NCAAs: Alabama, Cal, Texas advance; UCLA out
NCAA Men's Championship: Match Play, Day 1
Check out images from Day 4 at the NCAA Men's Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
NCAA Men's Championship: Round 3
Check out images from Day 3 at the NCAA Men's Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett each won handily, while fifth-man Scott Strohmeyer jumped out to a big lead and held on down the stretch to help Alabama advance to the NCAA semifinals. The Crimson Tide, who defeated Kent State, 3-1-1, will face California, a 3-and-2 winner against San Diego State.
Kent State had clinched the No. 8 spot by defeating Florida State in a playoff Friday morning.
Alabama, No. 2 in Golfweek’s rankings, advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the first time since the match-play portion was added in 2009.
- Ryan Lavner
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Cal knocks off San Diego State
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Cal’s Joel Stalter holed a 15-foot birdie putt on Riviera’s 17th green to lead the Golden Bears to the NCAA Championship semifinals. The Bears beat San Diego State, 3-2.
Stalter played San Diego State’s Alex Kang in the fifth and final match between the two teams. The focus was on the anchor match after San Diego State’s Colin Featherstone beat Cal’s Brandon Hagy with a birdie at No. 17. That’s when it became apparent that Stalter or Kang would determine the team winner. The first four matches were split.
Their match was on the 15th tee, located just 50 yards from the 17th green. They were all square after Kang’s birdie at the 14th hole. Both players bogeyed No. 15, but Stalter won the par-3 16th with a two-putt par after Kang’s tee shot plugged in a greenside bunker. Both players laid up on the par-5 17th. Kang hit to 25 feet. He missed, setting the stage for Stalter.
Pace Johnson, a transfer from Cal Poly, and Michael Kim earned Cal’s other two victories. The Bears’ win negated an impressive comeback by San Diego State’s top player, J.J. Spaun. He was 2 down after seven holes, but birdied Nos. 8 and 10, eagled the par-5 11th and won Nos. 12 and 14 with pars. He closed out the match by hitting his approach to No. 15 to a foot.
- Sean Martin
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Oregon knocks off second-seeded UCLA
Oregon's top-three seeds did their job Friday afternoon, all carding victories over UCLA and won the match 3-2 on what essentially is a home course for the Bruins.
Eugene Wong won his match 1 up; Daniel Miernicki took his 2 up; and Andrew Vijarro won 3 and 2.
UCLA got two wins, with Patrick Cantlay cruising to a 5-and-3 victory and Pontus Widegren winning 2 and 1.
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Texas shuts out Washington
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - Texas broke open a close match in the early going of the back nine and went on to defeat Washington 4-1 in the day’s last quarterfinal matchup.
The Longhorns, who will take on Oregon in Saturday’s semifinals, clinched the victory when senior Dylan Frittelli halved the 17th hole against Cheng-Tsung Pan for a 2-and-1 win and the all important third team point.
Earlier, Toni Hakula got Texas on the board by defeating Charlie Hughes, 3 and 2, and was followed by Jordan Spieth, who rolled past Ty Chambers, 4 and 3.
Once Frittelli closed out his match, the remaining two matches on the course were stopped with each player given a half point. The Longhorns were up in both those at the time.
Julio Vegas was 2-up through 16 against Chris Williams and Cody Gribble was 1-up against Trevor Simsby at the 18th green.
Frittelli was 1-up after nine holes before winning 10 and 11. After Pan won 12 and 13, Frittelli won 14 and 15.
Hakula was all square with Hughes through 10, but took the lead for good by winning holes 11 and 12.
After losing the ninth hole, Spieth was 2-up, but charged to a commanding lead with wins as 11 and 12.
Also in that cluster of holes, Gribble won 11-13 and Vegas took nine and 10.
“A great team effort all the way around,” Texas coach John Fields said of the Longhorns' day.
- Ron Balicki