The No. 5 Stanford women’s golf team finished sixth at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Maui, Hawaii on Tuesday, lead once again by precocious freshman Mariah Stackhouse.
The Cardinal women entered as the highest ranked team in the tournament but fell to several Pac-12 foes including tournament champion No. 10 UCLA, No. 12 Washington, No. 14 Arizona State and No. 39 Oregon. The Bruins ran away with the team race on Wednesday, carding a tournament low 12-under par as a team en route to beating Washington by four strokes and Stanford by 35.
“Overall, we are a little disappointed with our play,” said women’s golf head coach Anne Walker. “We wanted the chance to at least compete for the title and we didn’t have that. On the other hand, we are happy to have another top 10 [finish] under our belts.”
The only Stanford golfer to break par in a round, Stackhouse was tied for fourth at 3-under 69 after the opening day of play, which included five birdies. After giving two strokes back in an up-and-down middle round, Stackhouse began the final day of play with bogey-birdie-eagle to move to 3-under par for the tournament. She went on to bogey 13 and 16 but made a birdie on her last hole, finishing tied for seventh—securing her sixth straight top-10 individual finish. The streak dates back to October and includes wins at the Peg Barnard and Julie Inkster Invitationals.
“Mariah had another terrific week and only continues to add to her run for [NCAA] Freshman of the Year,” Walker lauded. “It was an impressive performance. She has handled the pressure amazingly well; she is very mature.”
Fellow freshman Lauren Kim logged a very consistent performance, shooting 72-74-73 to finish tied for 21stat 3-over par. Kim overcame an inauspicious start to the final round—a double bogey on the par-4 7th—with birdies in two of her final four holes.
Her older teammates, however, struggled with the high winds on the Kapalua Bay Course. Sophomore Mariko Tumangan was +11 for the tournament, while junior Danielle Frasier and senior Sally Watson were both 14-over par. While the Card will need a complete team effort to be in contention in the championship tournaments, Walker is excited about the youth leadership on her team:
“The advantage of having a young team is the future looks great,” Walker said. “The disadvantage is often younger players make more mistakes; I don’t see that with this group.”
Stanford will next play in the PING ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. from April 12-14 before moving onto the Pac-12 Championships, Regionals and NCAAs. Pac-12s should be especially competitive, with eight conference teams currently ranked in GolfWeek’s top 50, including No. 1 USC.
The first-year coach Walker sees putting and chipping as the linchpin to the success in the postseason.
“I constantly tell the team that short games win championships,” she said. “This week, we didn’t score well because our short games were not consistent. That’s going to be the only focus for the next 6 weeks.”