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Men’s golf dominates home tournament

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The Stanford men’s golf team won its home tournament for the first time in six years Saturday, decimating most of the 17-team field in the process.

Holding a one-shot advantage over No. 22 St. Mary’s after round one, the Cardinal pulled away on Friday by shooting a combined 9-under 271 to build an 11-stroke lead over No. 8 TCU. Stanford was the only team to break par in the second round, creating what would be an insurmountable advantage.

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Sophomore Patrick Rodgers (above) placed second at 8-under 202 in the Card’s home tournament on Saturday. (NORBERT VON DER GROEBEN/StanfordPhoto.com)
The Horned Frogs did not go quietly, however. Led by individual tournament champ Paul Barjon, TCU fired a tournament low 11-under 269 in Saturday’s final round to get back in contention. Eli Cole and Julien Brun also made valiant last-ditch efforts for TCU but to no avail.

Stanford countered the TCU charge with a 6-under 274 performance of its own, holding on for a comfortable six-shot victory. The Horned Frogs were the only team able to get a sniff at the Cardinal; at 23-under for the tournament, Stanford defeated third-place St. Mary’s by 22 strokes and Pac-12 foes USC, Colorado and Oregon by 32, 36 and 37 shots respectively.

“The guys had a great finish [Saturday], and shooting 23-under on the Stanford Golf Course was really impressive,” head coach Conrad Ray said. “It’s great to have the momentum from a solid last tournament in Las Vegas [SH Collegiate Masters] and then to continue that into good play this week.”

Sophomore Patrick Rodgers continued his torrid play, placing second at 8-under 202, three strokes behind Barjon. While Rodgers carded consecutive 4-under 66s in the first two rounds, he settled for an even-par 70 on Saturday.

“It was a solid week for me but I still have a lot of areas to improve,” said Rodgers about his tournament. “I hit the ball well enough to shoot some decent numbers but didn’t get the most out of my rounds on the greens. In the final round, I putted poorly and failed to save a few keys shot that added to the total.”

Senior Andrew Yun, on the other hand, found another gear on Saturday, scorching the Stanford Golf Course with a 5-under 65. Yun, playing in his final home tournament, finished third at 7-under par.

“We’re really excited about the performances,” commented Ray. “Neat to see Patrick Rodgers have a chance to win, but also Andrew Yun sneak in there with a really nice 65 today. All in all it was a great team effort, hopefully we’ll keep it rolling.”

Junior Cameron Wilson carded his third straight top-10 individual finish by placing fifth at 5-under par, vastly improving on his 19th place performance at last year’s U.S. Intercollegiate. Again, Wilson was the most consistent of the Cardinal golfers, shooting 68-68-69.

“Lately I’ve been good at staying patient on the course,” commented Wilson on his steady play. “This makes it easier to make good decisions and not compound any errors. Hopefully I can improve on my scoring clubs but continue to stay out of trouble and be patient.”

Freshman David Boote also claimed a spot in the top-10 with a 3-under 207. The Surrey, England native bounced back nicely after his 10-over par showing at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters three weeks ago. Senior Steve Kearney, playing for the Stanford White (B) Team, made up for his opening round 74 with a 65 on Saturday, vaulting into eighth place in the individual standings. Overall, the Card had five players in the top 10, while USF was next with three.

“It was neat to see so many of our guys in contention for the individual title,” Ray said. “We had four guys in the top six, so to have that solid contribution from all the guys is really impressive.”

Not only were Stanford’s frontrunners on display; so was the team’s depth. The Stanford White (B) Team, lead by Kearney, defeated a top-50 team in No. 48 San Diego State and tied No. 47 Oregon, ultimately finishing tied for ninth in the team competition.

The team wraps up its tournament play at the Western Intercollegiate at the Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz April 13-14. Then postseason play begins with the Pac012 Championships from April 29-May 1.

“We just need to keep working hard,” Rodgers said. “We are improving as a team and have been all spring. I think from top to bottom we have gotten better, and each guy individually needs to keep working hard on his own games. This week was big as we look to build a little momentum heading into postseason play. I think we are building confidence and headed in the right direction for a postseason run.”

Contact Cameron Miller at cmiller6 “at” stanford.edu.

Cameron Miller is a sports desk editor for The Stanford Daily's Vol. 246 and is the men's and women's golf writer. He also writes on NCAA-related matters. Cameron is also a Stanford student-athlete, competing on the cross country and track and field teams. He is originally from Bakersfield, California, but spends most of his time away from the Farm on the state's Central Coast. Contact him at cmiller6@stanford.edu.