SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Quade Cummins sank an 8-foot birdie putt on the drivable par-4 17th hole at Grayhawk Golf Club in the NCAA men’s national semifinals on Tuesday, clinching Oklahoma’s place in the title match against Pepperdine.
Oklahoma and host Arizona State played close matches all afternoon after advancing to the semifinals, each winning two before the anchor match between Cummins and Cameron Sisk.
Sisk opted to lay up on the 330-yard 17th, and his wedge approach shot bounded through the green. Cummins, a member of Oklahoma’s 2017 national championship team, hit driver to the front of the green and made the second putt after Sisk chipped well past the hole.
Jonathan Brightwell also won right before Cummins closed it out for the Sooners. Brightwell got up and down for par on the difficult 18th hole for a 1-up victory after conceding a short eagle to Arizona State’s David Puig on No. 17.
Oklahoma beat top-seeded Arizona State 3-2 and will play for its third national championship against Pepperdine, which had never reached match play at the NCAA championship.
The Sooners, who reached match play for the fifth straight year, beat Illinois 3-2 in the morning quarterfinals.
Oklahoma coach Ryan Hybl busted out a good-luck charm for this year’s tournament, wearing the same sweater vest he sported during OU’s 2017 national title run despite temperatures climbing over 100 in the desert.
“I wore it every day in that tournament and haven’t worn it since,” Hybl said. “I’ve been saving it for the right moment. Some people say why didn’t you wear it in 2018 or ’19? Well you can’t overdo it. If you have a good feeling you go with it. I don’t care if it’s 140 out.”
Pepperdine had the best round of final qualifying on Monday, posting a collective 9 under to move from outside the cut line to the third seed.
The Waves won their morning quarterfinal matches with Florida State 3-1-1, including lopsided wins by Clay Feagler (6 and 4) and Joey Vrzich (4 and 3).
John Pak had Florida State’s lone win in the quarterfinals, beating William Mouw 1 up. Pak also was announced as winner of the Haskins Award, given to the most outstanding NCAA Division I men’s golfer, a day after finishing fifth in the NCAA individual tournament.
Feagler had an ace on the 188-yard eighth hole to kick off a run of five consecutive wins on his way to beating Oklahoma State’s Austin Eckroat 2 and 1.
Joe Highsmith closed out Pepperdine’s semifinal win with a par on No. 18 after hitting a 183-yard shot out of the fairway bunker. He hit the clinching putt after Oklahoma State’s Aman Gupta missed a long birdie putt.
“It shows our guys’ mental toughness to stay in it,” Pepperdine coach Michael Beard said. “It’s easy to be distracted by all the outside stuff, it’s hot, there’s 36 holes, it’s tight, and you’re grinding on every putt. It could be easy to have a mental break, but our guys kept pushing
Arizona State reached the semifinals by beating North Carolina 3-1-1, and Oklahoma State advanced with a 4-1 win over Vanderbilt.
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