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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's golf advances to semifinals after win over Arizona State

Menante ACC Rd 1 (Mead) 05.JPG

Then senior Dylan Menante swings his golf club during the 2023 ACC Men’s Golf Championship at the Dogwood Course in Pinehurst, N.C. on April 21, 2023.

Photo Courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ.

The No. 2 North Carolina men’s golf team beat the Arizona State Sun Devils, 3-1, to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona, behind match wins by Dylan Menante, Ryan Burnett and David Ford. 

What happened?

As the top seed in matchplay, the Tar Heels took on No.8 seed Arizona State in the quarterfinals to decide who would be continuing on to the semifinals. Senior Dylan Menante and fifth-year Ryan Burnett were the first two Tar Heels to tee off at Grayhawk Golf Club and both found themselves adding a point for UNC.

Menatae was playing his fast-paced game and won his match over Arizona's Luke Potter handily, not even needing to play the final three holes. 

Burnett won his match by one hole, dropping from a two hole lead on 17 that he would take to victory on the 18th. His opponent, ASU’s Ryggs Johnston, had defeated the Tar Heel two years prior in the NCAA quarterfinals. This year, however, Burnett found a one hole victory with an 8-foot birdie on 16 that would cement his victory. 

However, while the first two Tar Heels made their way to early victories, the other three UNC golfers – Peter Fountain, David Ford and Austin Greaser – were all down in their matches entering the back nine. 

Greaser ultimately lost his match, having difficulty on holes 11, 12 and 18, giving ASU’s Josele Ballester a chance to take the match by two holes.

Both Ford and Fountain battled back from being down two holes and both took a one hole lead heading into the 17th hole. 

Ford, the ACC Player of the Year, battled back from being two holes down and won three straight — 15, 16 and 17 — and had a one up lead heading into the 18th hole. 

After a narrow miss by Michael Mjaaseth on a match tying putt at hole 18, Ford was able to deliver the winning point for North Carolina after battling back from being down two holes.  

Fountain did not need to finish his match, although up one hole going into the 18th, as the Tar Heels had already punched their ticket to the semifinals where they will face No.6 seed Georgia Tech. 

Who stood out? 

Menante commanded his entire match over Luke Potter, not going down at any point and finishing the round early, giving the Tar Heels their first point of the day. 

Ford sent the Tar Heels to the semifinals with his match victory over Michael Mjaaseth, after being down by two strokes.  

When was it decided?

Ford won holes 15, 16 and 17 to overcome being down by two and parred 18 to give the Tar Heels the final point necessary to advance to the semifinals and have a shot at the championship. 

Why does it matter?

In five must-win matches, the Tar Heels showed up and delivered, obtaining the three points necessary to propel them further toward the championship. With No. 1 Vanderbilt out of the tournament, the Tar Heels are the top seeded team going into the semifinals.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the semifinals on Tuesday evening.

@gracegnugent

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@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the UNC men's golf team would play against Georgia Tech on Wednesday, May 31. UNC lost, 3-2, against Georgia Tech on Tuesday, May 30. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.