Texas, Alabama to meet for title
Longhorns beat Oregon, Tide beats Cal by identical scores
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Alabama and Texas won their semifinals matches of the DI Men's Golf Championship on Saturday at Riviera and will meet Sunday with the title on the line.
|DI MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP|
|Match Play: Quarters | Semis|
|Recaps: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4|
|Friday's Full Replay | Highlights|
|Reger: Tide's last pick having success|
|Reger: Ziegler recovers from eye injury|
|Reger: Cal's Hagy takes care of business|
|Reger: Canadians get more exposure|
|Reger: Spieth finding Championship rough|
|Reger: Guillaume uses unusual path to Campbell|
|Reger: Hoffenberg returns from hiatus|
|Reger: Texas' Frittelli gives back|
|Reger: Mitchell leading the charge for UGA|
|Reger: Pirates keeping focus amidst tragedy|
Alabama's match against California went down to the final group and the 18th hole. Hunter Hamrick was 1-up going into the final hole and made a par to defeat Joel Stalter.
"We've played with them the first two days and played with them during the season and knew they were a good golf team," Alabama coach Jay Seawell said. "They don't have any holes and have five good players. I knew we would have a battle from the first tee to the 18th green and that's exactly what we had."
“We knew every match could go to the 18th and I think every match went to 17. Everybody battled. It came down to our captain just hanging on.”
Hamrick, from Montgomery, Ala., opened up a 4-up lead after seven holes but saw California’s Joel Stalter mount a charge over the final 11 holes. Stalter won the eighth with par, the 12th with birdie and 13th with par to get within one hole.
“I got off to a really good start,” Hamrick said. “I birdied three in a row in the middle of the front nine and built a nice lead. I knew … he was going to be a fighter. When I got up, I was trying to bury him because I knew he would push me until the end, and he did. I didn’t mess up too much and he just kept coming at me.”
The key hole of the match played out on the par 3, 189-yard 14th hole. Stalter hit it stiff and forced Hamrick to connect on his putt to keep from squaring the match with four holes to play.
“He [Stalter] birdied 12, which I don’t think anyone is birding 12 today,” Hamrick said. “I hit a couple of bad shots on 13 and lost that hole. We got to 14 and I had to make about a 10-footer to tie the hole, and I made it. Right there, to keep my lead at 1 up, that was a big putt for me.”
Justin Thomas fell 2 & 1 to Cal’s Max Homa while Bobby Wyatt also lost to the Bears’ Michael Kim 2 & 1.
California had numerous chances to even the match, but missed on several opportunities.
"We had at least four putts to get us to even and they just didn't fall," said Cal Coach Steve Desimone. "That's the way this game is sometimes."
In a back-and-forth matchup, Texas took a 2-0 lead thanks to a 3 & 1 win from sophomore Toni Hakula against Oregon’s Robbie Ziegler and Cody Gribble’s 2 & 1 victory against the Ducks’ Jonathan Woo. Hakula trailed early but claimed the lead for good on the seventh hole. Gribble was tied with Woo through 15 holes but back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 clinched the win.
Oregon’s Daniel Miernicki was either tied with or trailed Texas’ Dylan Frittelli through 16 holes before sinking a 30-footer for eagle on 17, taking the wind out of Fritelli’s birdie. Miernicki clinched the 2-up win with a 3-foot birdie putt on 18.
By the time Miernicki’s final putt hit the bottom of the cup, Vegas had reclaimed the lead with a birdie putt on 17 to go 1 Up over Oregon’s Andrew Vijarro. He then sent his second shot on 18 to within eight feet of the pin. Vijarro, from about 25 feet, next missed a long birdie attempt from the fringe while Vegas punched in his birdie putt for the clinching 2-up win.
Behind them on 18, Oregon’s Eugene Wong was clinging to a one-hole lead over Texas freshman Jordan Spieth, but the drama was stopped once Vegas clinched the match point.