By Rick Nixon of the NCAA
STILLWATER, OK (May 29, 2018) – The field at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships has been narrowed to four, as a thrilling quarterfinal round of match play saw Alabama, Auburn, Duke and Oklahoma State advance to the semifinals.
The Crimson Tide were the first team to secure their spot in the semifinals, using a scorching start in match Nos. 2 and 3 to take an early lead on Texas Tech before securing advancement with a 2&1 win in the last match on.
Wilson Furr and Davis Riley provided the early spark for Alabama, as they won their matches 7&6 and 5&4, respectively. Davis Shore provided the final point in the Crimson Tide’s 3-2 win with a solid 2&1 victory over Texas Tech’s Sandy Scott.
"It feels great. I saw that some of my teammates were winning, so that gave me some confidence at the turn,” Shore said after his clinching win. “I was pretty nervous down the stretch, but Sandy (Scott) was playing some good golf there at the end. He was making a lot of putts and keeping the pressure on me."
Second-seeded Duke secured their spot in the semifinals with a dramatic 3-2 victory of its own, defeating No. 7 Texas with some late heroics from Jake Shuman in the last match on. Shuman, a senior, was in control of his matchup against Doug Ghim, and through six holes was four-up on the Longhorn senior.
Ghim didn’t go away easily and battled back to square the match with a birdie on No. 16. Shuman was resilient in his own right, however, as he made a crucial bogey putt on 17 to halve the hole and then proceeded to eagle the par-five 18th to clinch the victory for Duke.
“This is a long week. We have emotional highs right now,” Duke coach Jamie Green said. “You’ve got to do the best you can to get as much energy as possible. That’s what we’ll be telling our guys—don’t get rattled mentally, because that’s probably you just being tired.”
Auburn followed Duke’s victory with one of its own just minutes later. Freshman Brandon Mancheno, who fell short of winning the individual championship in a playoff yesterday, polished off a 2&1 victory over Oklahoma’s Grant Hirschman. The Tigers also picked up a one-up victory from Trace Crowe and a 5&4 win from Ben Schlottman in the second and third matches on, respectively, to clinch their spot in the semifinals.
Auburn’s semifinal berth guarantees the Tigers their highest NCAA finish in school history, besting the 1994 Auburn squad that finished tied for seventh.
Tournament hosts and top-seeded Oklahoma State clinched the final spot in the semifinals with some late dramatics of its own. Freshman Matthew Wolff got the Cowboys off to a flying start with a 4&3 victory over Dan Erickson.
The Cowboys were in control throughout and at one point led in four of the five matches and were all-square in the fifth, but Texas A&M clawed its way back into the match to put the Pokes on edge. With the remaining four matches winding down, the Aggies took the lead in two matches and squared the remaining two.
OSU sophomore Viktor Hovland flipped momentum back in the Cowboys’ favor though, as he polished off a 19-hole victory over A&M’s Chandler Phillips and then freshman Austin Eckroat delivered the final point with a two-putt birdie on 18 that helped him best Brandon Smith.
In the semifinals this afternoon, Duke will matchup against Alabama at 1:30 p.m. CT, followed by Oklahoma State versus Auburn at 2:20 p.m. CT. Both matches will start on the No. 1 tee. Golf Channel has coverage from 3 to 7 p.m. CT.
Winners will advance to the national championship match to be played Wednesday, May 30 at 2:25 p.m. CT at Karsten Creek.
Quarterfinal Match Results:
Match #1 – No. 2 Duke def. No. 7 Texas, 3-2-0
Spencer Soosman, Texas def. Chandler Eaton, Duke, 5&4
Alex Smalley, Duke def. Scottie Scheffler, Texas, 5&4
Steven Chervony, Texas def. Evan Katz, Duke, 3&2
Adrien Pendaries, Duke def. Drew Jones, Texas 4&3
Jake Shuman, Duke def. Doug Ghim, Texas, 1 Up
Match #2 – No. 6 Alabama def. No. 3 Texas Tech 3-2-0
Adam Bloome, Texas Tech def. Lee Hodges, Alabama, 1 Up
Davis Riley, Alabama def. Ivan Ramirez, Texas Tech, 5&4
Wilson Furr, Alabama def. Kyle Hogan, Texas Tech, 7&6
Davis Shore, Alabama def. Sandy Scott, Texas Tech 2&1
Hurly Long, Texas Tech def. Jonathan Hardee, Alabama, 5&3
Match #3 – No. 1 Oklahoma State def. No. 8 Texas A&M, 3-1-1
Viktor Hovland, Oklahoma State def. Chandler Phillips, Texas A&M, 19 holes
Matthew Wolff, Oklahoma State def. Dan Erickson, Texas A&M 4&3
Kristoffer Ventura, Oklahoma State vs. Walker Lee, Texas A&M, A/S
Austin Eckroat, Oklahoma State def. Brandon Smith, Texas A&M, 1 Up
Andrew Paysse, Texas A&M def Zach Bauchou, Oklahoma State, 1&1
Match #4 – No. 5 Auburn def. No. 4 Oklahoma, 3-2-0
Blaine Hale, Oklahoma def. Jovan Rebula, Auburn, 4&3
Trace Crowe, Auburn def. Quade Cummins, Oklahoma, 1 Up
Ben Schlottman, Auburn def. Garett Reband, Oklahoma, 5&4
Brandon Mancheno, Auburn def. Grant Hirschman, Oklahoma, 3&1
Brad Dalke, Oklahoma def. Wells Padgett, Alabama, 4&3