The No. 1 Stanford women’s golf team dusted the competition at NCAA Regionals in Albuquerque, winning the 54-hole tournament behind four top-11 individual finishes, including a 6-under, medalist performance from freshman Albane Valenzuela. The tournament was played at the par-72 UNM South Championship Course this past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. With its victory, Stanford secured its spot as one of 24 teams competing in the NCAA Championships at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, from May 19-24.
The Cardinal fell three shots off the lead after a 2-over first round, trailing only Pepperdine after the first 18 holes. But the team came together to shoot 5-under in the second round to take a four-shot lead over the Waves heading into the final loop. Stanford kept at it in the third round, putting together a 5-over team score to finish at 2-over for the tournament, seven shots in front of runner-up Duke and 13 shots better than third-place Pepperdine.
In her successful quest for her first college victory, Valenzuela was the only player at the regional to break par all three rounds, carding rounds of 71-69-70, to clear the rest of the field by three shots. The recently named first-team All-Pac-12 selection didn’t let the 15-20 mph winds of the final round throw her off, as her 70 was the lowest out of all individuals.
Also in the field was Duke junior Leona Maguire, with whom Valenzuela tied for low amateur honors at the Rio Olympics over the summer. But in the NCAA Regionals, Valenzuela bested Maguire, who finished in a tie for sixth, by seven shots.
Also turning in top-11 performances for Stanford were fellow freshman Andrea Lee, who shot 2-over (75-70-73) to tie for eighth, and senior Casey Danielson (72-73-74) and junior Shannon Aubert (72-71-76), who both tied for 11th at 3-over. Sophomore Sierra Kersten tied for 66th.
All teams from the top five advanced to NCAA championships. Cal and Miami tied for fourth at 24-over to punch their tickets to Rich Harvest Farms, just narrowly ahead of sixth-place North Carolina State.
Contact Jamie MacFarlane at jamiemac ‘at’ stanford.edu.