FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Before match play, Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said he liked the position his Cardinal men’s golf team was in “because no one’s really talking about Stanford golf, which I think our guys take personally.”
If people weren’t talking about Stanford before, they sure are now.
No. 6 seed Stanford was in control the entire way Tuesday afternoon, defeating No. 2 Vanderbilt 3-2 in the 2019 NCAA Div. I Men’s Golf Championship match play semifinals to advance to the final for the first time since the NCAA’s move to match play in 2009. The Cardinal will be playing for their ninth national title and first since 2007.
Stanford’s Isaiah Salinda put the first point on the board for the Cardinal, defeating Patrick Martin 3&2. Earlier in the day, Salinda came back from a 4-down deficit at the turn to defeat Wake Forest’s Eugenio Chacarra, 3&1. Brandon Wu added the second point for Stanford, defeating Reid Davenport 4&3 for his second match play win of the day (4&3 win vs. Wake Forest’s Eric Bae in quarterfinals).
John Augenstein put a point on the board for Vanderbilt, defeating Stanford’s Henry Shimp 2-up in the match’s second pairing to bring the score to 2-1.
Daulet Tuleubayev let a 4-up lead through 13 holes slip to just one, but on the 18th hole, the freshman canned a putt from outside 20 feet to seal the deal and send the Cardinal to the final.
The Cardinal entered the NCAA Championship on a heater after winning their last four events, including a seven-shot victory at the Pac-12 Championship and a 12-shot regional win, which they hosted at their home course, The Goodwin.
Before this year, Stanford’s match play record was less than stellar at 1-2 in two previous appearances. The last time Stanford made it to match play, they won the stroke play segment and lost in the semifinals in 2014. The only other match play appearance was in 2010, where they lost in the quarterfinals.
In the stroke play segment earlier in the week Ray praised his Stanford team as a lineup where everyone contributes, and no single player is overly flashy, even going as far to loosely compare this team to his 2007 national champions.
We’ll see just how good the Cardinal are Wednesday morning against the winner of defending champion Oklahoma State-Texas in the final match, starting at 6:45 a.m. CT.