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With one putt, Arizona sends No. 1 Stanford home in eventful round of NCAA Golf


The quarterfinals of NCAA golf match play weren’t without drama Tuesday. Here’s how the action unfolded.

Arizona vs. Stanford

While Arizona snuck into match play Monday night and earned the No. 8 seed, the Wildcats took full advantage of the opportunity Tuesday. With four of the matches split down the middle, it came down to sophomores Angelina Ye of No. 1 Stanford and Gile Bite Starkute of Arizona, who were even for most of the day.

The competition peaked on the 18th hole. Starkute — who hadn’t trailed all day — had to take an unplayable, giving Ye a clear advantage. But Ye missed the two putt that would have sent her team to the semifinals, enabling Starkute to take the bogey and extend the match.

The two headed to the 10th for extras. Ye holed a critical putt, but Starkute, from the edge of the green, made a monster birdie to lead Arizona to the semifinals and bring an end to Stanford’s postseason dominance.

Arizona could be on its way to another Cinderella run, three years after the Wildcats won the team title as the eight seed.

Ole Miss vs. Texas

Despite Texas holding firm all day, the Longhorns were unable to deliver the knockout punch, allowing Ole Miss to make things interesting late. Fifth-year senior Kennedy Swann finished strong in her match and earned a point for the Rebels, while Julia Johnson’s birdie miss enabled Sara Kouskova to capitalize on the 18th and give Texas the much-needed point.

While Agathe Laisne had as much as a three-stroke lead through 13, Chiara Tamburlini found her way back to tie the match, forcing extras. It wouldn’t take long to decide the winner, as Agathe Laisne birdied the 8th to earn the point for the Longhorns. 

It was the matches between Andrea Lignell and Kaitlyn Papp and freshmen Smila Sonderby and Ashley Park that held all of the drama. Ole Miss needed to win both matches in order to advance to the semifinals. And win they did. 

Lignell spun one in against Papp to extend the match, and Ole Miss’ semifinal chances, even further. She then made par, before a routine tap-in by Papp extended the match.

Papp then had a big shot on the next hole that set her up for the birdie putt to send Texas through. Papp’s putt missed by centimeters, leaving the door open for Lignell. The two would remain tied through the 22nd hole of competition, where Lignell would sink the birdie and put a point on the board for Ole Miss — and the pressure on the freshman Sonderby.

Sonderby had been substituted in for Ellen Hume of Ole Miss on Monday after Hume had to bow out with a nerve injury. The true freshman proved to be up for the task.

On the 18th, Park missed the birdie, leaving the door open for Sonderby to walk through and take advantage. She birdied the hole to tie the match and extend Ole Miss’ run.

The two would duke it out all the way to the 21st, where Park missed the bogey putt, setting up Sonderby to complete Ole Miss’ comeback and send Texas home.

Duke vs. Arizona State

Defending national champion Duke took care of business easily against Arizona State, winning 3-1-1. Anne Chen led Alessandra Fanali all day, taking care of business for the Blue Devils and earning the point.

Gina Kim sunk her own putt to put a second point on the board for the Blue Devils and take the win over Olivia Mehaffey.

Phoebe Brinker then took care of business and advanced the Blue Devils into the semifinals to face off against Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State vs. Auburn

Compared to the rest of the field, Oklahoma State vs. Auburn was about as routine as it gets. 

OSU dominated this one as world amateur No. 7 Maja Stark took care of business for the Cowgirls. Teammates Lianna Baile and Rina Tatematsu also held their own and took wins in their matches. Isabella Fierro and Megan Schofill took 19 holes to decide their match, but eventually Fierro sunk one to take the win.

Elena Hualde had the only win of the day for Auburn.

Next up: The semifinals, with Duke taking on Oklahoma State and Arizona facing off against Ole Miss.