In the 49th installment of the golf tournament known as The Goodwin, played at the Stanford golf course, No. 12 Stanford men’s golf earned their first victory of the season, fending off No. 1 USC at home. Capitalizing on the home course advantage during the three-day tournament, Stanford led the field from beginning to end. The Cardinal held a nine-shot lead after round one, a one shot lead after round two and finished the tournament back at a nine-shot victory.
Junior Franklin Huang led the charge for the Cardinal in the victory, finishing the tournament tied for second place with a three-under on the tournament with 207 swings. Huang was one of just six players to be below par. He helped seal a Stanford victory when he went four-under in the final round.
In addition to Huang, the Cardinal’s victory had been led by their placement of three individuals in the top eight of the 126-player field. Senior Maverick McNealy finished at 210, good for seventh place at an even par, while fellow senior Viraat Badhwar tied for eighth place with a one-over score of 211.
As a team, Stanford went four-under, eight-over and seven-under in their three rounds, arriving at a total score of three-under. In the game-clinching final round performance, the Cardinal had three players below par, as Huang, Badhwar and sophomore Isaiah Salinda shot 66, 67 and 68, respectively.
That strong final round allowed the Cardinal to distance themselves from the second-place finisher, the USC Trojans. USC, the top-ranked team in the country, sat at fourth place after round one. The Trojans jumped into second place after round two, cutting the Stanford lead to one, but couldn’t quite find the magic to pull out the victory. USC carded a one-over final round, which didn’t measure up to Stanford’s low finish. The Trojans finished at six over par.
Behind Stanford and USC, rounding out the top five in a field with five top-20 teams were 15th-ranked UNLV (10-over), fifth-ranked Oregon (14-over) and 36th-ranked Washington (20-over).
When asked about the win, Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said, “It was great to pick up the first win of the year against the No. 1 team in the country and a field that included a lot of really good teams. More than anything, the guys played the course well. They used some of their home course knowledge to their advantage.”
Medalist honors were taken home by BYU freshman Rhett Rasmussen, who fired a tournament low 64 in the second round en route to a four-under finish overall and a one-shot victory.
Stanford’s victory – first in seven tries – comes after the team finished top-10 in all seven tournaments this season.
The team win for Stanford comes in the heat of the build-up to the postseason; the Pac-12 championship takes place April 28-30 and May brings on NCAA regionals and championships. However, before postseason play, the Cardinal are in action at the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz on April 8 and 9.
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