LSU's John Peterson wins NCAA golf title

LSU’s John Peterson wins NCAA golf title

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — LSU senior John Peterson won the individual title Thursday in the NCAA Golf Championships, and UCLA topped the eight qualifiers for the team match-play competition.

Peterson shot an even-par 72 – playing the back nine in 4 under – to finish at 5-under 211, a stroke ahead of UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay at difficult Karsten Creek.

Six hours after Peterson finished, Cantlay had a chance to force a playoff, but his 18-foot eagle try on the par-5 18th grazed the cup and stayed out. He birdied the final two holes for a 71.

Peterson opened with a 74 and had a competitive course-record 65 on Wednesday.

UCLA was 10 over in the third round to finish at 8-over 872. Georgia Tech was second at 11 over, and host Oklahoma State (15 over), Illinois (15 over), Georgia (20 over), Ohio State (23 over), Augusta State (24 over) and Duke (25 over) also advanced to match play. Texas A&M was ninth at 26 over.

Peterson completed an unprecedented sweep for LSU following freshman Austin Ernst’s victory May 21 in the women’s event.

“I thought it was over and I had won, then Cantlay makes birdie on 17, which is a very hard hole, then hits the green on 18,” Peterson said. “I rushed to the range and started hitting 3-woods and hit them horribly.”

Peterson said he wasn’t discouraged by his two bogeys and a double bogey on the first nine holes.

“I’m a pretty resilient, tough player,” he said. “I was raised to never give up. This is a tough course and it will punch you, but if you punch back, sometimes it will pay off in the end.”

Peterson also birdied the 17th, hitting a 4-iron from 181 yards into a 25 mph wind to about 7 feet.

UCLA coach Derek Freeman was pleased with the team victory, but cautioned against euphoria with match play ahead. His Bruins will face Duke in the first round Friday. Oklahoma State will open against Ohio State, Georgia Tech will face Augusta State, and Illinois will play Georgia.

“We came here wanting to win the stroke play and the match play,” Freeman said. “We’re halfway there. The guys played excellent golf on a very difficult course.”

In addition to Cantlay, UCLA’s Gregor Main tied for 20th at 4 over and Alex Kim tied for 32nd at 6 over.

Top-rannked Oklahoma State won the stroke play portion the preceding two years, but was knocked off in match play by eventual champions Texas A&M (2009) and Augusta State (2010).

Cowboys coach Mike McGraw is expecting the teams remaining to see a different course Friday.

“I was hoping for a little bit of wind so the golf course would have some teeth,” McGraw said. “The NCAA has taken into account getting 30 teams around the course with some of the pin and tee locations. I think you’ll see things get more interesting tomorrow.

“You want to win every tournament you play, but I’m just thrilled we get a chance to move on and have a fresh start tomorrow.”

First-round leader James White led Georgia Tech at even-par 216, tied for eighth. The Yellow Jackets are looking forward to a rematch with Augusta State, which eliminated them in the first round a year ago.

Oklahoma State’s Peter Uihlein was one of five player to tie for third at 1 under, surviving a shaky stretch on Nos. 10-12 when lost a tee shot in the woods on 10, ricocheted his tee shot off a cliff wall into a pond on the par-3 11th, then drove wild right into the woods on 12. He came back with an eagle on the par-5 14th, chipping in from off the green, and finished with a 73.

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