Stanford women’s golf took on its biggest challenge so far this season at the Ping ASU Invitational in Phoenix. Stanford went toe-to-toe with top programs, including No. 7 Arizona State, No. 8 Baylor, No. 14 Northwestern and No. 15 Oregon, and came out with a fifth-place finish.
The Cardinal played stretches of very good golf throughout the tournament, but ultimately could not rebound from a poor second round performance. The team finished six shots behind co-champions Arizona State and Oregon.
The Cardinal put on a display of quality golf in the first round, jumping to the top of the leaderboard almost immediately. Freshman Rachel Heck started on the back nine and recorded six birdies before she made her first and only bogey of the round. She finished with the lowest round of the day and the tournament: a five-under-par 67. Sophomore Angelina Ye also broke par with a score of 71.
Freshman Sadie Englemann and sophomore Brooke Seay added rounds of 72 and 74, respectively, to complete Stanford’s round one scoring. At the end of the day, the Cardinal was in first place with a one-shot lead over Arizona State.
The second day of the tournament was uncharacteristically bad for the Cardinal, who have been consistent in early season play. No Stanford golfer shot par or better in the second round, and the team shuffled seven spots down the leaderboard into eighth place.
The low score of the day once again belonged to Heck, who shot a one-over-par 73. She entered the final round in a tie for second place, one shot behind Northwestern junior Kelly Sim.
The Cardinal played well in the final round, but could not make up enough ground to catch the tournament leaders. Ye led the way with a score of 69 to cap off a top-10 performance for the week. Junior Aline Krauter bounced back from a tough second round with a bogey-free 70 and Englemann shot a one-over-par 73.
Heck held the individual lead for stretches of the final round, including portions of the back nine. She parred the first 12 holes before making a birdie on the par four 13th to take the outright lead. She entered the 15th hole, a reachable par five that she had birdied in the first two rounds, with a chance to get to six-under-par for the tournament. Unfortunately, Heck was unable to make birdie on the crucial par five and made a bogey on the subsequent hole. In the end, Heck was the low freshman in the tournament, and she finished in a tie for second place.
Stanford women’s golf has a couple of weeks off before its next tournament. However, four Cardinal golfers will be teeing it up in some big tournaments before then.
Englemann, Heck and Ye will compete in the second annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur, starting on March 31. If they make the cut after the first two rounds of play, they will compete on the famed grounds of Augusta National.
Krauter, the reigning British Women’s Amateur Champion, also qualified for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Krauter instead elected to play in the first LPGA major tournament of the year: the ANA Inspiration.
These tournaments will undoubtedly give the Cardinal golfers invaluable experience that they can take with them to their next tournament, the Fresno State Classic, which begins April 12.