EUGENE, Ore. – It came down to the third play-off hole in the last match, but Oregon prevailed 3-2 over top-seeded Texas to claim the school’s first ever Division I men’s golf national championship at Eugene Country Club, a par 70, 7,014-yard course.
It’s the first time since Ohio State in 1945 that the same school won both the team and individual titles on its home course as Oregon sophomore Aaron Wise medaled earlier in the week.
“Well, it’s just overwhelming,” Oregon head coach Casey Martin said. "There's so many people to thank, and it's just such a great feeling that these kids get to have this experience for the rest of their lives, and I'm so grateful I got to be a part of it again.”
The sixth-seeded Ducks pulled off their third straight upset during the match play competition, taking down the top three seeds en route to the championship. Oregon was on the board before the match even began as Zach Foushee won by concession. Texas' Beau Hossler did not play due to a shoulder injury sustained during yesterday’s semifinal round.
“Yeah, I was fully prepared to play,” Foushee said. “I thought Beau -- I knew he was hurt but I thought he would try to play. I didn't know the extent of the injury, so I was prepared to play. I warmed up, did my routine and found out, so I was obviously bummed. It would have been fun to play, but a point for the Ducks got us here, so I'm happy it ended the way it did."
With a point already in their favor, the Ducks tacked on another one as freshman Edwin Yi won 4&3 over Gavin Hall. Sitting in a 2-0 deficit, Texas rallied by picking up a commanding 4&3 victory from Scottie Scheffler over Wise.
The Longhorns then tied the match up at 2-all when Doug Ghim won 2&1 over Thomas Lim. Lim had been 1-up after winning the 10th hole and then halving 11. However, Ghim went on a tear after that, picking wins on four straight holes to go three up with three holes left to play.
Lim came back to birdie 16 and force the match to go on. After halving 17, Ghim claimed the win and forced the match to be decided between Oregon’s Sulmon Raza and Taylor Funk of Texas.
“I realized Scottie won and Doug was basically closing out,” Funk said. “I knew at that point it was going to come down to our match for the national championship.”
The two had been battling the entire match with no player more than one up on the other. Raza had a shot to bring the match back to all square on 16 after Funk’s tee shot hit the water, but had to settle for par to halve and move on to the last two holes down one.
Then on 17, Raza nailed the three foot par putt to win the hole and bring the match back to all square. On 18, Funk recovered from two bad shots to hit his third shot putt to four feet within the pin and then sink the par putt to halve the hole.
The two continued to battle through the first two play-off holes. After coming back around to the third play-off hole – the 10th hole – Funk chunked his approach shot and was left with a difficult 20 foot putt up the hill. Meanwhile, Raza nailed his 80 yard approach shot to about four feet from the pin.
Funk’s birdie putt came up about two feet short and Raza, a Eugene native, was able to nail the birdie putt to win the hole and give Oregon the win.
“I think throughout the whole week it was in my mind, Raza said. “Just knowing that I had so many friends and family watching me, and especially on these -- coming down the stretch, having so many people show up and cheering my name on and clapping and just going nuts. It's a dream come true, something that you dream about as a kid always, and to do it here at Eugene is very special.”