The women’s golf team came out strong at last weekend’s Stanford Intercollegiate, shooting an opening round 282 to hang with several of the favorites at two under par. With the Cardinal ranked just No. 43 in Golfweek’s collegiate rankings, the impressive showing was a pleasant surprise to many. But a tough day of competition in the second round sank Stanford’s title hopes, and the Card finished the tournament in 14th place in the 18-team competition.
This weekend, the Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge was a little like deja vu.
Freshman Mariko Tumangan came out firing at pins all over the course, making four birdies over her last seven holes to overcome some early slip-ups and finishing the round with a two-under-par 70. That left her tied for fourth place, just two strokes behind the co-leaders.
And junior Sally Watson–who won the Cougar Invitational in Stanford’s first event of the season last month–had a very solid round of even-par 72, which left her in a tie for 15th at the end of the first day.
But the rest of the team struggled a bit at the Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn. Junior Kristina Wong and sophomore Danielle Frasier shot matching 78’s–although Frasier was competing as an individual–playing the back nine in a combined nine over par.
Junior Marissa Mar and senior Lila Barton also had their share of troubles, with Mar shooting an 82 and Barton an 80. Mar unfortunately ran into big-time trouble at the par-3 14th. The Sacramento native settled for an 11 on the hole, taking a big chunk out of the Card’s day–without that one hole, Stanford would have been in third place.
Watson said that the whole group couldn’t quite ever get their game together.
“I think as a team we struggled,” she said. “I think we put too much pressure on ourselves and just need to trust in our ability and relax. We are, however, gaining a lot of valuable experience right now, which is going to serve us well in the spring. We know what we need to work on this winter to be successful, and I fully believe that come spring we are going to be ready to compete with the best in the country.”
The team’s up-and-down play continued on day two, as Tumangan took a triple-bogey halfway through her round and couldn’t quite bounce back, shooting a 77. Watson also couldn’t capitalize on her first-round success, carding a 78 that saw her bogey four straight holes on the back nine.
“My putting was really good the first and last day,” Watson said, “but unfortunately on the second day I made a few mental errors and missed four or five putts in a row from inside seven feet. Had I just converted a few of them my score would have been a lot better.”
Like many of her teammates, she did indeed bounce back in the third round, shooting a one-over 73 that left her in 39th place. And save for a lone double-bogey, Tumangan showed why she has impressed many, including her teammates, in her short time on the Farm–the San Jose native shot a final-round 74 to tie for 30th overall.
“Mariko is doing a great job as a freshman,” Watson said. “She is playing great and doing a good job balancing all of the traveling with school. I believe she is going to be a key factor in our team’s success this year.”
With Barton, Wong, Mar and Frasier all finishing at least 14 over par–with Mar and Barton at +21 and +29, respectively–the whole team is struggling with its consistency on the course. If Stanford hopes to compete for its first conference title since 1999 this spring–and it does appear to have the talent necessary to take a shot at favorite UCLA–it will need to find a solution to the inconsistencies.
The Cardinal will take another crack at a tournament crown next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kent Youel Invitational in Kapolei, Hawaii.