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Men’s golf to close regular season at Western Intercollegiate

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After a strong showing in the Arizona desert, Stanford men’s golf returns to California to compete in the 74th annual Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz. The tournament marks the last regular-season event before the Pac-12 Championships and will be a great test for the Cardinal.

Stanford’s starting lineup will feature fifth year Henry Shimp, juniors Ethan Ng and Daulet Tuleubayev, sophomore Barclay Brown and freshmen fixtures Michael Thorbjornsen and Karl Vilips. The Cardinal will also send out five individuals — fifth years David Snyder and David Leede, seniors Nate Menon and Ashwin Arasu and freshman Jake Beber-Frankel — to play in the tournament.

Brown comes into the Western Intercollegiate as the man to beat. Earlier in the season, he posted strong finishes at both the Bandon Dunes Championship and The Goodwin. Last week, his hard work and perseverance paid off, as he earned his first ever collegiate win at the Cowboy Classic. In the final round, Brown’s putter caught fire, and he torched the course for a score of 65. Look out for Brown this week.

Behind Brown, Ng has the best scoring average on the team at 71.5. After recording a top-15 finish at The Goodwin, Ng fired two rounds of 69 at Cowboy Classic to hold eighth place heading into the final day. Although a round 73 dropped Ng into a tie for 14th place, his game seems to be in a great spot to contend in the Western Intercollegiate this week.

Two new additions to the Cardinal lineup are Shimp and Tuleubayev. Although the two golfers have not been consistent starters this season, both were instrumental in the 2019 NCAA Championship run and have valuable experience at Pasatiempo. In the 2019 Western Intercollegiate, Shimp shot back-to-back rounds of 68 to grab a tie for 11th place. Tuleubayev, who was just a freshman at the time, posted a four-over-par total for the three rounds to finish in 26th. Their scores helped Stanford cruise to a six-stroke team victory.

In this week’s competition, the Cardinal will not only be facing off against the other teams in the tournament, but will also be battling the golf course itself. At just 6,615 yards, Pasatiempo Golf Club may be the shortest test the Cardinal has faced all season, but it is far from the easiest. The Alister MacKenize-designed golf course is strategically laid out and has notoriously fast and difficult greens. The Cardinal will need to successfully negotiate these undulating putting surfaces if they want to make a run at a team title.

The Western Intercollegiate, hosted by San Jose State, is the oldest collegiate golf tournament west of the Mississippi River. The tournament has an illustrious history, with past winners including Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller, Mark O’Meara and Maverick McNealy ’17. The tournament receives national attention and will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel for all three days.

The tournament field consists of 14 teams, including Pac-12 foes Arizona, Cal, Oregon, USC and Washington. UCLA recently withdrew from the Western Intercollegiate “due to minimum players standards not being met.”

The Cardinal is set to tee off Monday morning in Santa Cruz.

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Gavin McDonell is a desk editor in the sports section. He is a sophomore from San Francisco, California who is studying Mathematical and Computational Science and Economics. His rooting interests include the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, Max Homa and of course, the Stanford Cardinal. Contact him at gmcdonell 'at' stanforddaily.com.