By Andrew Tan
On Wednesday morning, No. 12 Stanford men’s golf won its fourth consecutive tournament with a comfortable victory at the NCAA Stanford Regional on its home course. Stanford finished the three-round 13-team competition with an overall score of 23-under 817, 12 strokes better than second-place Arizona State and North Carolina.
Senior Isaiah Salinda took home medalist honors behind an exemplary 10-under 200 from Monday to Wednesday. The victory was Salinda’s second career collegiate win, the first coming at the Western Intercollegiate.
Besides preserving the Cardinal win streak, which includes first place finishes at The Goodwin, Western Intercollegiate and Pac-12 Championships, Stanford’s triumph at the regional tournament secured the team a spot at the NCAA Championships at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas from May 24-29. The squad will look to continues its torrid run against much stiffer competition later in the month.
Through a combination of home-course advantage and stellar play from the Cardinal, Stanford led the tourney across all three rounds and only expanded its lead after the first round on Monday.
Stanford hit the links on Monday morning meaning business. The five-man team knew it held a significant edge over the field in knowledge of and playing time on the Stanford Golf Course and sought to take full advantage this disparity.
The Cardinal finished the first day at six-under 274 led by Salinda’s team-best four-under 66. Junior David Snyder and senior Brandon Wu pushed Stanford further under par with scores of three-under 67 and two-under 68, respectively.
Still, despite a strong performance out of the gates, North Carolina was hot on Stanford’s heel at five-under 275. An uncharacteristically poor first round from No. 2 Arizona State torpedoed the top-seeded squad’s chances at medalist honors as the Sun Devils’ top four combined for a mediocre three-over 283.
Tuesday was the home team’s chance to distance itself from the pack and put a comeback on the final day out of reach. The Cardinal achieved this goal with its best round of the tournament and the lowest single-day score of any team over the three days at 9-under 271. In doing so, Stanford virtually sunk its opponents’ hopes like it constantly sunk shot after shot and left the field scrambling for bids to that national tournament.
Considering the way that Stanford played over the first two rounds, Wednesday’s final round was little more than a formality. However, the Cardinal refused to treat the final day as anything other than an opportunity to completely suffocate other contending teams who it will see in two weeks at the NCAA Championship.
An eight-under 272 on the last day buried any miracle trailing teams might conjure and put an exclamation mark on the home careers of Salinda and Wu, who made their last starts on the course on Wednesday.
Now, this overachieving Stanford squad has a chance to do something that the program hasn’t since 2007: win the national championship. Stanford will have one more full week of practice before heading to Fayetteville to finish its season.
Contact Andrew Tan at tandrew ‘at’ stanford.edu.