No. 4 Stanford men’s golf team protected its home turf the past three days, tying for first of the 13 teams competing in the NCAA Regionals at the par-70 Stanford University Golf Course. The Cardinal easily placed within the top five, as necessary to advance to Rich Harvest Hills in Sugar Grove, Illinois for the NCAA Championship May 26-31. The Cardinal placed all five of their players in the top 20, including three in the top five, out of the 73-person field.
In the first round, Stanford came out hot, shooting 9-under as a team to take a six shot lead over trailing No.9 Baylor. In round two, however, Baylor caught fire, putting together an incredible team score of 15-under to take a commanding 7-shot lead heading into Wednesday. But Stanford gave it right back to the Bears on Wednesday after just shooting 2-under on Tuesday, rattling off 17 combined birdies and an eagle to push their team score as low as 22 under par late in the third round, before giving several shots back and finishing at 17-under to tie with Baylor.
For the Cardinal, senior Maverick McNealy (65-67-70) came in third place at 8-under and made a run at the title on Wednesday. McNealy got off to a hot start, eagling the par-5 first in the third round and edging his way to 4-under through 15 holes, tying him with medalist Brad Dalke of Oklahoma (65-64-69). But the steam just ran out and the greens proved challenging as McNealy had 10 putts on the final three holes, en route to an 8-under finish. Despite the tough finish, McNealy was the rock who put Stanford in position to tie for first, and he finished second in the field with an impressive 16 birdies.
Also for the Cardinal, junior Franklin Huang (67-71-68) and sophomore Brandon Wu (70-71-65) both finished at 4-under for the tournament to tie for fourth place. Senior Viraat Badhwar (70-69-71) clocked in at T-12th with his even par showing. And sophomore Isaiah Salinda (69-71-72) rounded out Stanford’s deep lineup, finishing T-20 at 2-over.
Oklahoma’s Dalke cleared the field by three shots with his 12-under performance. Dalke set a personal collegiate scoring record in the first round with his 65, beating his previous best of 66. Then he did it again in round two, carding a 64. For the tournament, he shot 198, eight shots fewer than his previous best of 206.
Behind Stanford and Baylor at 17-under, rounding out the top 5 and punching their tickets to Illinois are No. 27 Pepperdine at 5-under, No. 15 Oklahoma at 3-under and No. 33 North Carolina at 3-over. North Florida’s Travis Trice will advance to NCAAs as an individual competitor after finishing at 1-under for tenth place.
Baylor’s 15-under second round shattered their previous record for lowest team score in NCAAs by nine shots. The previous record was set last year.
Contact Jamie MacFarlane at jamiemac ‘at’ stanford.edu.