STILLWATER, Okla. – The University of Illinois played in a pair of match play tournaments during the spring semester. Georgia joined the Illini at the Callaway Collegiate match play championships and also use the format to find its qualifiers for a trip to Puerto Rico every season.

Illinois junior Luke Guthrie and Georgia senior Harris English played Match 10 of Friday’s quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club.

English won 3 and 2 to clinch the Bulldogs’ 3-2 victory. Getting there took a while.

“This course is about hitting it in the fairway,” said English, a native of Thomasville, Ga. “Pars are good out there. You don’t have to birdie to win holes. It was nice to get off to a good start and Luke [Guthrie] struggled early which let me get out in front."

Guthrie vs. English

No. 1
Guthrie, as he would do all day, found the rough off the tee. He had to chip out and eventually conceded the hole to English, who ripped his drive down the middle and put his approach to within 15 feet.
Score: English 1-up


Since the inception of Match Play in 2009 the individual champion has come from a player not on a member of the final eight. In 2009 North Carolina State’s Matt Hill was two shots clear of Clemson’s Kyle Stanley and three shots better than a trio that included current touring pro Rickie Fowler.

Last season it was Illinois’ Scott Langley, who was two shots better than San Diego’s Alex Ching and Oklahoma State’s Peter Uihlein. LSU’s John Peterson, after his course record 65 on Wednesday, was a shot clear of the field this week.

Fifteen of the top 28 individual finishers this season were not on teams which qualified for Match Play.

The Golf Coaches Association of American announced its PING First Team All-Americans on Thursday night. The group includes UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay, Alabama’s Bud Cauley, Illinois’ Luke Guthrie, Oklahoma State’s Morgan Hoffman, Kevin Tway and Peter Uihlein, LSU’s John Peterson, Augusta State’s Patrick Reed, Florida’s Bank Vongvanij, Georgia Tech’s James White and Stanford’s Andrew Yun, who did not participate in the tournament this week.

The Big Ten Conference staged a Big Ten Match Play Championship in February. Illinois went 1-2 with Ohio State going 2-1 and finishing third.

The Buckeyes beat Illinois, 3-2-1, in the tournament.

Duke was the champion at March’s Callaway Collegiate Match Play, beating Texas, East Tennessee State, Southern California and Illinois in the final match.

No. 2
Down 1, Guthrie again missed the fairway, this time only by a foot, however. English had a knee-knocker for par that put him 2-up.
Score: English 2-up

No. 3
Guthrie put a slippery putt close enough to make par on the par-3. English missed a makeable birdie attempt but remained 2-up as the twosome split the hole.
Score: English 1-up

No. 4
English makes his first mistake, driving right into the thick brush. He takes a drop and eventually makes bogey. Guthrie finds the fairway and lags a 20-foot putt for a conceded par. The Bulldog still leads 1-up.
Score: English 1-up

No. 5
English, who graduated just two weeks ago, bombs his drive down the middle and sticks his approach to within 10 feet. Guthrie leaves his iron approach short, but rolls a 50-footer to within par distance. But the par putt lips out and English goes back in front 2-up.
Score: English 2-up

No. 6
Guthrie attacks the pin, leaving it within 10 feet. English’s approach lands softly on the elevated green, 25 feet from the hole. Guthrie misses the left edge and English sinks another knee-knocker for par to split the hole.
Score: English 2-up

No. 7
A sucker pin located right behind two nasty and deep bunkers. Both go at it and are within 15 feet. Guthrie pushes his birdie putt by and misses the comebacker. English takes a 3-up advantage.
Score: English 3-up

No. 8
Neither man finds the fairway and both make bogey.
Score: English 3-up

No. 9
English goes for the pin on his second shot on the par-5 but pushes it right into some thick underbrush, underneath some trees. In other words … dead. Guthrie, after driving in the rough, hits a sold approach on his third and has a 15-footer for birdie. English hacks his third shot … probably too firm … but it hits a tree and drops straight down only 3 feet from where it started. But he has a better look at the flag. A soft pitch puts him to 4 feet. Guthrie misses and makes par. English makes his putt for a 5 and somehow halves the hole. Through nine holes English is 3-up.
Score: English 3-up

“That was a big one. Those are the types of holes you have to have to win matches sometimes,” said English. “I was indecisive on my second shot and paid for it. Luckily I hit that tree and was able to putt it up there close and make par.”

No. 10
Guthrie is right off the tee, and after a chip out, puts it to within 12 feet. English, in the middle of the fairway, goes long and rolls his chip about 6 feet by. Guthrie makes. English misses and it’s back to 2-up in Georgia’s favor.
Score: English 2-up

No. 11
Guthrie’s drive on the par-3 goes right and into the rough. English is short, left and near a creek. Both are not in very good shape. But English calmly pitches up to tap-in range. Guthrie chunks it out of the deep stuff to within 4 feet but misses.
Score: English 3-up

No. 12
The duo plays carbon copy. Within 5 feet of each other off the tee. Side-by-side on birdie putts. Both miss but make easy pars. The lead is still three with only six holes remaining.
Score: English 3-up

No. 13
English pushes his drive a bit right. Both leave uphill approaches short. Guthrie makes an 8-footer. English misses from 4 feet. Still hope for the Illini.
Score: English 2-up

No. 14
It’s the right rough for English. Guthrie splits the fairway and thinks about a big second shot on the par-5. The Illini grabs an iron, pulls it into the left trees, but gets a fortunate bounce and is actually hole high in two. English is short and right after his chip out. He chips to within six feet. Guthrie’s chip gives him a shot at birdie but he misses. English drains a knee-knocker to halve the hole.
Score: English 2-up

No. 15
Guthrie yanks his drive on the par-3 into the trees. English is safely on and lags a putt to conceding distance.
Score: English 3-up. Match is dormie.

No. 16
English hits a laser beam down the middle. Guthrie pulls it into the left rough, a fitting end. However, the Illini still has some fight as the wind roars. He muscles out an iron to the left edge of the green but miles from the hole. English doesn’t throw a dart but his approach is good enough to halve the hole.
Final Score: English wins 3 and 2

A tough day for Guthrie, who shot 69 in the second round, but hit barely four fairways on Friday.

“I hit three or four fairways, and that is being generous,” said Guthrie. “I fought and played hard but you can’t play out here without hitting fairways. I just couldn’t get anything going.

“I had a chance to make a couple of putts but couldn’t get anything to fall. I was hitting it well [during the 69] but I started going crooked today and lost my rhythm in this wind the last couple of days. I don’t usually hit a 9-iron 30 yards off line.

“But this course can do it to you.”

Illinois lost in the finals to Duke at the Calloway Collegiate Match Play earlier this year.

“I think that is why it is so disappointing because we really thought we could win it if we made it this far,” added Guthrie. “Everybody fought their butts off and Georgia was just better today.”

The NCAA champions in 2005 will face Duke in Saturday’s semifinals. The Blue Devils knocked off UCLA, 3-1-1, in Friday’s quarterfinals.

“It’s going to be tough, they are obviously playing well,” said English. “It’s just another head-to-head round of golf. We have to be ready to grind it out again, just like today.”