EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – Beau Hossler overcame an injury to his left shoulder while getting up-and-down from a bunker with his putter to close out his match Tuesday and send top-seeded Texas into the NCAA championship match against Oregon.
Hossler, the best player on a Longhorns team ranked No. 1 in the country, first felt pain after a 4-iron on the 15th hole. The pain was so severe that he grimaced and couldn’t finish his swing from the rough on the 17th hole when he was 2 up against Andrew Levitt of Southern California.
Hossler putted out of the front bunker to about 25 feet on the fringe and holed the putt for par and a 2-and-1 victory.
Hossler’s gutsy play gave Texas the three points it needed. Scottie Scheffler was 1 up playing the 18th, and the Longhorns advanced with a 4-1 victory.
Oregon, No. 26 in the NCAA ranking going into the tournament, knocked off Illinois behind Sulman Raza’s 1-up victory against Charlie Danielson, whose birdie putt to extend the match swirled around the cup.
The Ducks have a home crowd behind them at Eugene Country Club.
Texas will be going for its fourth NCAA golf title, and second in five years. It also won in 2012 at Riviera with a team that featured freshman Jordan Spieth.
The Ducks have never won a golf title. Aaron Wise, a sophomore who is turning pro after the NCAAs, already won the individual title for Oregon in stroke play. The last team that won the NCAA and had a player win the individual title was Kevin Chappell at UCLA in 2008, the year before the format switched to match play.
The big concern for Texas was whether Hossler would be able to compete in Wednesday’s final.
”I appreciate him finishing the hole,” Texas coach John Fields said. ”He was in pretty significant pain. We’ll get some treatment and see if there’s any possibility he can play tomorrow – most likely not. If Beau’s got to be a cheerleader, he’ll be a cheerleader. If he’s going to be able to play, he’ll play.”
Texas will try to become the first No. 1 seed to win the NCAA since the format changed to match play in 2009.
Texas’ Doug Ghim had a short day in the quarterfinal and semifinal matches. Ghim played only 27 holes, beating Max McGreevy of Oklahoma, 7 and 6, in the morning and then defeating Jonah Texeira of the Trojans, 4 and 3, in the afternoon.
Wise lost his first match to Dylan Meyer of Illinois, though it became irrelevant.
The Ducks had a 2-1 lead when Raza got up-and-down from a front bunker on the 18th hole. Danielson’s birdie caught the lip. If the putt had fallen, the semifinal would have come down to the final match, where Meyer had a 1-up lead.
In the quarterfinals, the Longhorns hammered Oklahoma, and the Trojans had little trouble in beating Vanderbilt. The Illini won 4-1 over South Carolina, while Oregon had a 3 1/2-1 1/2 victory over defending champion LSU.