USC-Stanford in East Lake Cup Final Again

Stanford and USC will play an all-Pacific 12-Conference match-play final in the Women’s Division of the East Lake Cup for the second straight year at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Last year, USC beat Stanford, 3-2, to take the title.

The Cardinal defeated Alabama, 4-1, while the Trojans got past reigning national champion Arizona, also by 4-1, in the semifinal matches.

Albane Valenzuela of Stanford, a junior from Switzerland who claimed the individual title a day earlier, gave the Cardinal what proved to be the winning point with a 4-and-3 victory over Angelica Moresco.

“I just played a very steady game and had some momentum from yesterday,” Valenzuela said. “I just played really solid and made some really good putts from holes 8 to 11. Getting this win feels really good.”

In other matches, Stanford’s Andrea Lee, the 2016 East Lake individual champion, routed Mary Mac Trammel, 7 and 5; Ziyi Wang trounced Carolina Caminoli, 8 and 6, and Mika Liu got past Jiwon Jeon, 2 and 1.

Kenzie Wright gave Alabama its only point by beating Aline Krauter on the 19th hole.

“(Valenzuela) has played really well this fall,” Stanford Coach Pam Walker said. “She’s hitting the ball hard, long and straight, in addition to putting well, and that’s a good combination.

“We’re going up against a great USC team. They are very good from one to five, but I feel good about our squad. We’re going to give it all we’ve got. … I think it’s going to be a phenomenal match.”

For USC, Jennifer Chang (pictured) got past Bianca Pagdanganan, 1 up; Alyaa Abdulghany beat Ya Chun Chang, 2 up; Amelia Garvey defeated Sandra Nordaas, 4 and 2, and Gabi Ruffels downed Haley Moore, 3-2.

Yu-Sang Hou gave Arizona its only point with a 3-and-2 victory over Malia Nam.

“(Stanford is) very solid from top to bottom, but I think we have the depth to match up with them,” first-year Coach Justin Silverstein of USC said.

Said Ruffels: “It’s super special to come out and play on this course because the last time we saw it (on television), Tiger Woods was winning the Tour Championship here. It’s amazing to walk and play the same holes he did.”

On the men’s side, Alabama will play arch-rival Auburn in the final.

The Crimson Tide upset defending champion and top-ranked Oklahoma State, 3-2, while the Tigers knocked off Duke, which led stroke-play qualifying the day before, 4-1.

Wilson Furr gave Alabama its winning point with a 2-up victory over Austin Eckroat after Prescott Butler defeated Hayden Hood, 3 and 2, and Davis Riley beat Zach Bauchou, 4 and 3.

Oklahoma State won the first two matches, with U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland getting past Frankie Capan, 2 and 1, and Matthew Wolff besting Davis Shore, 4 and 3.

For Auburn, Jacob Solomon trounced Shrish Dwivedi, 7 and 6; Jovan Rebula, Ernie Els’ nephew, downed Evan Katz, 4 and 3; Brandon Mancheno defeated Chandler Eaton, 1 up, and Wells Padgett beat Alex Smalley, also by 1 up.

Adrien Pendaries gave Duke its only point by routing Trace Crowe, 7 and 6.

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