University of Oregon Wins NCAA Men's Championship
Sulman Raza, whose fate it was to play in the final match of the final day at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship at Eugene Country Club, won the title for the University of Oregon in dramatic fashion by sinking a birdie putt on the third extra hole. Oregon had earlier tied the day’s matches, 2 all, with the University of Texas, which made Raza’s match the decider.
Eugene CC is the home course for the University of Oregon, and the team was clearly the hometown favorite, according to the large gallery.
Raza has competed in numerous PNGA championships, including three PNGA Men’s Amateurs, with his best finish being reaching the quarterfinals of the 2013 PNGA Men’s Amateur.
At the NCAA final match, Raza had tied his match with Texas’ Taylor Funk, son of PGA Tour pro Fred Funk, on the 17th hole and then won the match on the third extra playoff hole as sixth-seeded Oregon beat No. 1 Texas 3-2 in the championship match.
A junior at Oregon, and a graduate of South Eugene High School, Raza had an earlier opportunity to win the match but missed about a six-foot putt on the first playoff hole.
Funk’s approach shot on the third playoff hole, par-4 No. 10, fell way short, but he putted close for the par opportunity. But Raza had placed himself about eight feet away with his approach shot, and sank the putt for the birdie to win.
At the start of the day, Texas’ top player, Beau Hossler, had to concede his match to Zach Foushee without even teeing off because of a shoulder injury, so Texas had immediately lost one match before the day had even begun.
It was Oregon’s first national golf championship, and it comes under the guidance of former pro Casey Martin, also a Eugene native. “Overwhelming,” Martin said. “It’s such a great feeling that these kids get to have this experience for the rest of their lives, and I’m just so thankful I got to be a part of it.” Martin won a national golf championship in 1994 while playing for Stanford University, and was also a teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford.
Edwin Yi beat Gavin Hall, 4 and 3, for another UO victory. The Ducks caught a break for another win, as Beau Hossler of Texas had to concede his match against Zach Foushee because of a shoulder injury.
The Longhorns’ Scott Scheffler beat Aaron Wise, the NCAA individual champ, 4 and 3. And, just as Funk was blowing his one-hole lead against Raza, UT’s Doug Ghim beat Thomas Lim, 2-and-1.
Wise had won last summer’s Pacific Coast Amateur, which was also held at Eugene Country Club.
But, Raza came through in the clutch, just as he did in winning the final hole in the final match against Illinois in the semifinals, and the Ducks celebrated their national championship.