by Adam Schupak, Golfweek
BRADENTON, Fla. — The semifinal matches are set at The Concession Golf Club, site of the 2015 NCAA Division 1 Men's National Championship. After a 72-hole medal play tournament brought the original 30-team field down to eight, with SMU's Bryson DeChambeau winning the individual title Monday afternoon, match play began Tuesday morning at a rainy, difficult golf course.
The matchup between No. 1 seed Illinois and No. 8 seed UCLA came down to the final hole. Four matches were complete, with Illinois and UCLA each owning two victories, leaving the matchup between Illinois' Nick Hardy and UCLA's Preston Valder the deciding dual. After Hardy, the Big 10 freshman of the year, won the 17th hole, he headed to 18 with a one-up lead and a chance to send the Fighting Illini to the semifinals.
After Valder, of Yorba Linda, Calif., missed his 40-foot birdie chance on 18, Hardy blew his 30-foot putt eight feet by the hole. He drained the comebacker to send his team to the semis to face USC.
USC, already having two victories in the books courtesy of sophomore Rico Hoey and junior Bobby Gojuangco, had two of the remaining three matches with Texas all-square with less than two holes to play. However, Trojan freshman Sean Crocker trailed Longhorn sophomore Gavin Hall by two with two to play. Crocker proceeded to win the next three holes, including the first extra hole after sending the match to sudden death with a win on the 9th green.
On the other side of the bracket, LSU defeated Vanderbilt 3-1-1 to advance to the semifinals, where they'll face their second consecutive SEC rival — Georgia.
The Bulldogs defeated South Florida 4-1 to move on, with the only blemish to Georgia's scorecard being a one-down loss from Greyson Sigg to Rigel Fernandes. The largest victory of the day was superstar junior Lee McCoy handing Ryan Fricker, the American Athletic Conference individual champion, a 5-and-3 loss.
LSU's only loss of the morning came at the hands of Hunter Stewart, who beat Stewart Jolly 3-and-2. Stewart placed stellar golf in the 72-hole medal championship, tying for third place at six-under par 282.
Sophomore Brandon Pierce, junior Zach Wright, and senior Ben Taylor were victorious for the Tigers, with Wright's 4-and-2 triumph over Carson Jacobs being the largest margin.