No. 15 Stanford men’s golf starts the spring season today in Hawaii at the 22nd annual Amer Ari Invitational. Competition will be stiff as the Card goes up against five of the top 10 teams in the nation.
“All the teams there are competitive,” head coach Conrad Ray told GoStanford. “It’s a type of course where you can make a birdie or an eagle or a couple of those in a row pretty quickly. I think if we’re about our own business, worrying about the course and just trying to shoot as low as we can, save shots, manage our team stuff mentally and manage the golf ball if there’s some wind, that’ll lead us to where we want to go.”
Last year Stanford placed third at 844 (-20), led by sophomore Patrick Rodgers. Rodgers won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year last season and earned first team All-American honors. This fall he captured the US Collegiate Championship and Australian Master of the Amateurs World Cup and was recently named to the Ben Hogan Award Watch List.
“I have been working hard this off-season and implementing some new things into my game,” Rodgers told GoStanford. “I chose to come to Stanford for many reasons but one of them is the depth of talented players on the team. I really look at all of our guys and take aspects of their games and try to learn from that.”
This time out Ray will start a lineup featuring Rodgers, seniors Andrew Yun and Steve Kearney, junior Cameron Wilson and freshman David Boote. Junior Shane Lebow will be competing as an individual.
Yun is the reigning Pac-12 champion and will be going to Hawaii for the fourth time in his collegiate career.
Wilson shot a course record 61 at the Gifford Intercollegiate in the fall after struggling with a back injury, earning him second place. The only other Stanford golfer to accomplish this feat was Tiger Woods.
Boote, the freshman from England, finished tied for third at the Pac-12 Preview.
Kearney nabbed the fifth and final spot to finish his career at Stanford with his first appearance in Hawaii. Always a consistently good ball striker, Kearney landed the spot by improving his putting game.
“We know there’s still a long ways [between] now and the NCAA Championship in May so the goal and the message I’ll be sending the guys is to try to pick up lessons as we go along,” Ray told GoStanford. “Great competition and the opportunity to test against a strong field will give you a lot of information of where you need to go.”
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