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June 2, 2012PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. | In Alabama's final match of the day Saturday, senior Hunter Hamrick staved off a charge from his California counterpart to secure the Crimson Tide's spot in the final of the NCAA Men's Golf Championships at The Riviera Country Club.
Along with Hamrick's 1-up win, Alabama got another 1-up victory from junior Scott Strohmeyer, who made par on No. 18 to secure the Tide's second point. Cory Whitsett closed out Brandon Hagy with a birdie on the 17th for a 3&1 win.
"We knew every match could go to the 18th and I think every match went to 17," Alabama coach Jay Seawell said. "Everybody battled. It came down to our captain just hanging on."
Hamrick, from Montgomery, opened up a 4-up lead after seven holes but saw Cal's Joel Stalter mount a charge over the final 11 holes. Stalter won the eighth with par, the 12th with birdie and 13th with par to get within one hole.
"I got off to a really good start," Hamrick said. "I birdied three in a row in the middle of the front nine and built a nice lead. I knew he was going to be a fighter. When I got up, I was trying to bury him because I knew he would push me until the end, and he did. I didn't mess up too much and he just kept coming at me."
The key hole was the par 3, 189-yard 14th. Stalter hit it stiff and forced Hamrick to connect on his putt to keep from squaring the match.
"He (Stalter) birdied 12, which I don't think anyone is birding 12 today," Hamrick said. "I hit a couple of bad shots on 13 and lost that hole. We got to 14 and I had to make about a 10-footer to tie the hole, and I made it. Right there, to keep my lead at 1-up, that was a big putt for me."
Justin Thomas fell 2&1 to Max Homa while Bobby Wyatt also lost to the Bears' Michael Kim 2&1.