After Saturday’s play was cancelled as Boulder turned into a cold winter wonderland, Stanford finished strong on Sunday but fell short of a miraculous comeback, taking second at the Pac-12 Championships. Nearly five inches of springtime snow at the par-70 Boulder Country Club in Colorado shortened the tournament into a 54-hole event instead of a 72-holer.
The seventh-ranked Cardinal shot the best score of the tournament on the final day to put the pressure on No. 9 Oregon, but fell just short as the Ducks finished three strokes ahead of the Cardinal.
Stanford started the final round at 26-over, 11 shots back of Oregon, but made up serious ground with an 8-under 342 team score, finishing at 18-over. Oregon was led by senior and top-ranked college golfer, Wyndham Clark, who took home medalist honors with a final score of 4-under (69-68-69).
Four of the five scored Stanford players shot under par on Sunday, propelling the Cardinal to an 8-under final round, better than any team over the course of the tournament by eight shots. The second-lowest score on Sunday came from Oregon, who finished at even par. All four of the Stanford players who broke par on Sunday finished in the top-10 individually.
“I’m proud of the guys and their tenacity,” head coach Conrad Ray said of the comeback effort.
“Oregon played well in challenging conditions over the last five or six holes. We had a chance, and that’s all we can ask for after being quite a bit behind to start the round.”
Junior Franklin Huang got better with each round, going 72-69-68, to tie for second place, three shots behind Clark. Senior Maverick McNealy had the low round of the tournament on the last 18 holes to bounce back from a tough second round, posting 71-77-65 to tie for fourth place.
Sophomores Isaiah Salinda and Brandon Wu also both got better as the tournament went on, both tying for ninth place. Junior Bradley Knox and senior Viraat Badhwar finished in 31st and 47th place, respectively.
Behind Oregon and Stanford, first-ranked USC and Washington tied for third place at 32-over, and UCLA was 38-over to round at the top five.
After hovering around 50 degrees for Thursday and most of Friday, temperatures dropped late Friday afternoon and snow began to fall, suspending play before all teams finished their second rounds. The freezing temperatures left several inches of snow on the ground on Saturday, and no golf was played. But on Sunday the weather cooperated, hitting 60 degrees and melting the snow to allow for play to continue, as players completed Friday’s play before starting their final rounds.
Stanford is back in action on May 15 at home, as the Stanford Golf Course hosts a regional for the NCAAs, something which happens only a couple times each decade.
Contact Jamie MacFarlane at jamiemac ‘at’ stanford.edu.