__STILLWATER, Okla.—__And then there were eight.
Eight contenders for the NCAA team title that is.
Thursday's third round of stroke-play qualifying at Karsten Creek GC narrowed the 30-team field down to eight schools advancing to match play. UCLA claimed the No. 1 seed with a 10-over 298 showing over the final 18 holes for a eight-over 872 total, three strokes better than Georgia Tech.
Defending NCAA champion Augusta State survived the bubble by two strokes, while 2009 champion Texas A&M wasn't so fortunate, finishing in ninth place, one stroke back of No. 8 Duke.
Surprisingly, perhaps, two Big Ten programs remain alive—Illinois and Ohio State—yet only one SEC school—Georgia—is still playing. Not so surprisingly host Oklahoma State, the heavy favorite entering the week, also has more golf left this week, although the No. 3 seed might seem like a bit of a let down.
Regardless of how the eight finished up stroke-play qualifying, however, all of them have an equal chance at taking the national championship come Sunday.
"The goal was to be playing come Friday," said UCLA coach Derek Freeman. "We're happy to be doing that and looking forward to match play."
Friday's quarterfinal round has some intriguing storylines:
Georgia Tech faces Augusta State in a rematch of last year's quarterfinal tilt, when the Jaguars defeated the Yellow Jackets, 3-2. Paul Haley and Carter Newman will play against each other for as second straight year (Newman winning 1 up) as will J.T. Griffin and Henrik Norlander, a match won by Norlander, 1 up.
Oklahoma State faces Ohio State. The Buckeyes are led by second-year coach Donnie Darr, who before being hired at Ohio State was an assistant for three years at Oklahoma State.
(All times Eastern)
__No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 8 Duke
__10 a.m.—Alex Kim vs. Austin Cody
10:09—Pedro Figueiredo vs. Julian Suri
10:18—Gregor Main vs. Wes Roach
10:27—Pontus Widegren vs. Tim Gornik
10:36—Patrick Cantlay vs. Brinson Paolini
__No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 5 Georgia
__10:45—Mason Jacobs vs. Bryden MacPherson
10:54—Thomas Pieters vs. T.J. Mitchell
11:03—Chris DeForest vs. Hudson Swafford
11:12—Scott Langley vs. Russell Henley
11:21—Luke Guthrie vs. Harris English
__No. 2 Georgia Tech vs. No. 7 Augusta State
__11:30—Richy Werenski vs. Olle Bengtsson
11:39—Paul Haley vs. Carter Newman
11:48—Kyle Scott vs. Mitch Krywulycz
11:57—J.T. Griffin vs. Henrik Norlander
12:06—James White vs. Patrick Reed
__No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 Ohio State
__12:15—Talor Gooch vs. Alex Redfield
12:24—Sean Einhaus vs. Michael Cress
12:33—Morgan Hoffmann vs. Dan Charen
12:42—Kevin Tway vs. Brad Smith
12:51—Peter Uihlein vs. Bo Hoag