FAYETTEVILLE -- Giant-slaying Texas could not back up its Tuesday upset of No. 1 Oklahoma State when the Longhorns took on Stanford in the NCAA Men's Golf Championships match-play final.
No. 10 Stanford used a front-loaded lineup led by seniors Isaiah Salinda and Brandon Wu to down the Longhorns 3-2 on Wednesday at Blessings Golf Club to snare the national championship.
The final points came rapid-fire a little before 11 a.m. for the Cardinal, who notched their ninth national championship and first since 2007.
Wu closed out his 4-and-3 victory over Pierceson Coody with a birdie on No. 15, and less than a minute later Stanford's Henry Shimp stroked his birdie putt within a foot of the cup on No. 17.
Texas junior Spencer Soosman conceded the par putt to seal Shimp's 2-and-1 victory in the leadoff pairing and give the Cardinal their third point. Seconds later, a fireworks display went off near Blessings clubhouse to recognize the championship performance.
Salinda and Wu both won their matches in the second and third positions to improve to 3-0 in match play.
Wu said he and the team expected good results at the championships.
"We'd been on a roll," he said. "We'd won four in a row coming into this week, probably the hottest team in the country, so we were ready to go and excited to play."
Stanford Coach Conrad Ray said he was encouraged when he began studying the layout and difficulty level at Blessings.
"Most of our lineup are ball strikers," Ray said. "Right away you saw you had to carry it a long way and cover a lot of numbers and be able to hit the ball in the air with spin and drive it well.
"We do that pretty well. We've played hard golf courses well all year. And I think our guys did a pretty good job of kind of learning as they went. One practice round to learn this place is pretty tough."
The championship match was moved up to 6:45 a.m., and it was a smart decision. A tornado warning was issued for the area about an hour after the completion of the match, and strong thunderstorms set in soon thereafter, drenching all of Northwest Arkansas.
Texas Coach John Fields said the emotional high of eliminating Big 12 rivals Oklahoma and Oklahoma State during Tuesday's quarterfinals and semifinals did not factor into Wednesday's performance.
"It wasn't hard to get up this morning," Fields said. "We were excited to play. We knew it was going to be a challenge. We knew Stanford would come as excited as we were, and they would play their best golf and we would have to play ours.
"We were ready to play today. We just got beat by a really good golf team."
Texas got only one point from its sensational freshman trio of Cole Hammer and the Coody twins, Parker and Pierceson, on Parker Coody's 6-and-5 win over Stanford freshman Daulet Tuleubayev in the fourth pairing.
Hammer, who attacked the front nine Tuesday afternoon with six birdies in eight holes to score a huge point over NCAA individual champion and No. 1 ranked Matthew Wolff of Oklahoma State, could not sustain momentum against Salinda in the second pairing.
"Beating Oklahoma State was unbelievable," Hammer said. "We definitely weren't favored. The way it all went down, me beating Matt and the way Steven [Chervony] kind of finished up at the end, it definitely took a lot of energy out of us.
"But there's no reason that carried over to today. We were all excited and pumped to play for a national championship title this morning."
Hammer won the first hole, lost it back on No. 2, then birdied No. 5 to go up by one. But Salinda birdied No. 6 to tie it, then took three of the first four holes on the back nine.
"First off, I was super excited to play him," Salinda said. "I was hoping I'd play him. He's a really good player, one of the best in college as a freshman. I was looking forward to it. I knew I was playing well, and I knew it would be a good match."
Wu did not make a bogey Wednesday and won his third match in a row by a score of 4 and 3 without ever having to play 16, 17 or 18.
"I just stayed really patient and level-headed," Wu said. "That's kind of my game in general, so I knew I was hitting good shots, getting myself on the greens. I didn't miss a green today, which is huge. You know you can definitely wear your opponent down if they're not hitting greens and you're hitting every one. I just stayed patient."
The way the matches were shaping up behind them, it appeared early on the back nine that the Shimp-Soosman match might be the decider. Soosman led by two through six holes before Shimp took back-to-back holes on Nos. 7 and 8 for a tie.
The match turned when Shimp birdied the par-4 11th, then won 12 with a par. Shimp's lead dropped to one after he hit into the penalty area on No. 15. He rebounded on 16 with an approach shot to within 2 1/2 feet with Soosman already on the green. Soosman missed his birdie putt, and Shimp sank his to go back up by two.
"Luckily we've played the course eight times this week, and I'd been in that position at least three or four times," Shimp said of his tee ball off 16. "I just happened to get a perfect number and made a really aggressive swing and hit a good one."
Shimp hit safely onto the green on the par-3 17th, while Soosman came up short and could not convert his par putt.
"I can't even really put it into words right now," Shimp said shortly after clinching the title. "It's so cool to win it with a team like this. I was saying last night it's a day that we're never going to forget. I hope we remember it for the right way, and I think we're going to."
NCAA Men’s match play championship
At Blessings Golf Club
Fayetteville. Par 72, 7,550 yards
STANFORD 3, TEXAS 2
Henry Shimp, Stanford, def. Spencer Soosman, Texas, 2 and 1.
Isaiah Salinda, Stanford, def. Cole Hammer, Texas, 4 and 3.
Brandon Wu, Stanford, def. Pierceson Coody, Texas, 4 and 3.
Patrick Coody, Texas, def. Daulet Tuleubayev, Stanford, 6 and 5.
Steven Chervony, Texas, def. David Snyder, Stanford, 1 up.
Stanford’s Isaiah Salinda (from left), assistant coach Matt Bortis and Henry Shimp celebrate Wednesday after the Cardinal defeated Texas 3-2 to win the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships at Blessings Golf Club.
Texas’ Steven Chervony won one of the Longhorns’ two matches Wednesday against Stanford.
Sports on 05/30/2019
Print Headline: Cardinal rule: Stanford bests Texas in title match