Cal defeats Arizona State 3-2 to advance to semis
PHOTOS: NCAA Championship (Quarterfinals)
View images from the quarterfinals of NCAA Championship Match Play on Friday.
MILTON, Ga. – A clutch shot by California junior Brandon Hagy sealed Cal’s spot in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships by defeating Arizona State 3-2 at The Capital City Club's Crabapple course.
Hagy stuck his shot to 4 feet with a 138-yard gap wedge.
“It was a great number for me,” Hagy added.
ASU’s Jon Rahm fired back with a shot to 12 feet above the cup. Rahm missed his putt and conceded the match.
The Sun Devils were up early in four of the five matches.
“You could sense in their players, they had a shot at this,” Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. “They had a sense of purpose that was unbelievably strong.”
But the momentum swing came at the turn.
Four of five Arizona State players – Austin Quick, Max Rottluff, Trey Ka’ahanui, Spencer Lawson – made bogeys at the par-4 9th. Hagy made a birdie to Rahm’s par. It swung the favor to Cal, with all matches either all square or with the Bears 1 or 2 up.
The No. 1 team in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings put its first points on the board when NCAA Individual Medalist Max Homa won his match again Ka’ahanui 3 and 2.
“I saw the confidence, I just didn’t have good shots,” Homa said of his start. Homa and Ka’ahanui played even-par golf until the 8th hole of the day. Homa never made a birdie all day. He made one bogey on No. 10.
Joël Stalter was next to close his match against Rottluff, a freshman from Germany. Stalter went 2 down early and fast. But he fought back.
“I just told myself he wouldn’t win another hole,” Stalter said. That held true as Stalter took it to all square on No. 9 and won hole 12. He won, 1 up.
Michael Weaver and Quick took their match to extra holes. Quick sunk a 12-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole to secure points on the board for ASU.
Michael Kim, the No. 1 player in the Golfweek Rankings, lost his quarterfinal match up to Lawson on the 18th, 1 up.
Therefore 2-2, with one match left on the course, it all came down to Hagy.
Hagy added that it was a moment that he’ll never forget.
“Jon pushed him (Brandon) all the way today,” Desimone said. “He and Joël are experienced players and they performed when they needed to.”
As for ASU, it had nothing to lose.
Said head coach Tim Mickelson: “I’m going to tell them I’m damn proud of them. It was a great learning experience for next year and hopefully we’ll get back.”
With that, Cal will take on Illinois in the semifinals Saturday.
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Saturday's match-ups: Cal vs. Illinois
10:00 a.m.: Michael Weaver, Cal, vs. Thomas Detry, Illinois
10:09 a.m.: Joel Stalter, Cal, vs. Charlie Danielson, Illinois
10:18 a.m.: Max Homa, Cal, vs. Thomas Pieters, Illinois
10:27 a.m.: Michael Kim, Cal, vs. Brian Campbell, Illinois
10:36 a.m.: Brandon Hagy, Cal, vs. Alex Burge, Illinois