Photo courtesy of GOLF Channel
It seemed Stanford and Oregon were on a collision course for much of the season so it's only fitting the top two teams in the nation will go head-to-head to decide the national championship on Wednesday at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
While the Ducks posted comfortable wins over San Jose State and Texas A&M to reach Wednesday's title match, the top-ranked Cardinal was tested by Georgia in the quarterfinals and then survived a tightly contested semifinal match against Auburn to advance to the final.
After sailing through regionals and finishing 1-2 in the stroke-play portion of nationals, the paths of these two Pac-12 rivals will finally cross on Wednesday with the NCAA Championship on the line.
Stanford, with back-to-back NCAA individual champions and ANNIKA Award winners Rachel Heck and Rose Zhang, will be looking for its second national championship while Oregon, which had gone winless in the previous five seasons, will be making its first-ever appearance in the national title match.
"Our team has always been ready for this. We’re so ready for finals," Oregon's Cynthia Lu told the GOLF Channel.
Stanford and Oregon have competed in five mutual stroke-play tournaments this season, with Cardinal finishing ahead of the Ducks on four occasions. The exception was at the Pac-12 Championships, which Oregon won by seven strokes on its home course of Eugene Country Club.
GOLF Channel will have live coverage of Wednesday's championship match beginning at 2:00 p.m. PT.
1:35 -- Brooke Seay vs Ching-Tzu Chen
1:45 -- Aline Krauter vs Hsin-Yu Lu
1:55 -- Sadie Englemann vs Briana Chacon
2:05 -- Rachel Heck vs Tze-Han Lin
2:15 -- Rose Zhang vs Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen
• • • • •
No. 2 Oregon d. No. 7 San Jose State, 4-1-0
The Ducks had an easy time with the Spartans, as only one match reached the 18th hole. In one of the most exciting duels of the day, Heather Lin defeated Kajsa Arwefjall in a match in which neither player made a bogey and combined to go 13-under -- without playing the par-5 18th hole. Lu's birdie on the par-4 17th hole gave her a 2&1 victory over Louisa Carlbom which closed out the match.
Ching-Tzu Chen (Oregon) d. Antonia Malate, 5&4
Brianna Chacon (Oregon) d. Lucia Lopez-Ortega, 4&3
Tze-Han (Heather) Lin (Oregon) d. Kajsa Arwefjall, 1UP
Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu (Oregon) d. Louisa Carlbom, 2&1
Natasha Andrea Oon (San Jose State) d. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen, 2&1
• • • • •
No. 1 Stanford d. No. 8 Georgia, 3-2
Despite NCAA individual champion Rose Zhang falling to Candice Mahe, 3&2, the top-ranked Cardinal still had plenty of depth to survive a scare from upstart Georgia as Aline Krauter delivered the winning point with a 2&1 win over LoraLie Cowart.
Rachel Heck (Stanford) d. Jenny Bae, 2UP
Caterina Don (Georgia) d. Sadie Englemann, 3&1
Candice Mahe (Georgia) d. Rose Zhang, 1UP
Aline Krauter (Stanford) d. LoraLie Cowart, 2&1
Brooke Seay (Stanford) d. Jo Hua Hun, 3&2
• • • • •
No. 3 Texas A&M d. No. 6 Florida State, 3-2
Texas A&M continued its historic run with a 3-2 victory over 6th-seeded Florida State to advance to the semifinals. The Aggies trailed 2-1 before Zoe Slaughter closed out a 2-up win over Amelia Williamson to tie the match. The outcome rested on the match between Adela Cernousek and Florida State's Beatrice Wallin, with Cernousek prevailing on the 19th hole.
B . Fernandez Garcia-Poggio (Texas A&M) d. Alice Hodge, 2&1
Adela Cernousek (Texas A&M) d. Beatrice Wallin, 19 holes
Elle Johnson (Florida State) d. Hailey Cooper, 3&2
Zoe Slaughter (Texas A&M) d. Amelia Williamson, 2UP
Jennie Park (Texas A&M) d. Charlotte Heath, 2&1
• • • • •
No. 5 Auburn d. No. 4 UCLA, 3-2
The Bruins were nursing a 2-1 lead following Zoe Campos' 1 up win over Anna Foster before Kaleigh Telfer and Mychael O'Berry won their matches fairly handily to send the Tigers into the semifinals against Stanford.
Emma Spitz (UCLA) d. Elina Sinz, 4&3
Zoe Campos (UCLA) d. Anna Foster, 1UP
Meagan Schofill (Auburn) d. Ty Akabane, 2&1
Kaleigh Telfer (Auburn) d. Alessia Nobilo, 3&2
Mychael O'Berry (Auburn) d. Caroline Canales, 2&1
• • • • •
Oregon d. Texas A&M, 4-1-0
The Ducks turned in their second dominating performance of the day, turning back upstart Texas A&M to advance to the championship match for the first time in program history. None of the matches reached the final hole, with Lu providing the decisive point on the 16th hole.
Ching-Tzu Chen (Oregon) d. B . Fernandez Garcia-Poggio, 2&1
Brianna Chacon (Oregon) d. Hailey Cooper, 2&1
Adela Cernousek (Texas A&M) d. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen, 2&1, 1UP
Tze-Han (Heather) Lin (Oregon) d. Jennie Park, 2&1
Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu (Oregon) d. Zoe Slaughter, 3&2
• • • • •
Stanford d. Auburn, 3-2
Auburn have Stanford all it could handle and them some before the Cardinal pulled out a 3-2 victory to advance to the title match. With the match tied at 1-1, each team had a lead in two other matches while another was deadlocked going to the 18th. After a poor tee shot on the par-3 16th, Aline Krauter made an incredible up-and-down by draining a 25-foot par putt to remain 2-up in her match against Elina Sinz before closing out the Auburn sophomore with a par on the 17th. With Rachel Heck trailing in her match against Anna Foster, all eyes turned t the match between Stanford's Brooke Seay and Kaleigh Telfer, which was even heading to the par-5 18th hole. After both players hit perfect tee shots, Seay hit a beautiful hybrid with left her with a 35-foot eagle try, while Telfer pushed her six-iron, narrowing missing the water on the right side of the green. Seay left her eagle putt three feet short and after Telfer missed her birdie try, the Stanford junior rolled in her birdie putt to send the Cardinal to the title match.
Brooke Seay (Stanford) d. Kaleigh Telfer, 1UP
Meagan Schofill (Auburn) d. Sadie Englemann, 4&3
Aline Krauter (Stanford) d. Elina Sinz, 2&1
Anna Foster (Auburn) d; Rachel Heck, 2&1
Rose Zhang (Stanford) d. Mychael O'Berry, 5&4