Duke and Stanford's marathon match, host Arkansas' exit highlight wild NCAA quarterfinals

Tim Cowie/Duke Athletics

Duke and Stanford's marathon match, host Arkansas' exit highlight wild NCAA quarterfinals

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Duke and Stanford's marathon match, host Arkansas' exit highlight wild NCAA quarterfinals

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Inclement weather delayed the quarterfinal matches of the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships by a little more than six hours on Tuesday.

It turns out that delay was just building suspense for an incredible evening of golf.

Just like she did to clinch the national championship for Arizona last year, Haley Moore hit a clutch putt for her No. 6 Wildcats to secure their spot in the semifinals and knock off No. 3 USC in the quarterfinals, 3-2.

“She loves these young ladies that are her teammates,” said Arizona head coach Laura Ianello. “She just has a big heart, she’s clutch under pressure … she’s a stud.”

While Moore was great, she wasn’t the only clutch player to show out in the quarters.

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The second match of the day between No. 2 Duke and No. 7 Stanford featured three pairings decided on the 18th hole while the other two went to playoffs. Gina Kim put the first point on the board for the Blue Devils, making a putt on the 18th to win her match against Albane Valenzuela (1UP).

Then it came down to a tape measurement to see who was away with another point on the line between Duke’s Ana Belac and Stanford’s Mika Liu. The Cardinal junior missed her putt, opening the door for Ana Belac to give the Blue Devils a two-point lead. Stanford then stormed back to win the next two points thanks to incredible performances from Aline Krauter (2&1) and Andrea Lee (19 holes).

Stanford’s Ziyi Wang had a handful of putts to end a marathon match with Duke’s Virginia Elena Carta that lasted 24 holes, but the Blue Devil senior weathered the storm to advance her team to the semifinals. Carta and Wang’s bout tied the NCAA record for longest match with Baylor’s Lauren Whyte defeat of Duke’s Lisa Maguire in the 2015 semifinals.

Arkansas’ Maria Fassi admitted she was tired in the morning and had a hard time going to bed last night after winning the individual national title, but the senior was able to bounce back and earn the Razorbacks their first point with a 2&1 victory over Wake Forest’s Vanessa Knecht after trailing early. Brooke Matthews followed suit, earning a 1UP victory over Letizia Bagnoli, who aced the par 3 8th hole.

Before that, Emilia Migliaccio made quick work of Ximena Gonzalez, winning 6&4 to give the Demon Deacons their first point. An enthusiastic performance from Siyun “Swing” Liu, capped off by Jennifer Kupcho, moved Wake Forest past the host Razorbacks, 3-2.

The most surprising match was the final one, during which No. 1 Texas was upset by No. 8 Auburn after the Longhorns were in control for most of the day.

Freshman Hailee Cooper (1UP) and sophomore Kaitlyn Papp (2UP) picked up early two early points for Texas, but the Tigers dug deep and earned consecutive points from Brooke Sansom (20 holes), Julie McCarthy (3&1) and Mychael O’Berry (1UP) to clinch the upset.

The Longhorn loss solidified another year of an interesting streak in college golf: The women’s No. 1 seed has never won the NCAA Championship since the move to match play in 2015.

Tuesday’s scores

Arizona 3&2 over USC

Duke 3&2 over Stanford

Wake Forest 3&2 over Arkansas

Auburn 3&2 over Texas

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