How it happened: Texas wins NCAA title

Sam Straka reacts to his putt at No. 8. Straka tied for 10th place as well as his brother Sepp.

How it happened: Texas wins NCAA title


How it happened: Texas wins NCAA title

Check out Saturday’s scores by clicking here.

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — This is the way the NCAAs are supposed to be. They are supposed to come down to the last hole. It should be a senior putting for all the glory.

And, on Sunday at Riviera Country Club, Dylan Frittelli got to fill all of those roles.

The Texas senior drained a 20-footer for birdie to give the Longhorns their first NCAA title since 1972 setting off a victory celebration after a tense afternoon that featured the top two teams in the nation and a showdown between the top two players in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.

Alabama won the day’s first point with a dramatic hole out from behind the 18th hole from Bobby Wyatt and Hunter Hamrick gave the Tide a second point with a 6-and-5 win over Julio Vegas.

But then Jordan Spieth holed out for eagle on No. 15 and gave Texas a point with a win over top-ranked Justin Thomas. And then Cody Dribble finished off Scott Strohmeyer, 2 and 1, to put all the pressure on Frittelli and his playing competitor Cory Whitsett.

After Whitsett won the 17th hole with an eagle to send the match to the 18th all square, Whitsett knocked the ball around while Frittelli played it from fairway-to-green without a problem.

Here is how it all unfolded on a sunny day in southern California:

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Update #22: 5:29 p.m. EDT

After Cory Whitsett has some problems with his third shot, Dylan Frittelli only needed to two-putt for the title – but he makes birdie instead – and the Longhorns have won the national title.

FROM LANCE RINGLER: Sportsmanship at its finest. Frittelli makes birdie to win it and celebrates with his team. Whitsett gets the ball out of the hole and takes it to Frittelli.

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Update #21: 5:18 p.m. EDT

Dylan Frittelli hits the fairway at 18, while Whitsett is in the right rough.

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Update #20: 5:15 p.m. EDT

It will come down to the 18th hole between Dylan Frittelli and Cory Whitsett, as the two head to Riviera’s final hole all square, with the overall match knotted at 2-2.

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Update #19: 5:10 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: It all comes down to Frittelli-Whitsett. Frittelli is 1 up thru 16 and both are on the green, but Frittelli has a lengthy birdie putt and Whitsett is inside 10 feet.

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Update #18: 4:56 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: We just had our NCAA shining moment! Alabama’s Bobby Wyatt chips in from behind Riviera’s 18th green to win a crucial point for the Tide. Meanwhile, Texas’ Jordan Spieth holed out from the fairway for eagle on No. 15.

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Update #17: 4:47 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: Texas senior Dylan Frittelli is coming up big in his final college round.He hold an an 8-foot par putt on 14 to stay 1 down, then nearly jarred his approach shot on 15, making a 1-foot birdie putt to to draw all square with Cory Whitsett.

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Update #16: 4:44 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: Hakula takes the advantage on the 18th, hitting the green in regulation and 35 feet away. Wyatt goes over the green, but the up-and-down is not difficult.

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Update #15: 4:40 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: Alabama’s Bobby Wyatt wins the 17th hole with eagle to square his match with Toni Hakula.

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Update #14: 4:32 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: Dylan Frittelli let out a yell after holing a 10-foot par putt on 14 to stay 1 down. Texas leads in three matches, and a Frittelli comeback would only add to the margin. Alabama needs to turn around this match quickly.

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Update #14: 4:30 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: The gallery has tripled for the Hakula-Wyatt match, and Wyatt gets home in two at the par-5 17th hole. Wyatt is 160 yards out.

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Update #13: 4:20 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: Texas’ Toni Hakula makes a two-putt par on the 16th to take a 1-up lead after Alabama’s Bobby Wyatt fails to get up-and-down.

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Update #12: 4:13 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: NCAA title likely to be in the hands of Bobby Wyatt and Toni Hakula. All square thru 15 and only 27 people watching match, including volunteers.

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Update #11: 3:58 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: The first two matches are going to determine the NCAA title. Both are all square. Texas has 3-up leads in the other two and Alabama is 6 up in the other.

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Update #10: 3:55 p.m. EDT

FROM RON BALICKI: Hunter Hamrick, the lone senior on the Alabama team, just made the turn and is 6-up on Julio Vegas, who a day earlier clinched the winning point in the semifinals for Texas. Hamrick, who also clinched the winning point for the Tide in the semis, has just won four consecutive holes, 6-9. He started out winning No. 1 with an eagle and No. 3 with a birdie. So far its the biggest margin spread in this year’s match play competition.

FROM RON BALICKI: The showdown match between the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the country just made the turn. Texas’ Jordan Spieth, who won holes 3 and 5, holds a 2-up lead over Alabama’s Justin Thomas. Interestingly, on the first tee, just before starting play, the two rivals not only shook hands, they gave each other a little hug and wished the other good luck.

FROM RON BALICKI: Was great seeing and catching up with the “Little Pro” Eddie Merrins today around the first tee. He’s is and always has been a class act.

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Update #9: 3:52 p.m. EDT

The action is heating up at Riviera, with Alabama’s Hunter Hamrick 6 up thru 10 holes for the Tide’s only lead, Texas leading two matches (Gribble, Spieth) and the other two matches sitting at all square.

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Update #8: 3:45 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: Frittelli tries the pythargriam theory route. He hits a weird pop-up block into the trees off the tee, plays down the 12th fairway, hits iron over the trees and onto the green. Manages to halve the hole in par.

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Update #7: 3:26 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: Cory Whitsett falls 1 down at the turn after missing a short putt. Texas’ Dylan Frittelli nearly jars a long birdie try on No. 10, but Whitsett converts on his to take their match back to all square. This and the Hakula-Wyatt match look to be the deciding matches thus far.

Texas is up in three matches, while Alabama is head in two matches. Hunter Hamrick has the biggest lead, a 4-up advantage on Julio Vegas.

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Update #6: 3:00 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: Former Texas swimmer Ricky Berens, who won a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, is out watching his alma mater in the NCAA final.

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Update #5: 2:48 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: Interesting move by the NCAA. They’ve moved the 8th up about 60 yards, turning the split-fairway hole into a 350-yard par 4. Players must be wary of the hazard that bisects the fairway and runs just right of the green.

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Update #4: 2:35 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: Julio Vegas, Texas’ Saturday star, is down early to Hunter Hamrick. Vegas just missed a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 4 and is 2 down.

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Update #3: 2:19 p.m. EDT

All matches are on the course, with Texas leading two (Hakula and Gribble are both 1 up), Alabama leading one (Hamrick is 1 up thru two holes) and two matches are all square, including Spieth vs. Thomas – with both picking up pars at the 2nd hole.

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Update #2: 1:46 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: In the marquee match-up of the day, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth halve the first hole. This very well may be the pivotal match for Alabama. The Tide can’t rely on the 5-man to win again. Both of these players have lots of match-play experience. Spieth is a two-time U.S. Junior champ and Thomas was a U.S. Junior finalist.

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Update #1: 1:41 p.m. EDT

The first two matches are on the course, with both of them all square. Toni Hakula took an early 1-up lead on Bobby Wyatt after Wyatt picked up double-bogey on the 1st hole, but came right back to win the second hole.

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Preview coverage

You want the full scouting report on each player? Our Lance Ringler provides a full scouting report on all 10.

Oh, and it wouldn’t be an NCAA Championship without our four experts weighing in with match-by-match predictions. Check out their picks here.

Stay tuned all afternoon as we keep you up-to-date with the latest happenings at Riviera as the NCAA crowns its 2012 champ.

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Complete NCAA Championship coverage

(In case you missed our preview package, Rounds 1-3 and both days of match-play coverage, check it out here)


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