Pepperdine beats Oklahoma for men’s golf title

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Clay Feagler two-putted from 35 feet on the 18th hole to wrap up Pepperdine’s first men’s golf national championship in 24 years, a 3-2 victory over Oklahoma on Wednesday at Grayhawk Golf Club.

Pepperdine took an early lead on a sizzling day in the desert, allowed Oklahoma to rally, then closed with a flourish for its second national championship.

Oklahoma’s Jonathan Brightwell won the opening match 1 up over Dylan Menante, but Pepperdine won the next two matches, setting up Feagler to close out the championship and his senior season.

Leading 1 up, Feagler had to back off when someone popped open a drink before his approach shot, but he gathered himself and hit a 7-iron from 195 yards to the front of the green. He cozied the putt close enough that Oklahoma freshman Ben Lorenz conceded the match — and the title.

The Waves raced onto the green to celebrate with Feagler. Joey Vrzich, playing in the group behind, sprinted up the No. 18 fairway carrying his bag. Logan McAllister, who had his second ace in three days to take an early lead, won the final match 1 up over Vrzich, but it didn’t matter.

Pepperdine had its first national title since 1997.

The Waves needed a huge rally on the final day of qualifying to go from outside the cut line to the No. 3 seed in match play. The Waves rolled into the title match, beating Florida State in the quarterfinals and powerhouse Oklahoma State in the semifinals.

Oklahoma edged Illinois, then closed out Arizona State 3-2 in the semifinals

Pepperdine jumped out to a quick early lead in the title match, leading in three matches.

The Sooners earned the first point in a back-and-forth match.

Brightwell rallied from an early deficit to tie with consecutive birdies and went 1-up with a kick-in birdie on the 390-yard par-4 10th. Menante tied it with consecutive holes, Brightwell answered with two straight birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to go back 1 up, then closed it out by getting up and down short of No. 18.

One match for the Sooners, but the Waves were leading the other four.

Joe Highsmith started strong and never stopped rolling against Garett Reband.

The Pepperdine junior won three straight holes, the first two on bogeys by Reband — he hit near the 12th fairway on No. 11 — then a 10-foot birdie on the 12th to go 5-up.

Highsmith closed it out with a par on the par-4 15th.

Pepperdine’s William Mouw wanted to face Quade Cummins, a member of OU’s 2017 national championship team, in the anchor match and made the most of it.

Mouw made 15-foot birdie on No. 9 to go 1-up and dropped a 4-foot birdie putt to make it 2-up up on the par-5 11th. He won consecutive holes starting at No. 13 and clinched Pepperdine’s second point when Brightwell just missed a birdie putt on No. 15.

That gave Pepperdine a 2-1 lead and the last two matches were close.

McAllister seemed to take control of his match with the fifth hole-in-one of the tournament on No. 8 — he aced the 205-yard fifth hole Monday — and stretched his lead to 3-up on a bogey by Vrzich on No. 9.

The Pepperdine senior still had some fight in him.

Vrzich won four straight holes and went 1-up with the only birdie of the day on the firm-greened, 230-yard 13th hole. McAllister tied it with a short birdie on No. 16 and two-putted for birdie to go 1-up on No. 17, but the match ended on the 18th tee after Feagler won his match.

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