By Cameron Jourdan
Special to The Tidesports
STILLWATER, Okla. – Anytime Alabama did something special, Oklahoma State found a way to do something incredible.
Whether it was a shot through trees that lipped out for eagle or a chip-in eagle from a bunker, the Cowboys dominated on their home course, defeating Alabama 5-0 in the NCAA national championship match Wednesday at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
“We played pretty good golf,” Alabama coach Jay Seawell said. “They just played great golf. So we tip our cap to them. I’m really proud of how our guys handled themselves all week.”
Alabama’s day started poorly, and it couldn’t recover. No matter how close the Crimson Tide hit a shot or how spectacular a putt it made, OSU had something better. The Cowboys’ victory was their 10th this season, and winning the national championship capped one of the best seasons in college golf history.
No Alabama golfer played poorly. At one point, freshman Wilson Furr was 2-up on OSU senior Kristoffer Ventura and the fourth and fifth matchup were at all square.
Furr’s match went unfinished, though he was 3-down through 14 holes. As he was approaching the green, the gallery surrounding the 15th green erupted in cheers. Junior Davis Riley had lost his match against OSU freshman Matthew Wolff, but even Riley said he didn’t play that poorly.
“There was kind of not too much I could have done differently, maybe a silly mistake here or there,” Riley said. “But it’s pretty hard to beat somebody who’s playing like that, out here especially, and they’re so comfortable with this track, and they just fed off the crowd.
“It was like a football game out there, it felt like with all the people.”
Riley dropped his match 4-and-3, and it went downhill quickly. With the fans behind him, Wolff drained an eagle putt on the first hole and was able to continue adding on birdies throughout the day. Even when Wolff hit it into the trees, he chipped and lipped out for eagle, and Riley eventually lost the hole.
Senior Jonathan Hardee was the last player out for Alabama, but his match was the first one finished. OSU junior Zach Bauchou dominated, winning his match 8-and-7, never stepping past the 11th hole.
Furr and fellow freshman Davis Shore were the two Alabama golfers whose matches went unfinished. Shore was 1-down through 14.
The last time OSU and Alabama met in the championship match in 2014, Alabama came away victorious. Wednesday, OSU stole the show.
“But no, they were just…they played really well,” Hardee said. “They played great all week, in the stroke play, and then going to match play and play as well as they did, they just have a lot of confidence around this track and a lot of positive energy from the fans out here.”
Hardee and Lee Hodges finished their final collegiate tournament as runners-up, but Shore, Furr and Riley provide a bright future for one of the most consistent college golf programs in the country.
Seawell credited OSU’s stellar play throughout the afternoon, but he was happy with the bright future his players had in front of them.
“I think it was great for college golf because this is what I do,” Seawell said. “These guys one day are going to play on the PGA Tour, and I think they got a good taste of the Ryder Cup. The Tour is not going to be like this, but the Ryder Cup will be like that, that’s for sure.”