OSU Cowgirl Golf photo via Twitter
Recent history has shown the road to the national championship has gone through the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. and the top-ranked Oklahoma men's team and the No. 2 ranked Oklahoma State Cowgirls certainly hope the trend continues come springtime.
Both teams won the prestigious East Lake Cup on Wednesday afternoon on the course where the legendary Bobby Jones honed his craft, as the Sooners defeated arch-rival Oklahoma State, 3-2-0 while the Oklahoma State's women's team turned back Duke by the same score in the championship matches.
While the final scores might suggest tightly-contested matches, the margins of victory for players on the winning side were fairly decisive, as only one match reached the 18th hole.
Oklahoma jumped out fast in its match against Oklahoma State, as Logan McAllister
took down junior Brian Stark
, 5 and 3, and Jaxon Dowell
rallied to defeat Eugenio Chacarra
in 19 holes. Dowell was two down through 15 holes but won holes 16 and 17 with birdies to tie the match. After the players halved the final hole with pars, Dowell closed out the 1 up victory on the first extra hole.
Oklahoma's Chris Gotterup
, who earned co-medalist honors with Arizona State's Preston Summerhays
, defeated Hazen Newman
, 4 and 3, to provide the match's deciding point.
Pepperdine, which won last year's East Lake Cup on its way to capturing the national championship, defeated second-ranked Arizona State, 3-2-0 in the third-place match, with Joey Vrzich, Derek Hitchner and Joe Highsmith coming through with points after the Sun Devils had won the first two matches.
Oklahoma State concludes impressive fall season
The Oklahoma State Cowgirls desperately want what the more celebrated men's program has achieved with regularity over the years - a national championship.
With their win over Duke in the championship match of the East Lake Cup, the Cowgirls fourth consecutive victory of the fall, the nationals can't start soon enough for Greg Robertson's team.
Riding decisive victories by Isabella Fierro
(7 and 6) and Maddison Hinson-Tolchard
(3 and 1) along with Hailey Jones'
2 and 1 win, the Cowgirls were certainly on top of their games all week, which began with sophomore Rina Tatematsu
winning the individual title.
The East Lake Cup championship is Oklahoma State's fourth title of the fall, following wins at the Samuel P. Golden Invitational, the Schooner Classic and the Jim West Challenge. Caley McGinty
(2) and Tatematsu have combined to win three individual titles so far this season.
"I think they came off a great summer," Robertson said. "All of them came back and worked hard. We have a competitive team. We've had a lot of competition this fall. They came out firing and we just kind of got out of their way and let them do it."
Only time will tell if Oklahoma State can parlay its East Lake Cup win into a national championship like Ole Miss last season but there's no doubt the Cowgirls are trending well.
Arizona defeated Ole Miss, 3-2-0 in the third-place match.
Semifinals of Match Play
Four teams that have combined to win 20 national championships will go head-to-head Wednesday afternoon on Bobby Jones' course in Atlanta to decide this year's East Lake Cup champions.
It will be Bedlam on the men's side, as Big 12 Conference rivals Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will square off to decide the men's championship, while the women's title will be decided between second-ranked Oklahoma State and seven-time national champion Duke.
Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State had relatively easy semifinal matches, with the Sooners scoring a 3-1-1 win over defending NCAA champion Pepperdine, while the Cowboys advanced to the finals by defeating second-ranked Arizona State by the same score.
After losing both the East Lake Cup and the NCAA Championship in head-to-head contests with the Waves last season, the Sooners got some redemption on Tuesday by sending the Waves packing with a 3-1-1 victory.
Freshmen Stephen Campbell Jr., Jaxon Dowell and Drew Goodman earned decisive victories for the Sooners against an experienced and talented Pepperdine side, which could only muster one point from Dylan Menante and a tie from Joe Highsmith. Campbell defeated William Mouw, 3 and 1 while Dowell delivered a 4 and 2 victory over Joey Vrzich and Goodman disposed to Derek Hitchner, 4 and 3.
Menante earned a 1 up win over co-medalist Chris Gotterup for Pepperdine's lone point, while Logan McAllister rallied from three down with six to play to tie Highsmith.
Wins by Eugenio Chacarra, Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen and Brian Stark fueled Oklahoma State's 3-1-1 win over Arizona State, setting up a blockbuster final between the two rivals who went head-to-head a few weeks ago in the third-place contest at the Big 12 Match Play.
"It's going to be a tough matchup," Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl said. "It doesn't matter, honestly, on the day who's paired up because good golf is going to win out."
Oklahoma State and Duke to decide women's championship
In a rematch of last year's NCAA semifinals at Grayhawk Golf Club, Oklahoma State will face Duke to decide the women's champion of the East Lake Cup.
The top-seeded Cowgirls had their hands full with a gamed Arizona squad on Tuesday before emerging with a 3-2 victory over the Wildcats, who were playing without two of their top players in Vivian and Yu-Sang Hou.
With East Lake Cup medalist Rina Tatematsu and Caley McGinty falling in their matches, the Cowgirls had their backs against the wall. But wins by Hailey Jones, Isabella Fierro and Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, who provided the clinching point with a 5-and-4 victory over Carolina Melgrati, punched their ticket to the final against the Blue Devils.
"It wasn't easy, but those are the type of matches you have to expect in tournaments like this with such strong teams in the field," Oklahoma head coach Greg Robertson said. "We're looking forward to another good one tomorrow."
Duke coasted to a 4-1-0 win over defending national champion Ole Miss, setting the stage for tomorrow's title match. The two teams last went head-to-head in the semifinals of last year's NCAA Championships at Grayhawk, where Duke prevailed, 5-0.
GOLF Channel will televise both championship matches on Wednesday beginning at 12 noon Pacific.
Oklahoma State Athletic Communications contributed to this report.
First Day Recap; Oct. 25
Eighteen holes of stroke play Monday at the East Lake Cup produced individual winners and more importantly, set the stage for Tuesday's semifinal team matches.
Defending national champion Pepperdine earned the top-seed on the men's side and will face a familiar foe in fourth-seed and No. 1 ranked Oklahoma in one semifinal, while second-ranked at No. 2 seed Arizona State will square-off against third-seed and fourth-ranked Oklahoma State for a date in Wednesday's championship match.
The second-ranked Oklahoma State Cowgirls, behind medalist Rina Tatematsu
, earned the top-seed on the women's side and will face fourth-seed Arizona, while defending NCAA champion Ole Miss will meet 19th-ranked Duke in the other semifinal.
Summerhays and Gotterup battle to the end
of Arizona State and Chris Gotterup
of Oklahoma shared medalist honors on the men's side after both players carded rounds of 4-under 68 Monday at East Lake. Pepperdine's Joe Highsmith
, coming off a win at the Golf Club of Georgia Intercollegiate, finished one back after shooting a 69.
There's more than one way to shoot a 68, as Summerhays and Gotterup demonstrated on Monday.
Summerhays' first round got off to an inauspicious start, as the Sun Devil freshman opened with bogeys on his first two holes. He picked up a birdie on the seventh to turn in 37. After parring the 10th hole, the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur champion birdied his next four holes to move to 3-under on the day. He parred the 15th and picked up his fifth birdie on the backside on the 16th, a 459-yard par 4.
After a world-class par save on the 17th, Summerhays gave himself an excellent birdie chance on the par-5 finishing hole when his third shot from a greenside bunker came to rest five feet to the left of the hole. However, when his putt missed on the low side, Gotterup, watching from the middle of the 18th fairway, had new life.
After a drive split the middle of the fairway, Gotterup's second shot came up just short of the green. But the transfer from Rutgers gave himself a chance at birdie when his chip came to rest eight feet past the flag. Facing a lightening fast downhiller, Gotterup earned a share of the individual title when his birdie putt found its mark.
"It's no surprise that Chris fought it out at the top," said Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl. "For him to make a putt on the final hole isn't surprising because he does that all the time at home. He's showing everyone around the country how good he really is and he will only continue to get better."
Highsmith almost won the tournament outright when his blast from the front greenside bunker for an eagle came to rest within tap-in range.
Tatematsu strolls to four-shot win
There wasn't as much drama in deciding the women's individual winner and that was just fine with Oklahoma State sophomore Rina Tatematsu
, who took medalist honors with a 5-under score of 67 to earn a four-stroke win over teammate Maddisson-Hinson Tolchard
and Andrea Lignell
of Ole Miss.
Tatematsu, a native of Thailand, opened her round with a birdie on the par-5 first hole and added three more to turn in 32. She erased a double bogey on the 10th with a birdie on the 16th and a closing eagle on 18 for a 67 and a four-shot victory.
"It is such an honor to just be able to come here and play at the East Lake Cup with my teammates," Tatematsu said. "I just went and had fun. I know there is so much history in this community and golf course. I'm just thankful for the opportunity to come here."
Semifinals are set
Either of the men's semifinals can easily be a preview of things to come when the stakes are much higher in Scottsdale come June. Such was the case last year when Pepperdine defeated Oklahoma to win the East Lake Cup and downed the Sooners for a second time at Grayhawk to claim the national championship.
The two rivals will lock horns again on Tuesday at East Lake, this time in a semifinal matchup. The Waves took the top-seed with a 5-under score of 283 while the top-ranked Sooners shot 4-over 292. Pepperdine is coming off a win at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, where the Waves shot 42-under to win the team title. The Sooners lone tournament title this fall came at the Maridoe Intercollegiate.
While Pepperdine will send out its familiar five of Highsmith, Dylan Menante, Joey Vrzich, Derek Hitcher and William Mouw, the Sooners lineup will be drastically different from the one that fell just short of a national title last season at Grayhawk, with Logan McAllister being the only holdover.
The second-ranked Sun Devils, which shot a 1-under round of 287, will send out Summerhays, Cameron Sisk, David Puig, Ryggs Johnston, Mason Andersen in its match against Oklahoma State, who will counter with Eugenio Chacarra, Rayhan Thomas, Brian Stark, Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen and Hazen Newman.
Oklahoma State claimed the top seed on the women's side by four strokes after carding a 1-under 287. The Cowgirls will face Arizona (298) while defending Ole Miss will meet Duke in a battle of the last two NCAA women's team champions.
GOLF Channel will have live coverage of the semifinal matches beginning at 12 noon Pacific.
View results for East Lake Cup