May 18, 2004
The third-ranked UCLA men's golf team defeated No. 11 USC Monday in the second annual match play event, hosted by UCLA at Bel Air Country Club.
The Bruins won 4 and 2 with players at Nos. 2-5 winning their matches against their cross-town rivals.
"We're thrilled to win this event for the first time," said Head Coach O.D. Vincent. "Our players were motivated to beat USC."
Last year's event, hosted by USC at Riviera Country Club, produced a 3-3 tie decided on the final hole.
On Monday, the Bruins were ahead 3-1 with two matches yet to be decided entering the 18th hole. USC freshman Joshua Wooding had beaten UCLA freshman Joakim Renstrom, 3 and 1, but UCLA's Chris Heintz and Roy Moon had closed out their matches with identical 3 and 2 scores. Senior Steve Conway won his match at the 17th hole, 2 and 1, against USC's Nico Bollini.
UCLA senior John Merrick was 3-up with three holes to play before his opponent Scott Oxandaboure made a late charge. At the 16th, Merrick missed an eight-foot par putt for the win, and Oxandaboure drained his putt to cut the lead to two with two holes to play. Oxandaboure won the 17th with a 60-foot chip-in to bring his deficit to one down going to the 18th. On the final hole, both players were off the green - Merrick in the left bunker and Oxandaboure over the green.
"At this point, I knew I had to get-up-and-down to win the match," said Merrick.
Oxandaboure chipped to within two feet. Merrick blasted to three feet above the hole and made the par putt to win the match and seal the Bruins' victory.
"It was a great up-and-down by our best clutch player," said Vincent. (Merrick's up-and-down last season in the NCAA West Regionals at Washington National sealed a one-stroke team victory over Arizona.)
Senior Travis Johnson, playing behind Merrick, came to the final hole unaware of the score. Johnson's opponent, Ben Hayes, held a 1-up lead.
"I never led all day long," said Johnson. "Twice we were even."
The last time was at the 15th, but Hayes made a birdie at the 16th and held his 1-up lead through the final hole when both players matched pars.
Following are the results of yesterday's UCLA-USC match play tournament at Bel Air Country Club.
#6 Joshua Wooding (USC) d. Joakim Renstrom (UCLA), 3 and 1
#5 Chris Heintz (UCLA) d. Tyler Ley (USC), 3 and 2
#4 Roy Moon (UCLA) d. Taylor Wood (USC), 3 and 2
#3 John Merrick (UCLA) d. Scott Oxandaboure (USC), 1-up
#2 Steve Conway (UCLA) d. Nico Bollini (USC), 2 and 1
#1 Ben Hayes (USC) d. Travis Johnson (UCLA), 1-up