SMU's Ben Wong (Walt Beazley, Razorbacks Athletics Communications)
This has been a season of close calls, emotions and adversity for SMU. In keeping with that theme, the Mustangs were the last team to make the match-play bracket Monday evening at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark. They had to defeat Clemson in a team playoff to get there.
“There’s a lot of emotions today, I think it’s pretty obvious if you saw it on TV,” head coach Jason Enloe said. “I thought we were going to win in regulation, but we were up and down all day. It was crazy."
SMU is a sentimental rooting favorite this season. Enloe lost his wife Katie to leukemia last summer. Enloe and his team pressed on in her absence, on a road that hasn’t been easy (Golf Channel shed some light on Enloe’s personal battle earlier this spring
As a team, the Mustangs suffered a setback this spring when Noah Goodwin had to withdraw from the Goodwin with a shoulder injury then Ben Wong signed an incorrect scorecard. SMU was disqualified, and ending up taking a loss to the entire 26-team field. That was a blow to the team's head-to-head ranking, which left a regionals berth in question.
Still, SMU has made it this far, and in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, they will meet top-seeded Oklahoma State in the second group of matches off the first tee.
“Being able to take this special group into match play against, arguably, one of the greatest golf teams ever will be an awesome day,” Enloe said.
The Cowboys cruised to the top of the stroke-play leaderboard by a 31-shot margin.
Among the eight teams on the match-play bracket, only Wake Forest is new to this scene. The Demon Deacons were third on the stroke-play board – behind Vanderbilt in second – and will take on No. 6 Stanford in the quarterfinals.
“No matter who you play, you have to play well, and I feel like all five of our guys are doing that,” Wake Forest head coach Jerry Haas said. “We’re learning the course a little bit and we need to be smart, ready to compete, and play hard.”
From the middle of the stroke-play leaderboard, No. 4 Texas will meet No. 5 Oklahoma on Tuesday morning. Oklahoma has now made it to match play for four consecutive seasons, and will have two seniors in the lineup on Tuesday: Brad Dalke and Blaine Hale. They’ll appear at opposite ends of the matches.
For his part, Texas head coach John Fields isn’t telling his Longhorns a thing. It’s a Red River rivalry match, and that will be enough to fire up his men.
“This is a whole different set-up than stroke play, but we have guys with experience in high-level match play,” Fields said. “We have two guys who’ve played in NCAA match play, so I don’t really have to tell them anything. They’ll be prepared and excited about playing because this was one of our goals.”
Here’s how the quarterfinal matches set up. You can follow live scoring on Golfstat here
No. 2 Vanderbilt vs. No. 7 Texas A&M
Patrick Martin vs. Walker Lee
John Augenstein vs. Brandon Smith
Reid Davenport vs. Sam Bennett
Harrison Ott vs. Chandler Phillips
Will Gordon vs. Dan Erickson
No. 3 Wake Forest vs. No. 6 Stanford
Alex Fitzpatrick vs. Henry Shimp
Lee Detmer vs. David Snyder
Eugenio Chacarra vs. Isaiah Salinda
Eric Bae vs. Brandon Wu
Cameron Young vs. Daulet Tuleubayev
No. 1 Oklahoma State vs. No. 8 SMU
Viktor Hovland vs. Ben Wong
Matthew Wolff vs. Noah Goodwin
Hayden Wood vs. Ollie Osborne
Austin Eckroat vs. Jackson Markham
Zach Bauchou vs. Mac Meissner
No. 4. Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Texas
Brad Dalke vs. Spencer Soosman
Patrick Welch vs. Cole Hammer
Quade Cummins vs. Pierceson Coody
Garret Reband vs. Parker Coody
Blaine Hale vs. Steven Chervony
ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Championship
30 teams and 6 individuals not on a qualifying
team make up the field for the championship of
Division I women's golf.
After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual
champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance
match play to determine the team champion.
View Complete Tournament Information