Eugene Wong doesn't mind taking on alittle pressure on behalf of his Oregon teammates.
How about the pressure of having to win his round of match playat the 18th hole by holding off his fellow Pac-10 co-player of theyear and the Ben Hogan Award winner, Washington's Nick Taylor?
"My heart was definitely racing," Wong said. "I just tried toget as close as I could to give myself a good chance."
With thunder rumbling at a distance and rain sprinkling on thecourse, Wong nearly sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th green, and heand Taylor both made par to preserve Wong's 1-up margin. Thevictory advanced Oregon to the NCAA Division I semifinals with a3-2 win at The Honors Course on Friday.
On Saturday, the fifth-seeded Ducks will face top seed OklahomaState, which cruised to a 4-1 win over Stanford. No. 2 FloridaState defeated No. 7 Texas Tech 4-1 and will meet No. 6 AugustaState, a 3-2 winner over No. 3 Georgia Tech.
The quarterfinals featured just the kind of competition the NCAAwas looking for when it added match play to the championship formatbeginning with the 2009 tournament.
Jack Dukeminier won the first match for Oregon 1-up over CharlieHughes, and Darren Wallace answered with a 2-and-1 win forWashington over Isaiah Telles. Oregon's Andrew Vijarro posted a2-and-1 win over Richard Lee, and Washington's Chris Williamsdefeated Daniel Miernicki by the same margin, setting up theshowdown between Wong and Taylor.
Taylor took a 1-up lead after grabbing a birdie on the thirdhole and held the margin until Wong shot a birdie on the ninth holeand Taylor bogeyed the 10th. The pair matched pars and birdies therest of the way.
"It was just a dogfight," Oregon coach Casey Martin said. "Noone was up by more than one all day. It was just a classic, greatgolf. Out of 36 holes played by those two guys there was one bogey.That's incredible stuff. That's PGA-tour level golf that was beingplayed out there."
A year after being upset in the NCAA quarterfinals as the topseed, Oklahoma State easily moved past Stanford, who played intothe quarterfinals earlier in the day by winning a three-way playoffwith Arizona State and San Diego.
The Cowboys' Sean Einhaus made five birdies and took a 5-up leadby the seventh hole, defeating Joseph Bramlett 5-and-4. TeammateKevin Tway took a little bit longer to build his lead but also won5-and-4 over Sihwan Kim.
"I think the guys understand when they see Kevin Tway or SeanEinhaus out watching their match with a smile on their face, that'sa good thing," Oklahoma State coach Mike McGraw said. "I thinkthat percolates through the gallery, and it's a good feeling if youknow you've got your teammates in the clubhouse and they've got acouple of Ws on the board."
Stanford's Andrew Yun led by as many as 3-up in a match withTrent Whitekiller but bogeyed twice in the last six holes.Whitekiller led by 1-up approaching the 18th but drove his ball insome pine chips near a patch of trees as Yun placed his ball neatlyin the fairway.
Whitekiller managed to land his shot from the rough about 20feet from the hole and both competitors made par, giving theCowboys the win.
Texas Tech's Tyler Weworski put the Red Raiders up early with a3-and-2 win over Florida State's Wesley Graham, but the Seminolestook the remaining four matches.
Augusta State's Carter Newman scored first with a 1-up win overfellow junior Paul Haley, but the Yellow Jackets took the next twomatches. Patrick Reed maintained a 1-up margin on the 18th hole tograb another Augusta State point by matching Chesson Hadley'sbirdie. Georgia Tech's J.T. Griffin just missed a birdie on the18th hole that would have forced his match with Henrik Norlander toan extra hole.
"To get this far is phenomenal for us and the program," Reedsaid.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times