NCAA Tracker: Follow Day 1 of match play

Alabama's Justin Thomas during the final round of stroke play at the 2012 NCAA Championship.

Men's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Casey FernandezSo. Miss.  66.31 
2Tomasz AndersonJ'Ville St  67.12 
3Chase KoepkaUSF-Bulls  67.27 
4Hunter StewartVanderbilt  67.27 
5Maverick McNealyStanford  67.32 

Men's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1South Florida 68.18 
2Illinois 68.90 
3SE Louisiana 69.66 
4Florida State 69.78 
5Baylor 69.89 

Full scores of Friday's action at Riviera can be found here.

• • •

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The field is set after Kent State knocked off Florida State in a playoff on Friday morning, securing the eighth and final spot in the match-play portion of the NCAA Men's Championship at Riviera Country Club.

The prize? A match-up with top-seeded Alabama. Check out all of the match-ups here, including individual matches and tee times.

After struggling for two rounds, many of the country's top-ranked teams made a Thursday surge and moved into match play.

With four of our college experts on the ground in Southern California, each will keep you up-to-date on each match with blogs, commentary and things to look out for throughout the day.

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

And off we go!

• • •

UCLA vs. Oregon: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Oregon beats UCLA by one match. Oregon's Andrew Vijarro, Daniel Miernicki and Eugene Wong won their respective matches, while on the UCLA side Patrick Cantlay and Pontus Widegren were victorious in their matches.

• • •

California vs. San Diego State: 6:45 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: The NCAA Championship match-play format continues to create drama. California beat San Diego State thanks to Joel Stalter's 15-foot birdie putt on 17 to beat San Diego State's Alex Kang, 2 and 1.

• • •

Texas vs. Washington: 6:14 p.m. EDT

FROM RON BALICKI: Still plenty of golf to be played today, but for now, Texas is showing what it is currently – and has been most of the season – No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.

In their opening quarterfinal match against Washington, the Longhorns, with four of their matches through at least nine holes, are up on the Huskies, 4-0-1.

Cody Gribble is 1 up on Trevor Simsby after nine and Dylan Frittelli is 1 up on Cheng-Tsung Pan heading to the back side.

Jordan Spieth, despite losing the ninth hole, is 2 up on Ty Chambers, while Julio Vegas had a 1-up lead over Chris Williams through eight holes.

In the grouping's lead match, Longhorn Toni Hakula is all square with Charlie Hughes after 10.

Texas-Washington should definitely make for exciting final nine holes and I’m thinking we’ll be seeing a few of these matches come down the 18th.

• • •

UCLA vs. Oregon: 6:10 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: The UCLA-Oregon match remains close; all square at 2-2-1.

Oregon's Daniel Miernicki has back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 to go 2 up in his match against UCLA's Pedro Figueiredo.

• • •

California vs. San Diego State: 5:55 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: All focus on California-San Diego State has shifted to the final match, between California's Joel Stalter and San Diego State's Alex Kang, which is all square through 14. It likely will decide the winner.

• • •

California vs. San Diego State: 5:40 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: The California-San Diego State match is getting tight. San Diego State's J.J. Spaun won his match, but the Aztecs only lead in one other match, and that is a 1-up lead with two holes to go.

• • •

Alabama vs. Kent State: 5:35 p.m. EDT

Alabama wins its match against Kent State, 3-1-1. Justin Thomas, Cory Whitsett and Scott Strohmeyer won their respective matches, while Bobby Wyatt lost to Kent State's Corey Conners. Hunter Hamrick and Mackenzie Hughes tied.

• • •

UCLA vs. Oregon: 5:20 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: UCLA's Patrick Cantlay wins the ninth hole to go 2 up in his match against Oregon's Jonathan Woo. With all five matches now on the back nine, UCLA leads Oregon 2-0-3. However, things are close and will likely go down to the final few holes in each match.

• • •

San Diego State vs. California: 5:08 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: California's Max Homa made bogeys out of greenside bunkers on Nos. 12 and 14 and is now 3 down to San Diego State's J.J. Spaun. Homa was 2 up after seven holes, but Spaun birdied Nos. 8 and 10 and made a 40-foot eagle putt on No. 11.

California and San Diego State are now knotted at 2-2-1. The final match is all square through 10 and could determine which team wins.

• • •

UCLA vs. Oregon: 4:48 p.m. EDT

FROM LANCE RINGLER: UCLA's Patrick Cantlay hit his tee shot to within two feet of the pin on the par-6 sixth hole. He went on to make a birdie, which puts him at 2 up through six in his match against Oregon's Jonathan Woo, who made par on the sixth.

The match between UCLA and Oregon is tied at this point, at 2-2-1.

• • •

San Diego State vs. California: 4:20 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: San Diego State's J.J. Spaun was 2 down after seven holes, but has drawn even with California's Max Homa with a birdie at the tricky par-4 10th. (For more on Riviera's short-but-deadly 10th hole: Story). San Diego State, which was down early in the first three matches against Cal, is now knotted with the Pac-12 champion Bears. Each team leads in two matches and another is tied. Spaun has done a great job of scrambling. He hit just one fairway on the front nine, yet has stayed in the match. This Homa-Spaun match will be crucial to deciding which team wins this Golden State tussle.

• • •

Texas vs. Washington: 4:10 p.m. EDT

FROM RON BALICKI: Players in the day’s final match just teed off (12:55 p.m. PDT) and both Julio Vegas of Texas and Chris Williams of Washington split the fairway. Everyone now off and running, although a couple of those first matches are already done.

Interestingly, as the last match between Texas and Washington was getting underway basketball hall of famer Jerry West made his way through the crowd to the first tee where he watched four of the five matches tee off.

“This is really great,” West said. “There’s a lot of very talented young men out here. Fun to watch them.”

And, Jerry, for those of us old enough to remember, you were very much fun to watch yourself on the basketball court.

• • •

UCLA vs. Oregon: 3:50 p.m. EDT

UCLA is 2 up over Oregon. Patrick Cantlay, whose third-round 66 was the low round of the stroke play portion of the tournament, is 1 up through two in his match against Oregon's Jonathan Woo.

• • •

San Diego State vs. California: 3:20 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: California's Max Homa has won two of the last three holes to go 2 up through seven in his match with San Diego State's J.J. Spaun. Homa holed a 25-foot birdie putt from the fringe on No. 7.

• • •

San Diego State vs. California: 2:55 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: San Diego State's J.J. Spaun is struggling with the lefts, missing the past four tee shots in that direction. He's still all square through four, though. Spaun and California's Max Homa both missed par putts of about five feet on the fourth hole.

• • •

San Diego State vs. California: 2:43 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: Cal is up (very, very early) in the first three matches against the Aztecs, according to the scoreboard. Max Homa took a 1-up lead by parring the 515-yard, par-5 second hole. Meanwhile, 'June gloom," th emorning fog that coastal California gets in early spring and summer mornings, usually burns off by early afternoon. But not today. The wind is picking up, fog is rolling in and the temperature is dropping at Riviera.

• • •

San Diego State vs. California: 2:19 p.m. EDT

FROM SEAN MARTIN: For those who like David vs. Goliath, here's this tidbit: San Diego State head coach Ryan Donovan doesn't have an assistant, so his players are basically left to their own devices. Cal's two coaches are stationed in the first and second fairways to help players on their approaches.

• • •

Alabama vs. Kent State: 1:59 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: It wouldn't surprise me at all if Kent State's Corey Conners played well and knocked off Alabama's Bobby Wyatt. Conners has a lot of confidence here after play so well in the stroke-play portion. (He finished T-4 at 1 under)

• • •

Alabama vs. Kent State: 1:51 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: I think Scott Strohmeyer will be key this weekend for Alabama. He's been kind of the forgotten piece, but in match play he's just as important as Justin Thomas. Getting a few wins, or making other teams think twice about playing against him, could go a long way.

• • •

Alabama vs. Kent State: 1:41 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: Alabama's Cory Whitsett, playing Kent State's No. 5 Kyle Kmiecik, wins the first two holes and Alabama is taking control early. This has the potential to be a rout if Kent State doesn't rite the ship.

• • •

Alabama vs. Kent State: 1:34 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: The tee is moved way back on No. 2, a 515-yard par 4 now, and that will really favor Alabama's length. Justin Thomas put the Tide up early with a hole win at the 2nd.

• • •

Alabama vs. Kent State: 1:23 p.m. EDT

FROM RYAN LAVNER: At the pairings party last night, Alabama threw out their No. 1 guy, Justin Thomas, to go first off the tee (which he just did). Kent State matched him with Kevin Miller, its No. 4 player. Assistant coach says that Miller doesn't have a pulse on the course and won't be fazed by the situation.

• • •

Sean Martin's matches to watch

Here’s the matches I’m most looking forward to today at the NCAA Championship:

Max Homa (Cal) vs. J.J. Spaun (San Diego State), 10:45 a.m.: These are two of the most underrated players in college golf. Homa, No. 33 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, was a quarterfinalist at the 2010 U.S. Amateur and finished ninth in stroke play at Riviera. Spaun is ranked 22nd in Golfweek’s rankings after winning three times this year. He was 13th in stroke play at Riviera.

Dylan Frittelli (Texas) vs. Cheng-Tsung Pan (Washington), 12:33 p.m.: This is a good match between two players who use precision instead of power. Pan is 26th in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, while Frittelli is third.

Anton Arboleda (UCLA) vs. Eugene Wong (Oregon), 11:57 a.m.: Wong would usually be considered the favorite in this match. He was the Pac-12 player of the year and is sixth in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. Arboleda played well this week at Riviera, though. He was the 18-hole leader and tied for 13th in stroke play. Wong also finished 13th. This match is going to be key in deciding which team wins today one. I expect a tight one. Arboleda is 62nd in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and 18th in the R&A’s World Amateur Ranking.

David vs. Goliath: I was a proponent of allowing the coaches set the NCAA Championship’s match-play lineups. It provides the coaches an opportunity to, well, coach. This is the first year coaches have determined their match-play lineup, and already I don’t like the change. Using rankings to determine each team’s match-play lineup – the format in 2009-11 – guaranteed we’d see each team’s best players go head-to-head. Now coaches can send out their No. 5 guy as a sacrificial lamb. I understand their reasoning – a potentially great round by your top player could be rendered moot by a match-play loss to another All-American – but I think it takes away from this event.

Instead of seeing Patrick Cantlay play Eugene Wong in today’s UCLA-Oregon match, we’ll see Cantlay take on Jonathan Woo, the nation’s 113th-ranked player. There’s no Jordan Spieth-Chris Williams match in today’s Texas-Washington showdown either. Spieth will face Ty Chambers, while Williams will face Julio Vegas. The latter should be a tight match, but doesn’t have the same intrigue as duel between Williams and Spieth, two members of last year’s Walker Cup team.

I hope we see one of the lower-ranked players upset one of the big guys today. It would make for a great story, and perhaps persuade coaches to let the best face the best.

• • •

Update #1: 12:37 p.m. EDT

Kent State has already felt plenty of pressure this morning, having held off Florida State by a stroke in an one-hole, aggregate playoff at 11 a.m. EDT this morning.

Now it will face top-seeded Alabama, who had the lead after all three stroke-play rounds. Freshman Justin Thomas will lead the way for the Tide.

Other intriguing individual pairings to watch today: Cal's Max Homa vs. San Diego State's J.J. Spaun; Texas' Dylan Frittelli vs. Washington's Cheng-Tsung Pan as well as Texas' Julio Vegas vs. Washington's Chris Williams.

• • •

THE MATCHES

Alabama (1) vs. Kent State (8)

Justin Thomas vs. Kevin Miller, 10 a.m.

Cory Whitsett vs. Kyle Kmiecik, 10:09 a.m.

Scott Strohmeyer vs. Taylor Pendrith, 10:18 a.m.

Bobby Wyatt vs. Corey Conners, 10:27 a.m.

Hunter Hamrick vs. Mackenzie Hughes, 10:36 a.m.

• • •

California (4) vs. San Diego State (5)

Max Homa vs. J.J. Spaun, 10:45 a.m.

Brandon Hagy vs. Colin Featherstone, 10:54 a.m.

Pace Johnson vs. Matt Hoffenberg, 11:03 a.m.

Michael Kim vs. Tom Berry, 11:12 a.m.

Joel Stalter vs. Alex Kang, 11:21 a.m.

• • •

UCLA (2) vs. Oregon (7)

Pontus Widegren vs. Robbie Ziegler, 11:30 a.m.

Alex Kim vs. Andrew Vijarro, 11:39 a.m.

Pedro Figueiredo vs. Daniel Miernicki, 11:48 a.m.

Anton Arboleda vs. Eugene Wong, 11:57 a.m.

Patrick Cantlay vs. Jonathan Woo, 12:06 p.m.

• • •

Texas (3) vs. Washington (6)

Toni Hakula vs. Charlie Hughes, 12:15 p.m.

Cody Gribble vs. Trevor Simsby, 12:24 p.m.

Dylan Frittelli vs. Cheng-Tsung Pan, 12:33 p.m.

Jordan Spieth vs. Ty Chambers, 12:42 p.m.

Julio Vegas vs. Chris Williams, 12:51 p.m.

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