elvira (T) def. Trent Redfern, 5 and 4
  • Conrad Shindler (T) def. Philip Bagdad, 4 and 3

UNLV (6) def. Middle Tennessee State (11), 3-1-1

  • Derek Ernst (UNLV) vs. Kent Bulle, halved
  • Cody Smith (UNLV) def. Jason Millard, 1 up
  • Hunter Green (MYSU) def. Brett Kanada, 2 and 1
  • Eddie Olson (UNLV) def. Craig Smith, 8 and 7
  • Jeremiah Wooding (UNLV) def. Brad Simons, 4 and 3

San Diego (10) def. Texas Tech (7), 3-2-0

  • Nils Floren (T) def. Scott Brace, 3 and 1
  • Chris Ward (T) def. Kenneth McCready, 2 and 1
  • Alex Ching (S.D.) def. Matt Smith, 1 up
  • Jason Shano (S.D.) def. Brian Scherer, 1 up
  • Gunner Wiebe (S.D.) def. Tyler Weworski, 4 and 3

New Mexico (15) def. Washington (2), 3-2-0

  • Nick Taylor (W) def. James Erkenbeck, 4 and 3
  • Travis Roos (N.M.) def. Richard Lee, 2 up
  • John Catlin (N.M.) def. Chris Williams, 2 and 1
  • Nick Geyer (N.M.) def. Charlie Hughes, 2 and 1
  • Chris Killmer (W) def. Brandon Putnam, 4 and 2

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