Pac-12 men's golf: Bears top Ducks in wild playoff

2012-04-29T20:00:00Z 2012-04-29T20:22:38Z Pac-12 men's golf: Bears top Ducks in wild playoffBy AARON YOST, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

After 71 holes, it came down to a 40-foot birdie putt for Cal’s Brandon Hagy.

Miss it, and Oregon wins the Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championship on Sunday at Trysting Tree Golf Club.

Make it, and the Bears and Ducks are tied at 1,428, provided Eugene Wong makes a 5-footer for par.

“I knew it was getting close,” Hagy said. “There are no huge scoreboards on 18, so you never really know, but my assistant coach did tell me I was one down when I was in the right rough there.”

Yeah, just to get the chance at the birdie, Hagy had to make a blind shot from behind a low-lying pine in the deep rough. Somehow, he lofted it over the bush and onto the upper tier of the green, 40 feet from the cup.

His putt traveled like a laser, drawing a fist-pump from Hagy and cheers from the crowd.

“I looked at it from every angle, one of my teammates had a similar chip earlier, so we had a little bit of a read there,” Hagy said. “I thought it was left edge, I hit it good and it looked good from about 10 feet out, so it was a good feeling.”

Well, good for Hagy and the Bears.

Wong drained his 5-footer and the Ducks — for the second straight year — found themselves in a team playoff for the conference title.

In 2011, they lost to USC in a one-hole playoff.

This time, it took two holes. The result was the same, though.

Replaying the 18th, both teams took four pars and a bogey for a 21 on the first hole. So, off to the 16th — where the wheels had begun coming off for the Ducks in the fourth round — for the second playoff hole.

With four scores in for both teams, the Ducks were in trouble at 4-over for the hole. The Bears, with one bogey, were at 1 over.

Even throwing out the worst of the six scores, the Ducks needed major help.

They didn’t get it.

Hagy effectively ended the Ducks’ title hopes with another birdie and Joel Statler parred the hole.

Wong had the best chance to keep the Ducks in it, but he needed to hole out a birdie chip from just off the green. Instead he three-putted and took a 6.

Thus the Ducks’ tournament unraveled in the final five holes of play.

“It’s disappointing to lose, it always hurts to lose,” UO coach Casey Martin said. “Oregon’s never won a Pac-10 or Pac-12 title in golf, so that stings right there.”

Oregon held a four-shot lead with three groups left, including Wong and Daniel Miernicki.

The duo was a combined 22-under at that point. They finished 20-under.

Stanford’s Andrew Yun won the individual title with a 13-under 275, while Miernicki shot an 11-under 277. Wong finished tied with USC’s Sam Smith for third at 9-under, while Hagy was tied for fifth with UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay at 8-under.

It wasn’t just the strokes Wong and Miernicki lost, but also those dropped by Robbie Ziegler, who went from even to 2-over in the final two holes, and Andrew Vijarro, who went from 1-under to even-par, in the final holes.

Winners of four titles coming in, the Bears had faith all along.

“We definitely thought it was possible,” Hagy said. “We’ve played really well in final rounds. I did know my teammates could pull it out.”

While the Bears and Ducks finished 12-under as teams, USC had the hottest finish.

The Trojans had an 8-under fourth round to move from a tie for fourth with Oregon State into third place. The long hitting Smith had the lowest round of the day at 67, and if not for a 77 in the first round he would have been a bigger factor in the individual race.

That went to the steady Yun, who was five-under on Sunday.

“The pins were pretty much in all the little fingers and inlets, so you had to play a little bit more conservatively,” Yun said. “But my iron shots were real good and I was putting pretty well, so I was able to be a little bit more aggressive than I usually am.”

Results

Team scores: T1. California 359-365-348-356—1428; T1. Oregon 364-358-344-362—1428; 3. USC 368-356-356-352—1432; 4. UCLA 367-352-351-363—1433; 5. Oregon State 362-365-353-367—1447; 6. Stanford 373-360-353-362—1448; 7. Washington 368-366-369-364—1467; 8. Colorado 368-369-367-367—1483; 9. Washington State 371-362-363-387—1493; 10. Arizona 374-372-378-369—1493; 11. Arizona State 378-375-370-376—1499; 12. Utah 382-382-375-375—1514

Top 10: 1. Andrew Yun, Stan, 68-70-69-68—275 -13; 2. Daniel Miernicki, UO, 68-72-66-71—277 -11; T3. Sam Smith, USC, 77-68-67-67—279 -9; T3. Eugene Wong, UO, 69-68-69-73—279 -9; T5. Brandon Hagy, Cal, 73-73-66-68—280 -8; T5. Patrick Cantlay, UCLA, 69-70-71-70—280 -8; 7. Pedro Figueiredo, UCLA, 71-69-71-70—281 -7; 8. Patrick Rodgers, Stan, 73-74-65-70—282 -6; T9. Chris Williams, UW, 72-70-71-70—283 -5; T9. Joel Stalter, Cal, 71-70-72-70—283 -5

Oregon: Miernicki 277; Wong 279, T21. Robbie Ziegler 72-74-71-74—291; T21. Andrew Vijarro 79-72-68-72—291; T32. Jonathan Woo 77-76-70-72—295; T59. Ben Itterman 78-72-78-77—305

Oregon State: 11. Nick Chianello 71-72-69-72—284; T13. Matt Rawitzer 75-70-69-73—287; T19. Alex Moore 76-74-69-71—290; T30. Jonnie Motomochi 71-73-74-76—294; T37. David Fink 72-76-74-75—297; T47. Nick Sherwood 73-76-72-80—301

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