STILLWATER, Okla. — Top-ranked Oklahoma State claimed the 2018 NCAA Division I men’s golf national championship with a 5-0 victory over Alabama in front of 3,042 fans at Karsten Creek Golf Club on Wednesday.
It is the 11th time that OSU has been crowned national champions and the first time since the tournament’s match-play format began in 2009. The Cowboys are the first No. 1 seed to win the championship since match play was implemented, and the first team to sweep both stroke and match play.
“That was quite a day and I hope everybody liked that,” OSU coach Alan Bratton said. “You get into coaching and you come to play college golf to have a chance to win a national championship. I think that's why you want to coach to give kids an opportunity like that. Our kids had that today. This day was all about them and all the people that came before them. They'll never forget how they stepped up on that stage and this will be a big catalyst for all the things they will do in the future. I talked about the goals we had at the start of the week. We had four of them and we got them all.”
Matthew Wolff was the competitor that clinched the Cowboys’ 11th national title, as he defeated Alabama’s Davis Riley 4&3.
Wolff opened the day with an eagle on No. 1 and never looked back. He lost just one hole throughout the day and led by four at the turn. Wolff halved his way to victory after that and clinched the championship by draining a birdie putt on No. 15.
“It was everything I could wish for,” Wolff said of making the winning putt. “I didn’t know that it was to win the championship. I just knew it was to win my match. That's how you win championships. How you win the championship is everyone wins their match. And that's what we did today. To be the one to make the putt, that’s going to be really memorable for me. And like Coach said, we’re now a part of an elite fraternity, and not many people can say that.”
Zach Bauchou captured OSU’s first point of the day with a dominant 8&7 win over Alabama’s Jonathan Hardee.
The only thing hotter than the Stillwater summer heat was Bauchou’s blazing play Wednesday, as he jumped out to a six-up lead through eight holes. Bauchou continued to scorch Karsten Creek by posting a 7-under 29 mark on the front nine and making the turn with a seven-up lead.
Despite transitioning to the back nine, the junior continued to perform. He capped his 8&7 victory with a putt on the par-three 11th hole. His victory is tied for the largest defeat in NCAA match-play history and is the third time an 8&7 scoreline has been recorded since match play began in 2009.
“I was the last out but the first in, and that was pretty cool,” Bauchou said. “I got to see a couple of the other guys finish up. I just want to give credit to the other four guys here. They played so well all week."
Viktor Hovland followed his teammate’s efforts with a 4&3 victory over Lee Hodges to clinch OSU’s second match of the day.
The sophomore got the Cowboys off to a quick start as the first match on and was in control through, as he won the first hole of the day with a birdie on No. 1 and never let Hodges square the match after that. He capped his impressive week of play with a par on No. 15.