The reigning NCAA men’s and women’s champions showed Tuesday they still have some fight left even if they arrived at the East Lake Cup as the lowest-ranked teams in their respective fields.
Oregon, which captured the men’s title on its home course last spring, claimed a 3-2 victory over Vanderbilt, the top-ranked team by Golfstat, in one semifinal at the 7,450-yard, par-72 East Lake layout. The No. 18 Ducks will get a shot at defending East Lake Dup champion, No. 4 Illinois, which knocked off No. 12 Texas, 3-2, in the other semifinal, in Wednesday’s title match.
The Washington women, who arrived in Atlanta unranked, stunned No. 3 Stanford, 4-1, in a rematch of last spring’s title match in one semifinal Tuesday. The Huskies will take on No. 23 Duke, which claimed a 3-2 win over No. 3 UCLA in a battle of heavyweights in the other semifinal, in Wednesday’s title match.
The Oregon men finished 13 shots behind Stanford in Monday’s 18 holes of stroke play that determined Tuesday’s matchups. But the Ducks still seemed to have some of the match-play magic that propelled them to the NCAA crown last spring.
Oregon got a 2 and 1 win by Edwin Yi, a sophomore from Beaumont, Calif., over John Augenstein, a freshman from Owensboro, Ky., a 2-up victory from Ryan Grunford, a redshirt sophomore from Pleasanton, Calif., over Theo Humphrey, a junior from Greenwich, Conn., and a 2-up victory by Wyndham Clark, a redshirt senior from Denver, over Will Gordon, a sophomore from Davidson, N.C.
Vanderbilt got a 5 and 4 win by Patrick Martin, a sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., over Nigel Lett, a redshirt senior from Beaverton, Ore., and a 2 and 1 win by Matthias Schwab, a senior from Austria, over Sulman Raza, a redshirt senior from Eugene, Ore. Raza was the hometown hero who sunk the putt that clinched the Ducks’ victory over Texas in the NCAA final last spring.
The Oregon-Illinois match will be a rematch of an NCAA semifinal match won by the Ducks on their way to the national championship.
Illinois got the jump on Texas Tuesday when Michael Feagles, a freshman from Scottsdale, Ariz., knocked off Scottie Scheffler, a junior from Dallas, 3 and 1. Scheffler had fired a 6-under 66 to claim the East Lake Cup individual title Monday.
The Fighting Illini also got a 2 and 1 victory by Edoardo Lipparelli, a sophomore from Italy, over Steven Chervony, a sophomore from Boca Raton, Fla., and a 2 and 1 win by Dylan Meyer, a junior from Evansville, Ind., over Taylor Funk, a junior from Ponte Vedre, Fla., that clinched the victory for Illinois.
Texas got a 2 and 1 win by Gavin Hall, a senior from Pittsford, N.Y., over Bryan Baumgarten, a freshman from Granite Bay, Calif., and a 4 and 2 win by Doug Ghim, a junior from Arlington Heights, Ill., over Nick Hardy, a junior from Northbrook, Ill., in a battle of two really strong players.
The Washington women weren’t in the same zip code as Stanford in Monday’s stroke-play round that set the pairings for Tuesday’s semifinals. The Huskies were 34 shots back of the Cardinal, who claimed the top seed with a 6-under 282 total. Maybe Stanford’s Andrea Lee and Casey Danielson wore each other out in their six-hole playoff that Lee eventually won to claim the individual title.
Lee, a freshman from Hermosa Beach, Calif., accounted for Stanford’s lone point with a 5 and 4 victory over Eunwon Park, a freshman from Tenafly, N.J. Lee is no ordinary freshman as she played on the U.S. Curtis Cup team and the U.S. entry that finished sixth at the World Amateur Team Championship, among other accomplishments in a busy summer.
But the rest was all Washington. The Huskies got a 2 and 1 win by Ellen Takada, a freshman from Irvine, Calif., over Danielson, a senior from Osceola, Wis., a 3 and 1 triumph by Julianne Alvarez, a sophomore from New Zealand, over Sierra Kersten, a sophomore from Spokane, Wash., a 5 and 4 win by Sarah Rhee, a sophomore from Seattle, over Albane Valenzuela, a talented freshman from Switzerland, and a 5 and 4 win by Wenyung Keh, like Alvarez, a sophomore from New Zealand, over Shannon Aubert, a junior from Stuart, Fla.
There were Curtis Cup players from both sides of the Atlantic all over the place in Duke’s win over UCLA in the other semifinal.
UCLA got the jump with a 3 and 2 win by Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cupper Bronte Law, a senior from England, over Sandy Choi, a senior from South Korea. The Bruins’ other point came from Clare Legaspi, a freshman from the Philippines who edged Lisa Maguire, a junior from Ireland, 2-up. Lisa Maguire did not play for GB&I in this year’s Curtis Cup, but she has in the past.
Her twin sister Leona, also a junior from Ireland, did help GB&I beat the U.S. this year and she claimed a 4 and 2 victory over Mariel Galdiano, a freshman from Pearl City, Hawaii. Galdiano was a U.S. Curtis Cupper and the qualifying medalist at this summer’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club. Galdiano was also on the U.S. team with Stanford’s Lee and South Carolina’s Katelyn Dambaugh that finished sixth in the World Amateur Team Championship. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll be seeing these two playing in an LPGA event on TV in the not-too-distant future.
Duke got a 5 and 3 win by reigning NCAA individual champion Virginia Elena Carta, a sophomore from Italy, over Lilia Vu, a sophomore from Fountain Valley, Calif. Carta fell on the 36th hole to South Korea’s Eun Jeong Seong in the final of the Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green.
But the clinching point for the Dookies came from Ana Belac, a freshman from Slovenia who claimed a 3 and 2 win over Bethany Wu, a sophomore from Diamond Bar, Calif. Wu is yet another U.S. Curtis Cupper who played in this match.