Stanford men’s golf will return home from a lovely winter trip to Hawaii sporting a top-10 finish in the Amer Ari Invitational (278-285-278).
The Cardinal started off hot, shooting -10 on day one to put itself in a comfortable fourth place. Only USC (-12), Arizona State (-11) and Washington (-11) shot better days. Sophomore Maverick McNealy quickly jumped out in front of the Cardinal charge, shooting a clean -5 on the par-72 course. A 67 placed him at fourth for the day, and a bogey-free performance propelled the team to Friday’s match.
Unfortunately, Wednesday’s four top-50 Cardinal finishers were unable to hold onto their fourth-place spot as the team slipped to eighth on Friday. The team ended the day 3 under, for a total of -13 two rounds into the tournament. Washington, however, mounted a dominating lead on day two, shooting 19 under to improve their tournament total to -30. McNealy held rank, staying in the top 10 with a -3 in the second round for a -8 overall. Viraat Badhwar joined McNealy under par; he shot a -3 with one round to go, tying him at 24th in the tournament.
The third and final round of the tournament was Saturday. Here, the Cardinal faltered a bit but only slipped two places and finished the tournament tied for 10th. Stanford shot like day one and recorded a -10, collectively putting it at -23 for the tournament. Arizona State, however, came out on top, totaling a -38 under the Hawaiian sun. McNealy shot his tournament best of -7 to land him in second place overall. His performance was not new territory for him, however — it was his third 65-shot game and fourth top-5 finish with the Card.
Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf Conrad Ray was pleased overall with the performance but acknowledged some of the opportunities that snuck by.
“We hit the ball well all week but left some good shots out there with our wedges and putting off of the Bermuda grass,” Ray said to GoStanford.
The opportunity to show that improvement is fast approaching, as the Cardinal hit the course again this Monday in the Prestige at PGA West, hosted in La Quinta, California.
Contact Carlie Tenenbaum at carliet ‘at’ stanford.edu.