Oklahoma St. knocks off Ohio St. to reach semis
STILLWATER, Okla. – If there were a Cinderella Story at the NCAA Championship this week, it would be Ohio State. The Buckeyes, ranked No. 28 entering the championship, finished stroke play in sixth place and drew a first-round match with top-ranked Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State is getting key contributions from the bottom of its lineup this week. Sean Einhaus and Talor Gooch comfortably won their matches to give the Cowboys their first two points and helped secure a 3-1-1 victory over the Buckeyes.
Gooch, a freshman, recorded the initial point with a 4-and-2 victory over Alex Redfield. Just 15 minutes later, Einhaus, a sophomore, put the second point on the board with 3-and-2 victory over Michael Cress.
“Obviously being the first guy out, I want to set a good tone and get the crowd moving in the right direction and on our side, and I am glad I was able to do that,” Gooch said.
With Gooch and Einhaus wrapping up victories, Oklahoma State needed just one more point from one of its superstars – Peter Uihlein, Kevin Tway or Morgan Hoffmann – to clinch a spot in the semifinals and set up a rematch of last year’s final match with Augusta State.
With Ohio State’s Dan Charen leading Hoffmann with one hole to play, it was going to have to come from Tway or Uihlein.
Tway lost No. 16 when he made double bogey and remained 1 up with two holes to play. On No. 17, Tway pushed his drive right into the trees and had to which chip out to the fairway. Advantage, Brad Smith. But this is match play, and in a quick turn of events, Smith missed the green with his second and third shots while Tway was able to manufacture a bogey and score the clinching third point.
“That’s about as good as pressure match play gets,” Oklahoma State coach Mike McGraw said of Tway's winning the 17th hole. "That was amazing."
McGraw was not surprised with the grit the Buckeyes showed. Before being named coach at Ohio State, Donnie Darr spent a couple of seasons as an assistant coach in Stillwater.
“They fought extremely, extremely hard,” McGraw aid. “They were down in a lot of matches, and there was no give-up in those guys. You can trace that back to their coach. He is an amazing coach.”
For Ohio State senior Bo Hoag, the year did not end as he would have liked. With his teammates still trying to continue the match, Hoag won the 17th hole against Uihlein to go all square, but before they could play their second shots, Tway closed out Smith.
“You can’t really ask for much more than to have this chance. Playing against the best player in the country, best team in the country on their home course, it’s a day we are going to remember forever,” Hoag said.
As expected, the crowds here at Karsten Creek were heavily favoring the Cowboys, but that didn’t seem to bother Hoag.
“I thought it was a pleasure. I thought it was really cool. The galleries were great. They were very cheerful of our team too,” Hoag said. “A lot of guys dream to play on the PGA Tour, and it kind of had that sort of atmosphere out there.”
Oklahoma State will hope to continue to get the same sort of play from the bottom of the lineup if it hopes to redeem last year’s semifinal match against Augusta State.
“We are fortunate to have three awesome players on our team, and the other two guys have to hold their own, and we have done a good job this week,” Gooch said.