MILTON, Ga. -- And then there were four -- or, the Final Fore, as they call it here at the NCAA Championship.
The favorite? Still alive, as Cal knocked off Arizona State on Friday.
The biggest challenger? Still alive, as Alabama blasted New Mexico on Friday.
The hometown favorite? Still alive, as Georgia Tech outlasted UNLV.
The surprise? That'd be Illinois, who knocked off defending champ Texas.
So, all of the storylines are there today, as Cal takes on Illinois in the first set of matches, followed by Alabama and Georgia Tech.
We'll keep you updated all day long from the Capital City Club. And off we go!
• • •
Update #28: 2:48 p.m. EDT
• Alabama vs. Georgia Tech update: Bobby Wyatt is 1 up on Anders Albertson with two holes left. Justin Thomas is 2 up on Seth Reeves with three holes to play. Cory Whitsett leads Ollie Schniederjans, 4 up, with four to play. The only match 'Bama trails is the one involving Scott Strohmeyer, who is 1 down to Bo Andrews with three to play.
• • •
Update #27: 2:43 p.m. EDT
• Cal vs. Illinois update: Max Homa three-putts for bogey and Thomas Pieters win the match ...
MILTON, Ga. – The Final Fore is set with a cast of characters that most would agree fits the final two days of the NCAA Championship very well.
Left chasing a national title are college golf’s two heavyweights: top-ranked California and No. 2 Alabama are on opposite sides of the bracket, eyeing a Sunday final. That’s what most want to see: No. 1 vs. No. 2 to decide it all.
Before that can happen, Cal will have to get past Illinois, which is playing the underdog role. Alabama will have to get past Georgia Tech, which happens to be the local favorite here at Capital City Club’s Crabapple course.
If today was any indication of what to expect, it’s going to be good. The intensity level was raised a few notches, if not more. Arizona State head coach Tim Mickelson tweeted early in his round: “Holy crap this Match Play format is Fun!”
Indeed it is fun for all involved and exciting to watch, but fun is just the beginning. In all my years around college golf, the atmosphere is unlike any day that you witness, anywhere.
“There is such a finality to it,” California head coach ...
MILTON, Ga. –– He can’t explain it, but Georgia Tech sophomore Ollie Schniederjans thrives in pressure situations.
Schniederjans led his NCAA Championship quarterfinal match Friday against UNLV’s Kevin Penner for 16 holes until Penner squared things up with a long birdie on the par-4 17th hole at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple course. And when the match went to extra holes, Schniederjans delivered, sticking his approach at the par-4 first hole to within 3 feet.
When the match-clinching birdie putt dropped, Schniederjans gave a big fist pump. The gallery of mostly Georgia Tech fans erupted. Schniederjans’ teammates came rushing out onto the green to congratulate him.
Then came the tears, as Schniederjans covered his face with a white towel, taking a few seconds to collect his emotions.
“That was kind of surprising,” Schniederjans said of the moments after his 19-hole victory, which gave the Yellow Jackets a 3-2 win and set up a semifinal match against defending national runner-up Alabama on Saturday. “You saw the other guys, they were like that, too. We love this program. We love this team. That’s how bad we want it.”
Schniederjans missed a 12-footer for birdie that would have given him ...
MILTON, Ga. Coming into this year’s NCAA Championship at Capital City Club’s Crabapple course, Illinois’ Alex Burge felt he had something to prove – to his coach, to his teammates, and, most of all, to himself.
It was a matter of showing he belonged and was worthy of a spot in the lineup at the national championship.
After all, the Fighting Illini sophomore’s best finish in a team event this season was a T-13 in the Louisiana Classics, the team’s spring opener. A T-19 at the Boilermaker and T-17 at the Big 10 Championship was just good enough to get him the team’s fifth spot for the NCAA regional at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
But he was a disaster there, never breaking 80 in three rounds and never counting in Illinois’ victorious run to its first region title.
Still, coach Mike Small saw something, felt something, and included Burge in the lineup for the finals.
After posting a non-counting 72 in the first round of stroke play here at Crabapple, he followed with a counting 74 the next day. Then it all kicked in. He shot a team second-best 69 the final round which ...
MILTON, Ga. -- The 18th hole must've been lonely at the conclusion of Friday's match-play action at the NCAA Championship.
Alabama decided the par-4 was unnecessary.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide rolled into the semifinals at the Capital City Club's Crabapple course, eliminating fifth-ranked New Mexico, 4-1, in the day's most lopsided result -- with no match going past the par-4 17th.
"I thought we looked a little freer, we looked more comfortable," said Tide head coach Jay Seawell, whose team will face Georgia Tech in the semifinals on Saturday morning. "We talked about it last night. I thought we hadn't played our best golf. We looked like we were a bit tight.
"Got up early enough to keep the pressure on against a very good team."
Junior Bobby Wyatt provided the clinching point after closing out Victor Perez on the 17th with a two-putt par, securing a 2-and-1 victory. Wyatt pointed to the early lead as a big reason why the Tide cruised into the semis.
"Looked like we got up early. The first time I got a look at a board was on the seventh, and I saw we were up in four matches, so that ...
MILTON, Ga. And there there were four.
The NCAA Championship's match-play quarterfinals kicked off this morning at the Capital City Club's Crabapple course, with some intriguing match-ups all over the course.
Pac-12 rivals Cal and Arizona State facing off, with the No. 1-ranked Bears emerging victorious and advancing to the semifinals.
Illinois took on defending champion Texas and pulled out a win to move on; the Illini and Bears will meet tomorrow.
Host Georgia Tech needed a playoff to rise above a challenge from UNLV and continue play in the suburbs of the Yellow Jackets' home city.
And Alabama disposed of New Mexico in convincing fashion as the Crimson Tide will take on the host team tomorrow.
Keep reading to see how it all unfolded Friday in Milton, Ga. – and scroll down to take a look at our coverage from stroke play:
• • •
Update No. 47: 4:39 p.m. EDT
Update on Georgia Tech vs. UNLV: In their playoff, UNLV's Kevin Penner misses the hole on his third shot, a chip; Ollie Schneiderjans makes his putt to win the match on the first extra hole. Georgia Tech advances past UNLV with a 3-2 team score.
So the ...
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 ...
MILTON, Ga. -- Besides his French accent and European looks, Joël Stalter is just another one of the guys and part of the starting five on the No. 1 California men's golf team.
It was always a dream for Stalter to play college golf in America, but let alone at the school where he knew he always wanted to attend.
Stalter found his way to Cal when he was a freshman in high school. His high school had an exchange program that let students travel to America and see how life was for two weeks. The exchange program went to Florida, Colorado and California. Stalter ended up in Oakland, Calif. – only 15 minutes from Berkeley.
“I visited Stanford and Berkeley, and I said ‘That’s where I want to go (Cal),’ so it was great,” Stalter said.
But it didn’t happen with a snap of a finger.
As member of the French National Team, he got the e-mail addresses for coaches Steve Desimone and Walter Chun from the French Federation. Stalter had e-mailed numerous coaches about playing in the U.S., but struggled to get the coaches attention as he was ranked above No. 200 in the World Amateur ...
MILTON, Ga. The stage is set. The stroke play is over. Now it is mano-y-mano.
In match play, anything can – and will – happen.
Top-ranked California ran away with the stroke-play title by six shots and will take on Arizona State, while host Georgia Tech grabbed the No. 2 seed and will face UNLV. 2012 runner-up Alabama rallied late for the third seed and will face New Mexico, while defending national champ Texas takes on Illinois.
Some intriguing matches will take place Friday: Texas freshman sensation Brandon Stone takes on 2012 NCAA medalist Thomas Pieters of Illinois, while Alabama's Justin Thomas meets New Mexico's James Erkenbeck in the final match of the day.
We've crunched all of the numbers and looked at the matchups, and here is a preview of each match, slated to start at 10 a.m. EDT with the Bears against the Sun Devils.
• • •
MATCH #1: NO. 1 CAL VS. NO. 8 ARIZONA STATE
Scheduled to start at 10 a.m. EDT
Top-ranked Cal won 11 tournaments as well as stroke play here at the NCAAs. Pac-12 rival Arizona State advanced out of the Tempe Regional despite being the ninth seed there.
Cal is led ...
MILTON, Ga. -- The matches are set and let the opinions roll.
As always, our Golfweek college experts have something to say on the NCAA Championship's match-play weekend ahead.
Here is a look at their predictions:
• • •
Ron Balicki, Golfweek senior writer
Quarterfinals: California over Arizona State; Illinois over Texas; Georgia Tech over UNLV; Alabama over New Mexico
Semifinals: California over Illinois; Alabama over Georgia Tech
Finals: California over Alabama
• • •
Lance Ringler, Golfweek senior writer
Quarterfinals: Cal over Arizona State; Illiniois over Texas; Georgia Tech over UNLV; New Mexico over Alabama
Semifinals: Cal over Illinois; New Mexico over Georgia Tech
Finals: Cal over New Mexico
• • •
Cassie Stein, Golfweek.com asst. editor
Quarterfinals: Cal over Arizona State; Georgia Tech over UNLV; Alabama over New Mexico; Illinois over Texas
Semifinals: Cal over Illinois; Georgia Tech over Alabama
Finals: Cal over Georgia Tech
• • •
Brentley Romine, Golfweek.com asst. editor
Quarterfinals: Cal over Arizona State; Texas over Illinois; UNLV over Georgia Tech; Alabama over New Mexico
Semifinals: Cal over Texas; Alabama over UNLV
Finals: Alabama over Cal
MILTON, Ga. - At some point, J.T. Higgins will look back at the 2013 NCAA Championship and point to many things that could have saved just one shot. But shortly after Texas A&M was the odd team out Thursday evening in a four-team playoff for three spots, this one hurt.
Tyler Dunlap had just made a 50-foot putt for birdie on the eighth hole, his 17th of the day. After an errant drive forced him to play safe, the sophomore made a 40-foot par putt on his final hole that appeared to keep the Aggies one shot clear of the cutline.
However, Dunlap and the two other players in his group – UCF’s Greg Eason and Arizona State’s John Rahm - were notified that they would need to proceed to the clubhouse to discuss a possible pace-of-play violation.
According to Mike Carter, chairman of the NCAA Men’s Golf Committee, the group missed two checkpoints, which subjects them to a one-stroke penalty. A rules official spent 11 holes with the group, timing shots. There were multiple bad times against two of the players.
In the end, Dunlap and Eason were assessed one-stroke penalties for slow play. Rahm was not ...
MILTON, Ga. The good news for California is it won the 54-hole stroke-play qualifying portion Thursday and landed the No. 1 seed going into the eight-team match-play bracket that will determine this year’s NCAA champion.
The bad news for the Bears is they won the stroke-play qualifying, and no team in past four years has been medalist then gone on to win the national title.
Cal just might become the first to accomplish the feat. And why not? In what already is an historic season, it only seems appropriate the Bears finish it off in historic fashion.
With a final round 5-under-par 275, the Bears, No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings since mid-September, finished at 16-under 824. Cal was six shots clear of Georgia Tech, the host team, which closed with a 2-over 282.
Alabama, ranked No. 2 by Golfweek, Texas, No. 3 and the defending NCAA champions, tied for third at 7-under 833. Illinois, No. 22, secured the fifth spot at 5-under 835.
Then things got really interesting – and intense – as a host of teams battled all day long for one of those final three positions in the Elite 8. Some 10 teams were in the chase ...
MILTON, Ga. -- What a finish at the NCAA Championship.
After seemingly in the clubhouse with a spot in the Elite 8, Texas A&M was penalized for slow play in its final group and dropped into a four-way tie for sixth.
In the subsequent 4-for-3 playoff, the Aggies were the odd team out.
Cal, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, UNLV and Arizona all advanced.
See how it all unfolded:
• • •
Update #36: 9:34 p.m. EDT
In case you were wondering, Cal will play Arizona State; Texas faces Illinois; Georgia Tech will battle UNLV; and Alabama will face New Mexico.
• • •
Update #35: 8:21 p.m. EDT
Texas A&M is the odd team out after finishing the playoff at 1 over, while the other three teams were even. New Mexico will be the No. 6 seed, UNLV will be No. 7 and Arizona State is the No. 8.
• • •
Update #34: 8:14 p.m. EDT
An update from one of the five holes from our Lance Ringler: On 18... New Mexico = par, UNLV = par, Texas A&M = par and Arizona State = bogey
• • •
Update #33: 7:57 p.m. EDT
We are headed to a 4-for-3 playoff between ...
MILTON, Ga. - Déjà vu, anyone?
California’s Max Homa and coach Steve Desimone stood in 18th fairway on Thursday laughing.
In September, Homa and Desimone stood in almost the exact same spot for the Ping/Golfweek Preview with almost the same yardage needing a birdie to share the title with host Georgia Tech.
“He said, ‘Coach I like that (yardage),’ " Desimone said. "He stuck it to 7 or 8 feet, and made birdie."
Only this time was a little bit different.
Homa was up by three shots and trying to win the school's first NCAA individual golf title. With a final-round, bogey-free 4-under 66, he secured the title at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple course.
“I’m as excited as I can be. This is the biggest accomplishment of my life,” said Homa, a senior from Valencia, Calif. “Obviously the team (win) would be much better, but right now it feels really, really good.”
Trailing Arizona State’s Jon Rahm heading into the final round by a shot, Homa got off to the start he wanted. He birdied three of his first five holes, with putts of less than 12 feet.
On No. 8, he had a 40-foot ...
WAYNE, Neb. — Wayne State College is dropping its men’s and women’s golf programs to save money.
Athletic director Mike Powicki said Wednesday that Wayne State, which is an NCAA Division II school in northeast Nebraska, does not have the budget to appropriately fund the programs. The decision affects five men and five women.
Golfers who are on scholarship will continue to receive aid through the 2013-14 academic year.
The number of varsity sports Wayne sponsors will drop from 15 to 13. Golf will be offered as a club sport for men and women.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney will be the only Division II school in the state sponsoring men’s and women’s varsity golf. Chadron State has a women’s golf team.
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