Defending NCAA Champion Pepperdine Keeps Alive Its Chance for a Repeat

Defending national champion Pepperdine kept alive is chance to repeat by finishing sixth in stroke-play qualifying heading into match-play that will determine the 2022 NCAA Men’s Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Second-ranked Vanderbilt finished stroke-play qualifying with a score of 282-282-281-289—1134, 14-under-par, and won the tie-breaker after tying with top-ranked Oklahoma, which wound up at 287-275-277-295—1134, and seventh-ranked North Carolina, which totaled 288-281-285—11348. ‘

Sixth-ranked Texas was fourth at 291-291-278-277—1137, followed by third-ranked Oklahoma State at 289-277-277-298—1141, fourth-ranked Pepperdine at 294-282-277-293—1146, fifth-ranked Arizona State at 290-292-277-289—1148, and eighth-ranked Texas Tech at 297-287-285-284—1153.

In  the quarterfinals of match play on Tuesday, Vanderbilt a will play Texas Tech, Oklahoma will meet Arizona State, North Carolina faces Pepperdine, and Texas goes against Oklahoma State.

“I honestly think that match play is where our competitiveness really comes out,” Pepperdine Coach Michael Beard (pictured) said. “When you put them mano a mano, it fires them up. Our guys have been really strong in match play. The experience of having done well in match play is huge.

“I don’t think there’s another team that can say they’ve done what we’ve done. Whatever emotions you feel out there, our guys have experienced that and come out on top. We have a lot of confidence.”

Pepperdine, which also claimed the NCAA title in 1997, has posted a 6-1 record in match play the last two seasons–winning the 2021 NCAA final and the 2020 East Lake Cup, and tying for third place at the 2021 East Lake Cup.

The Waves advanced to the NCAA finals for the third consecutive time, a first in program history, and for the 12th time overall.

Finishing out of the match-play quarterfinals were Arkansas in ninth at 294-286-286-293—1159, while Auburn totaled 285-296-288-291—1160 to tie for 10th with Florida, which finished at 300-285-286-289—1160.

Georgia wound up at 291-292-289-299—1171 to tie for 12th with Georgia Tech, which shot 298-289-290-294—1171, and Mississippi was 14th at 297-287-293-300—1177, followed by Oregon at 285-300-291—306.

Vanderbilt freshman Gordon Sargent claimed the individual crown with a birdie on the first playoff hole to turn back three other golfers and give the Commodores their first NCAA individual title.

Sargent finished at 70-68-68-74—280, even par, to tie with Parker Coody of Texas, who shot 72-70-68-70—280, Ryan Burnett of North Carolina, who wound up at 71-69-70-70—280, and Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra of Oklahoma State, who totaled at 73-70-65-72—280.

William Mouw of Pepperdine carded a score of 71-70-70-70—281 to tie for fifth with Cameron Sisk of Arizona State, who finished at 70-73-68-70—281, David Ford of North Carolina, who totaled at 71-70-69-71—281, and Chris Gotterup of Oklahoma, who wound up at 73-66-68-74—281.

Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira of Arkansas was ninth at 71-71-68-72—282, followed by Sam Bennett of Texas A&M at 77-70-72-64—283.

Rounding out the scoring for Pepperdine were Derek Hitchner in a tie for 25th at 76-67-71-74—288, Joe Highsmith, who shot 71-76-70-75—292 to finish in a tie for 43rd that included teammate Dylan Menante, who wound up at 76-73-66-77—292, and Joey Vrzich, who came in at 76-72-72-74—294.

Michael Thorbjornsen of Stanford tied for 32nd at 71-72-75-71—289.

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