CARLSBAD, Calif. — Illinois is the No. 1 seed in the match-play portion of the NCAA men’s golf championships after the Illini finished 16 strokes clear of the field following 72 holes of stroke play at La Costa.

The Illini will take on eighth-seeded Georgia Tech in a quarterfinal match Tuesday. The semifinals are also Tuesday with the championship match Wednesday.

The other teams qualifying Monday for match play were Vanderbilt, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State, Auburn and Ohio State.

This is the ninth time coach Mike Small’s Illini have qualified for match play since the current format was introduced in 2009, but the program still is seeking its first national championship. Illinois was runner-up in 2013 and reached the semifinals three other times.

In the individual competition, Georgia Tech sophomore Hiroshi Tai survived a triple bogey on his 17th hole with a closing par for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory over six players, including Illinois’ Tyler Goecke and Max Herendeen.

Tai became the fourth Georgia Tech player to win the NCAA individual title and the first since Troy Matteson in 2002. The victory earns him a trip to the Masters next year.

Tai, who spent two years in the Singapore Navy before enrolling at Georgia Tech, finished at 3-under 285.

Gordon Sargent of Vanderbilt, the NCAA champion last year, and Ben James of Virginia were the last two players who had a chance to force a playoff, needing birdies on the par-5 18th.

Both chose to hit 3-wood to be sure to stay short of water on the left, though neither had a chance to reach the green. Sargent was in deep rough and fortunate to get a free drop because his feet were on the cart path.

James missed his 15-foot birdie attempt and shot a 73. Sargent hit a wedge that spun off the slope to 6 feet. His birdie attempt caught the left edge of the cup and spun away. He closed with a 72.

Tai finished his round nearly two hours earlier. He led by as many as four shots earlier in the day, then nearly threw it away on the par-3 eighth, his penultimate hole. From a bad lie in a bunker, he sent the ball well over the green and wound up with a triple bogey.

“I still had one more (hole) to play and everything to play for the team,” Tai said.

He spent time in the clubhouse checking the Yellow Jackets’ chances of getting the eighth spot, then headed to the range to prepare for a playoff that never happened.

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