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Stanford men’s golf finishes fourth in strong field at Southern Highlands Collegiate
In Stanford's fourth place finish at 9-over at the Southern Highlands Collegiate tournament, standout sophomore Brandon Wu went 1-under 71. Alongside Wu were teammates Maverick McNealy and Isaiah Salinda, who had 5-under and 2-under respective scores which also helped lead the Cardinal to its top five finish. (JOHN TODD/isiphotos.com)

Stanford men’s golf finishes fourth in strong field at Southern Highlands Collegiate

On Wednesday, No. 10 Stanford men’s golf headed into the final round of the Southern Highlands Collegiate just six strokes back of first place, but was collectively 10-over-par in its third round to finish at 9-over for the tournament, good for a tie for a fourth-place finish out of 15 teams in a field with seven top-15 schools.

The tournament took place Tuesday and Wednesday and was hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas at Southern Highlands golf course. No. 7 USC came out on top, shooting an 11-under-par team score of 853 on the par-72 track, besting runner-up, No. 4 Oklahoma State by 10 shots.

Stanford had a hot start in round one, going 7-under as a team behind senior standout Maverick McNealy’s 5-under 67, sophomore Isaiah Salinda’s 2-under 70, and sophomore Brandon Wu’s 1-under 71. USC went 10-under as a team in round one, with four players carding rounds below-par. The Trojans were led by freshman Cheng Jin, the No. 3 player on their ladder. In rounds one and three, Jin posted scores of 3-under, and finished at 5-under for the tournament.

In round two, Stanford fared less well, shooting a 6-over 294, allowing USC to extend its lead to six shots at the 36-hole mark. Well within striking distance, Stanford couldn’t take make any magic happen and came in with a 10-over 298. On the final 18, all five of the Cardinal’s players finished over par.

On the round three struggles, Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said, “It was a disappointing day, but you learn a lot of lessons in situations like these.”

He remained optimistic on how the experience could benefit the team going forward, adding, “It was a challenging golf course, and the setup was as close as you would find to an NCAA setup. There’s a lot of golf left this spring for our team.”

Individually, Stanford’s top finisher was McNealy, who finished 16th with a score of 1-under. Wu was only two shots behind McNealy, at 1-over, and tied for 18th. Salinda cracked the top 25, tying for 25th at 4-over. Senior Viraat Badhwar tied for 37th with a score of 8-over and junior Franklin Huang finished T-42 at 9-over.

The overall winners were Cal sophomore Collin Morikawa and Oklahoma junior Grant Hirschman, both of whom tied for first at 6-under. Morikawa showed a strong start in the first round, going 6-under while Hirschman finished stronger, going 4-under on his final 18.

Rounding out the top five were third-place finisher 11th-ranked Texas Tech, and 33rd-ranked Pepperdine, who followed a similar trajectory as Stanford by posting a 9-under first round followed by two over-par outings, en route to a T-4 finish. Other notables in the field were No.5 Illinois and No.2 Florida, which finished in eighth and ninth with scores of 12-over and 20-over, respectively.

The Cardinal is back in action at home March 30th through April 1st, as they host the Goodwin at the Stanford golf course.

 

Contact Jamie MacFarlane at jamiemac@stanford.edu.