Friday, April 25, 2014

Stanford wins the Pac-12 Championship for 1st time in 20 years and Patrick Rodgers is medalist

Final Results
After starting the day with a 21 stroke lead, Stanford cruised to a 15 stroke victory over Washington to capture its first Pac-12 Championship in 20 years.  California finished a distant third 29 strokes behind the Cardinal.  Stanford now has won 4 of its last 5 events and has a total of five wins on the season, the most since the 7 tournaments won by the 2006-7 national championship team.

Stanford was led by its superlative duo of Patrick Rodgers, who won his 5th individual title this season (and 10th in his 3 year career, only topped by Tiger Woods' 11 wins), and Cameron Wilson who finished third, 3 strokes behind Patrick.

“This is a special group and they’ve had an unbelievable run this spring,” said Conrad Ray, Stanford’s Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf. “Patrick has been an incredible leader, and having both Patrick and Cameron finish in the top-5 together consistently is hard to beat. The freshmen have stepped up and contributed, which has helped carry us.

“I’m happy for these guys and happy for the program. This means a lot to all of us.”

The top three team and individual scores are shown below:
Final top 3 team and individual results - click to enlarge
Patrick fashioned a steady even-par 72 to win the individual title by 2 shots over Washington's Cheng-Tsung Pan who closed the gap with a 68 in his final round.  Patrick had rounds of 71-65-73-72 281 to finish 7 under par under tough conditions throughout --- his 65 was the lowest score by 3 shots in the tournament highlighted by 3 eagles on his final 9 holes. In his last 5 tournaments, Patrick has won four and finished second to teammate Cameron Wilson in one event.

“I couldn’t be happier for our team,” said Rodgers. “We’ve worked hard all year for this, and it goes back much further than the start of this season. All the guys who have put so much blood, sweat and tears into this program for the last 20 years dating back to our last conference title deserve a piece of this win. So many guys have worked their tails off and have put so much work into this program. Everybody is a huge part of this, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the Stanford program.”

Cameron continued his brilliant play firing a final round 68 that included 5 birdies and only 1 bogey.  In his last 7 events, Cameron has won once, finished third 3 times and been in the top 10 in every tournament.  Cameron had rounds of 72-71-73-68 284 to finish alone in 3rd place.
Patrick Rodger's winning scorecards - click to enlarge
Although led by the dynamic duo, this year's team is marked by strong depth of quality play from David Boote and the three freshmen, Maverick McNealy, Viraat Badhwar and Jim Liu.   In the final round Maverick contributed a 70, Liu a 72, Boote a 73 and Badhwar a 74.  Each of the four played integral roles in the team's success throughout the late season run of success as the team has won 4 of the last five events and finished 2nd by 2 shots in the other.  

Round 3 Results
Playing in gusting winds that sent scores higher for everyone, Stanford had the lowest team score for the third straight round, a 7-over par 367 total, and widened their lead to 21 strokes over California and 24 over Washington.  This year's team is showing excellent depth with all players making contributions and including the nation's top twosome of Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson.

A steady final round would give the Cardinal their first Pac-12 championship in 20 years.  The high winds raised the average score for the field in round 3 to 77.32, compared with 74.72 and 75.91 for rounds two and one respectively.

The top 3 team and individual scores are shown below.
Round 3 team & individual scores - click to enlarge
Patrick Rodgers (71-65-73 209 1st) continued his excellent play with a 73 which left him 5 strokes ahead of the field.  Patrick played his final 12 holes in 1-under par.  Cameron Wilson (72-71-73 216 T4) also shot a 73 in a round that included an eagle 3 on the 2nd hole and a steady even par back nine.  Stanford best round on the day was a 72 by Maverick McNealy (75-75-72 222 T17) as he was 2-under par for his final 13 holes.

“The putter was feeling good today,” McNealy said. “I missed a lot of putts yesterday and worked on a few things before today’s round to change that. We’ve been prepared very well for this. I got over my nerves after the first couple of holes yesterday. Playing with Cal and Washington made it a big day today. We did what we wanted to do by extending our lead, and we’d like to do that again tomorrow.”

David Boote (72-75-74 221 T15) with a 74 was next low for the team, followed by Jim Liu's 75 (DQ-73-75) and Viraat Badhwar's 78 (72-70-78 220 T11).

Round 1 and 2 Results
Led by Patrick Rodgers' amazing 3 eagles on his final 9 holes, after two rounds played on day 1, Stanford is in 1st place, 6 strokes ahead of California in what is looking to be a two team race, as the next closest team, Washington, is 21 strokes behind.  Scoring conditions were tough as the course is challenging and made much more difficult due to the gusting winds that led to high scoring for most of the field.  The top three team and individual scores are shown below:
Round 1 & 2 team and individual scores for top 3 teams - click to enlarge

The forecast is for even stronger winds of 20-30 mph for the third round, with gusts over 40 mph expected.  The winds are supposed to pick up in the afternoon which will increase the challenge facing the top 3 teams who tee off together, late in round three, starting at 11 am.

Stanford is led by a surging Patrick Rodgers (71-65 136 1st) who finished 8-under par and 6 ahead of his nearest competitor.   A dramatic eagle 2 on the par 4 8th and two other eagles on the front nine par fives led to a sparkling 31 (5-under) back nine for Patrick.  Viraat Badhwar (72-70 142 T2) has played solidly in the windy conditions and is tied for 2nd overall.  Cameron Wilson (72-71 143 T7) also played steady to continue his strong play throughout the season.

“It was fun playing some good golf with some good guys,” Badhwar said. “I holed a few, missed a few, but overall my game was good today.”

David Boote (72-75 147 T21) is tied for 18th despite a triple bogey on the par 5 15th hole, Maverick McNealy (75-75 150 T31) had a solid first round going until he double bogied the same par 5 15th and Jim Liu (DQ-73) contributed a solid 2nd round after being disqualified in the first round, a round that would not have been used anyway.

Background by
Pac-12 Conference Championships Friday-Sunday, April 25-27
Gallery Golf Club • Marana, Ariz.
Television • Pac-12 Network (tape-delayed at 11 a.m. PT on May 11)
Cardinal Contingent • Patrick Rodgers, Cameron Wilson, David Boote, Viraat Badhwar, Maverick McNealy, Jim Liu
Social Hour • • • • #GoStanford

The Lowdown
• Winners of two straight events and three of its last four, the third-ranked Stanford men’s golf team eyes its first Pac-12 Conference Championships title in 20 years when it travels to The Gallery (April 25-27) in Marana, Ariz. With five teams ranked among the top 20 in the nation, the competition should provide for an exciting weekend.

• Stanford is paced by the nation’s top-ranked golfer (Golfstat individual ranking) in junior Patrick Rodgers (69.58 stroke average, four medalist honors) and senior Cameron Wilson (69.93 stroke average, five top-5 finishes). Rodgers has won nine times in his career, including three straight tournament victories this spring. He trails the school record of 11 victories by Tiger Woods.

• Wilson, a recent selection for the Palmer Cup, is currently second in the latest Golfstat rankings. He enters the Pac-12 Championship coming off a victory at the Western Intercollegiate.

• Stanford will feature each of its three freshmen in this weekend’s lineup – Maverick McNealy, Viraat Badhwar and Jim Liu.

• The Cardinal has won four times this season. In the last 17 seasons, only one team surpassed four wins (the 2007 national champion team had seven victories).

• Arizona will serve as host of the 55th Annual Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championship.

The Tournament
• The 72-hole event will be held at the par-72, 7,349-yard Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Ariz. It will be the second time the tournament has been contested at Gallery Golf Club, the last coming when Arizona took team honors at the 2004 event. Tucson National was site of the 1994 event, while Tucson Country Club was site of the 1984 tournament.

• The top five individuals from each team with the lowest scores for any 18-hole round constitute the scoring members of the six member team for that given round. The team championship will be awarded to the squad with the lowest total combined score for all rounds.

Stanford at the Pac-12 Championships
• Despite earning the Pac-12 Conference team title trophy seven times, the league crown has eluded Stanford since 1994. For the 2014 edition, Stanford returns to Southern Arizona and the Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Ariz. The last Cardinal title was won 20 years ago just an hour south at Tucson National Golf Course.

• Stanford holds claim to 20 individual league medalists, tied with USC for the conference lead. The Pac-12 champions to wear the cardinal and white include Pete Choate (1960, 1962), Sandy Adelman (1969), Mike Peck (1977, 1978), Jack Skilling (1980), Don Walsworth (1986), Christian Cevaer (1989, 1992), Tiger Woods (1996), Jim Seki (2002) and Andrew Yun (2012).

• Stanford clinched the inaugural Pac-12 title in 1960 and has since won the conference championships in 1968, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1992 and 1994.

1994 • Tucson National Golf Course (Tucson, Ariz.)
1992 • Trysting Tree Golf Course (Corvallis, Ore.)
1977 • Stanford Golf Course (Stanford, Calif.)
1974 • Stanford Golf Course (Stanford, Calif.)
1970 • Mira Vista Country Club (Richmond, Calif.)
1968 • Los Angeles Country Club (Los Angeles, Calif.)
1960 • Stanford Golf Course (Stanford, Calif.)

• In 1996, Tiger Woods’ 61 at the par-72 Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif., was the second-lowest single round score in the history of the Pac-12 Championships. Only Paul Casey’s collegiate-record 60 in the 1999 league meet was lower. Woods was a Pac-12 Championships record 11-under in his round.

Last Time at the Pac-12 Championships - April 29-May 1, 2013
LOS ANGELES - Stanford edged Arizona State by two strokes to finish fourth at the Pac-12 Championships held at Los Angeles Country Club.

Heading into the final round, Arizona State had an eight-stroke lead but Stanford came back and fired 12-over while the Sun Devils shot 22-over to finish in fifth.

No. 8 Stanford (366-361-365-362-1,454) started and finished in fourth, carding a 54-over.

Throughout the tournament, the top three teams on the leaderboard remained the same. Cal took the title at 6-over, No. 5 UCLA was second and No. 7 Washington finished third.

Cameron Wilson (71-70-69-73) finished in ninth. First-round leader Patrick Rodgers (68-72-73-74) tied for 11th.

Steve Kearney tied for 24th overall. Two shots behind Kearney was defending tournament champion Andrew Yun, who tied for 29th.

David Boote tied for 45th while junior Shane Lebow tied for 66th.

The Last Time Out
• Cameron Wilson donned the blue letter jacket awarded to the Western Intercollegiate (April 12-13) champion after winning the event by two strokes over teammate Patrick Rodgers.

• Wilson’s second win on the season propelled No. 6 Stanford (-10) to the team title by 16 strokes over second-place No. 17 Washington. No. 3 Cal (+8) was third and San Diego State (+15) was fourth among the 14-team field.

• The lefty Wilson (67-67-69) was 7-under through three rounds at the par-70 track designed by Alister MacKenzie, the mastermind behind the famed layout of Augusta National Club. Rodgers (65-69-71) took silver honors with a 5-under and Maverick McNealy (71-69-67) tied for sixth.

• Wilson ended his final regular season as a Cardinal with birdies on the final two holes for a come-from-behind win over Rogers, who was riding a three-tournament winning streak heading into the finale at Pasatiempo Golf Club.

The Next Time Out
• The NCAA Regionals will be held May 15-17. The NCAA Men’s Golf Committee will select 81 teams and 45 individuals for regional competition including automatic qualifers (28) and at-large teams (53). Three of the six regionals will have 13 teams and ten individuals while the other three regionals will have 14 teams and five individuals. Five teams and the low individual not on an advancing team from each regional shall advance to the finals. 

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