OSU fans react to Austin Eckroat’s birdie on the 18th hole Sunday. Photo by Walt Beazley, Razorbacks Athletics Communications.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Oklahoma State sophomore Matthew Wolff wrested the individual lead from teammate Austin Eckroat with a third-round 70 to leave him at 7-under 209 through 54 holes of the NCAA Championship at Blessings Golf Club.
The Cowboys remain firmly in control of the team race as well, as a third-round of 2-under 286 leaves them at 12-under overall and 15 shots clear of Texas and Stanford, tied for second. Oklahoma is in fourth after an even-par round of 288, led by a 3-under 69 by Garett Reband.
There was a cut to the top 15 teams following today’s round. The field will be pared to eight teams after Monday’s round and enter match play Tuesday. The quarterfinals and semifinals are Tuesday and the finals Wednesday.
Eckroat shot 73 Sunday to fall two shots behind Wolff at 5-under. OSU senior Zach Bauchou shot 2-under 70 and is tied for fifth overall at 2-under. Senior Hayden Wood stepped up his game with a 1-over 73, allowing the Cowboys to toss the 76 of Ben Hogan Award winner Viktor Hovland.
I actually didn’t know that I was leading but it feels really nice,” Woff said. “When you’re leading, you’re 4obviously doing something right. We’ve got a lot of great players out here, some of the top amateurs in the world, and it’s a really hard course. I think being consistent, putting myself in the right places, and learning the course each day is helping. We’ve still got one more round so we’ll see how it goes.
Sandwiched in between the trio of Cowboys is Georgia Southern’s Steven Fisk at 4-under-par and Arizona State’s Chun An Yu, who sits at 3-under par. Yu is looking to become the first Sun Devil to win the individual championship since Alejandro Canizares in 2003.
“I’m four shots back so tomorrow I’m just going to give it all I’ve got and hopefully, I can win it,” said Yu. “I just want to keep doing the things I’ve been doing. I played great today, the only bad thing that happened was missing the tee shot on hole 16 so I’m going to keep the same game plan.”
Texas moved into a tie for second place with Stanford after firing a 1-over-par team total in round three. Oklahoma and Wake Forest each jumped up two spots after carding even-par team totals respectively. The only team other than Oklahoma State to shoot under par for the day was Vanderbilt, which vaulted up into sixth place after posting a 1-under 287 total.
For the Sooners, Blaine Hale and Patrick Welch each shot even-par 72 and Quade Cummins shot 75. Brad Dalke struggled to an 81.
Monday’s final stroke play round will decide the NCAA individual medalist as well as the “Race To Eight” teams that will advance to the quarterfinals and semifinals match-play format on Tuesday, May 28, followed by the match-play finals on Wednesday, May 29 that will decide the team national champion.
The original field of 30 teams and six individuals was trimmed to 15 teams on Sunday, along with the top nine individuals not on those teams. Teams advancing and still in contention for the 2019 national championship include Oklahoma State, Texas, Stanford, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Clemson, SMU, TCU, Ohio State, Pepperdine, Auburn, California and Southern California.
The ninth and final individual position will be decided in a three-person playoff that will take place prior to the start of Monday’s final round, as South Carolina’s Will Miles, UNLV’s Justin Kim and Georgia’s Trent Phillips will be involved in a sudden death playoff that will start at 9:15 a.m. (CST) off of hole No. 1 at the Blessings.
The final round of stroke play begins tomorrow at 11 a.m. (CST) at the Blessings Golf Club. Live television coverage of tomorrow’s round can be seen on the GOLF Channel from 3 to 7 p.m. CT.