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Women’s golf struggles, men’s golf finishes fourth

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After their first few weeks of competition, it appears that both the men’s and women’s golf teams have a long ways ahead if they want to build upon their historic successes from last year and win national titles.

Santa Cruz, California, 04-12-2014: Stanford Men's golf during the 68th Annual Western Intercollegiate Golf Tournament at Pasatiempo Golf Club.
Junior Maverick McNealy (above) led Stanford to a fourth place finish at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational, finishing the weekend with a 66-72-68 score. (CASEY VALENTINE/isiphotos.com)

The No. 9 Stanford women’s golf team traveled to Kissimmee, Florida for a disappointing showing at the ANNIKA Invitational on Sept. 27-29, placing 10th out of 12 teams, while last week the No. 6 Stanford men’s golf team traveled to the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational in Portland, Oregon, where it tied for fourth out of 15 teams.

The Stanford women’s team struggled coming off a victory in its first tournament. The defending national champions didn’t appear to be sharp as they finished with a 9-over par total of 873 for the tournament.

Senior All-Americans Mariah Stackhouse and Lauren Kim led Stanford as they finished tied for 19th. Sophomore Shannon Aubert also recorded a team-low of 72 on the final day and finished tied for 28th.

The women were unable to gain much ground on their opponents, finishing with the 10th-most birdies of the field and no eagles.

“Our patience wore thin on and around the greens, and that took a toll on our ability to make birdies,” said head coach Anne Walker after the final day of play.

Though it was a tough tournament, the Stanford women are still the reigning Division I champions and a formidable team full of talented players. They will look to rebound to their previous form on home soil at the Stanford Intercollegiate, beginning Sunday, Oct. 18.

The Stanford men’s team on the other hand had a strong showing in Portland and notched its second top-five finish of the season, finishing fourth.

If freshman Brandon Wu felt any pressure during the final round of his first collegiate golf match, he certainly didn’t show it. Wu exhibited a veteran’s poise as he birdied his last five holes to finish the day at 3 under par. Wu cut his 18-hole score each day of the tournament, ending the final day with a 3-under 69. His impressive debut was a part of a strong and steady effort from the team overall.

Junior Maverick McNealy led the way for Stanford with a three-day score of 206, including bookend 5-under and 4-under par rounds on the first and third days of the tournament, for a fifth place finish. Senior David Boote, who matched McNealy’s opening 66 and tied for 19th, and sophomore Jeff Swegle, who finished tied at 31st at 2-under, also turned in strong performances.

For both teams, the start of the season has brought high expectations. However, no successes or failures in October mean anything in the springtime, when the NCAA champion will be crowned. Replicating strong performances from last year is no easy task, but both teams are talented enough to do so and will look to be competitive late in the season once again.

The Stanford men now look to carry their momentum into the United States Collegiate Championship in Atlanta, Georgia from Oct. 16-18. The field includes a strong USC squad and Nike Invitational winner Wake Forest.

The women will return to The Farm for the Stanford Intercollegiate from Oct. 18-20, hosted by former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice. No. 1 USC, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Northwestern and No. 6 Arizona will all be in attendance.

Contact Evan Burke at eburke3 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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