Miraculous putt sinks USC in Arizona

first_imgThe Trojans seemed to finally have it in their grasp. The No. 13 USC men’s golf team, 13 months removed from its last tournament victory, was in a great position on the final hole of its title match with New Mexico in the 2010 Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship in Tucson, Ariz.Firing · Freshman T.J. Vogel won his singles match 5 and 4 over UNM’s James Erkenbeck Tuesday at the Callaway Match Play Championships. – Photo courtesy of USC Sports Information The Trojans and Lobos had split the day’s first four matches, leaving USC freshman Martin Trainer and New Mexico’s John Catlin to battle for the deciding point.Trainer was two holes up with two to play but bogeyed the 17th. Catlin made birdie to extend the match. On the par-four 18th, Trainer hit his approach shot to inside 15 feet while Catlin’s second shot left him over 30 feet from the cup.With members of both teams watching around the green, Catlin drained the long putt while Trainer missed his.“Shocked. Absolutely shocked,” USC coach Chris Zambri said about his team’s reaction to Catlin’s putt. “He had about 32 feet, putting straight down a big swell, and if he misses the putt we win, and he made it.”On the first playoff hole Trainer hit his drive into a cactus and made bogey. Catlin made par and gave the Lobos the tournament championship.“I felt like I should have won but I just kind of fell apart at the end,” Trainer said. “It was kind of a miraculous putt on the 18th hole for him but all credit to him.”Trainer’s loss in the final was the only defeat he suffered during the week. He won three straight matches over the first two days of the tournament to help USC reach the final.USC, seeded eighth in the 16-team field, defeated No. 9 Texas Christian University in the first round 4-1 with match victories from Trainer, freshman T.J. Vogel, sophomore Steve Lim and junior Matt Giles.Next up was top-seeded Stanford, ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Trojans squeaked out a 3-2 victory with wins from Trainer, Vogel and Lim.In the semifinals, Trainer, Lim and freshman Stewart Hagestad grabbed wins to help USC beat Colorado State 3-2 and advance to the final.Vogel and Giles won their matches against New Mexico State, but it wasn’t enough.“It’s certainly good preparation for the national championship,” Zambri said, referring to the match play format at the NCAA championship. “You can’t win a national title if you don’t win three matches in match play.”The Trojans were busy over the break as well, finishing in a tie for third at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters held March 12 to 14 in Las Vegas.Vogel turned in another impressive display in the desert, finishing second overall for the second straight tournament. His three round total of four over par was one shot behind tournament winner Jesper Kennegard of Arizona State.“My game is about as good as it has been,” Vogel said. “There are a few things I need to work on short game wise but ball-striking wise I’m at the highest I’ve ever been. I feel really confident.”As a team, USC shot 44 over par, nine strokes behind co-champions UNLV and UCLA.Hagestad shot 13 over and finished in a tie for 21st while Trainer posted a 31st place finish at 16 over par. Lim tied for 37th at 18 over and Giles shot 20 over to finish in a tie for 43rd.With two top-three finishes in the last week, the Trojans are heating up as they move into the stretch run of the season.“This gives us confidence that we can compete with the best, even though we’re young,” Vogel said.Zanbri agreed, saying he had high hopes for his team.“We’re definitely rounding into a team that has a chance to win a national title,” he said. “We can compete with the best teams in the country; there’s no doubt about that.”last_img

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