ATLANTA, Ga. – Duke sophomore Adrien Pendaries put an early point on the board, but Auburn rallied and secured its spot in Wednesday’s East Lake Cup championship match with a 4-1 win over the third-ranked Blue Devils Tuesday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Pendaires was out of the gate on a tear, winning three of the first five holes and closing out Trace Crowe with a birdie on the par-4 12th to win 7 & 6. Pendaries was lights out, playing his 12 holes in seven-under par and not surrendering a bogey en route to the win.
"I had a solid birdie chance on one and I made a good birdie on two," said Pendaires about the start to his round. "But I've been playing well since I got here and I was fortunate to get off to good start today and kept it rolling from there. Today was as well I've played, it was a flawless round. I enjoy match play and I'll look to feed off today's round tomorrow when we play Oklahoma State. We're disappointed not to get a team victory today, but excited for the opportunity to play OSU tomorrow."
No. 14 Auburn drew even in the second match out as Jacob Solomon closed out senior Shrish Dwivedi with a 6 & 5 win. Sophomore Evan Katz was four down at the turn, but rallied with wins on the 10th and 13th to slice the deficit in half before Jovan Rebula won the next two to close out the win, 4 & 3.
Junior Chandler Eaton surged quickly in the fourth match for the Blue Devils, winning each of the first three holes with birdie to open a 3-up lead. Brandon Mancheno would rally, and won three of the final six on the front to pull even at the turn.
Eaton’s match would be back and forth on the back, as the Alpharetta, Ga., native took the 12th with birdie to get back his lead, only to surrender it with par on the 14th. He made birdie on the par-3 15th to get the lead again, but Mancheno won the 17th and 18th to win 1-up and clinch the overall match for Auburn.
The final match of the day between Alex Smalley and Wells Padgett was nip-and-tuck throughout, with neither player holding more than a one-hole lead at any point. Smalley won the ninth to take a 1-up lead at the turn, but Padgett birdied the 10th to square the match and his par on 13th gave him the lead again.
Padgett would close out Smalley with a birdie on the 17th to win 2 & 1.
Auburn will face No. 4 Alabama, which defeated No. 1 Oklahoma State, 3-2, in Wednesday’s championship, while the Blue Devils face the defending national champion Cowboys in the consolation.