The NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, the final major of the year, has a history of being a closely contested event, with the past three championships being decided by a single stroke. This year, however, the event was a blowout, with recent No. 2-ranked Oklahoma losing by more than 10 strokes to Pepperdine, who finished third.
Pepperdine University’s Dan Forsman and Charles Howell III were tied for the lead at the par-5 18th hole, and Forsman was facing a difficult putt to win the NCAA golf championship. Forsman said he could only make the putt if he thought about his previous hole-in-one, and he was able to sink the putt and won his second national title.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona. — Pepperdine would have missed the national championship a year ago. The Waves were in first place in the country, but could not play for the title due to the coronavirus pandemic and lost three-time All-American Sahit Tigal. This chip has come a long way with them – all the way to their first national championship in 24 years. Pepperdine crowned an impressive performance Wednesday at Grayhawk Golf Club with a series of powerful shots in a 3-2 win over Oklahoma thanks to two shots from Clay Figler from 35 feet on the difficult 18th hole. Everyone said our year was last year, Figler said. Coach [Michael Beard] said it earlier this year: A lot of people think you’re not going to make it this year. It gave us some confidence and motivation. Look at us, national champions. It’s a little crazy. On a hot day in the desert, Pepperdine took an early lead, let Oklahoma catch up and then finished strong for his second national championship. 1 Connected Oklahoma’s Jonathan Brightwell put Dylan Menante up 1-1 in the first game, but Pepperdine won the next two games to help Figler to the championship and close out his senior season. Fiegler led off with a single, but had to give up when someone hit for his approach shot in the 18th over. He got open in the 19th minute, but recovered and hit a 7-iron from 195 yards to the front of the green. He hit the ball so close that Oklahoma freshman Ben Lorenz took advantage of the play – and the title. To shoot from 35 feet and two catches is just crazy, Fiegler said. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel right now. As the Waves ran onto the green to celebrate with Figler, Joey Vrzic ran down the #18 fairway with his bag to join them. Logan McAllister, who had his second ace in three days, went 1-1 against Vrzic in the final game, but it didn’t matter. Pepperdine won his first national title since 1997. That was always the case, according to Byrd. We felt like we didn’t last year and these guys came back better. On the final day of qualifying, the Waves needed a huge rebound effort to go from a team below the elimination line to third in match play. They advanced to the title game, defeating Florida State in the quarterfinals and a strong Oklahoma State team in the semifinals. Oklahoma defeated Illinois before beating Arizona State 3-2 in the semifinals. Brightwell earned the first point of the title race with back-to-back shots on the 15th and 16th holes to take a one-point lead. He finished it off by getting shortstop #18 up and down the field. One game for the Sooners, but the Waves led in the other four. Joe Highsmith started strong and didn’t stop playing against Gareth Reband. The junior from Pepperdine won three holes in a row, the first two after Reband made bogey – he shot near the 12th hole. Fairways on No. 11 – and then made a 10-foot birdie on No. 12 to take a five-point lead. Highsmith finished 4-3, making par at #15. Pepperdine’s William Move looked for an advantage in a game against Quade Cummins, a member of OU’s 2017 national championship team, and took advantage. Move made a 4-foot birdie putt to take a two-stroke lead on the par-5 11th hole, and extended the lead with steady wins on #13 and #14. He secured Pepperdine’s second point with a 4-and-3 when Brightwell missed a birdie at No. 1. 15. I saw and heard that we definitely made some mistakes in the beginning of the game, Oklahoma coach Ryan Hyble said. But our boys have always fought to the end. Pepperdine led 2-1 after Mouve’s win, and the last two games were tied. McAllister seemed to take control of the match with his fifth hole-in-one of the tournament on No. 8 – he had also made a birdie on the 205-yard fifth hole on Monday – and extended his lead to three after Vrzic’s bogey on No. 2. 9. The Pepperdine senior was still struggling. Vrzic won four holes in a row and came away with his only birdie of the day at the 13th. Hole with a solid green and a distance of 230 yards for a one shot lead. McAllister evened the score with a short birdie on No. 15 and birdied twice to take a 1-up lead on par-4 No. 17, but play stalled on 18. The start is given when Fiegler has made two boards for them. We’re obviously disappointed that we couldn’t get the job done today, Hible said. We knew that if we didn’t play our best golf, we would lose. We fought so hard.