An NCAA National Championship matchup between Oklahoma State and Alabama looked to be epic on paper. Two of the best teams in the country navigated their way through stroke play and two rounds of match play to earn a berth in the finals on Wednesday, but by the back nine, the title had all but been decided.
Cowboys sophomore Viktor Hovland and freshman Matthew Wolff were the first two out and had built solid leads heading towards the home stretch at Karsten Creek, the Oklahoma State home course, yet neither was the first to put a point on the board for the Cowboys. Junior Zach Bauchou went out in the fifth and final match for OK State and blitzed Alabama’s Jonathan Hardee to win 8&7 with a birdie on the 11th hole.
Utter. Domination. Zach Bauchou destroys Hardee to claim the first point. Bauchou wins 8&7. pic.twitter.com/1S6mpLIyGW
— Tyler Wiederhoeft (@TDWiederhoeft) May 30, 2018
The next two points came in rapid succession as Hovland closed out his match 4&3 over Lee Hodges, which set the stage for the top freshman in the country, Wolff, who possesses one of the most unorthodox swings in the country.
Wolff had a 4-up lead playing the par-3 15th hole and hit a great shot in to put the pressure on Alabama’s Davis Riley. Riley responded by hitting his shot inside of Wolff, but Riley could only watch as Wolff mulled over his 15-footer and calmly knocked the putt in before leading a raucous celebration.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) May 30, 2018
“It’s just everything I could dream of,” Wolff said afterward. “This school, the fans, the coaches, my teammates, they all just made me feel like I was at home. I couldn’t be happier to be here, and I couldn’t be happier to be a national champion.”
The national title was Oklahoma State’s 11th in program history and their first since 2006.