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. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stanford wins the Western Intercollegiate at famed Pasatiempo and Cameron Wilson is individual champion

Stanford competitors
Team and Cameron's individual win photo - click to enlarge

Final Results
Stanford continued its strong late season run with another big win, its fourth of the season and second in a row, by 16 strokes over Bay Area rival Cal and by 18 over Washington.  In the last 17 seasons, only one team surpassed 4 season wins and that was the national champion 2006-07 team which had 7 season victories.  The Cardinal blitzed the field with a tourney low 6-under par 344 displaying strong depth by getting solid contributions from all 6 players.
Top 3 team and individual scores - click to enlarge

And once again as in so many tournaments the past two years Cameron Wilson (67-67-69 203 1st) and Patrick Rodgers (65-69-71 205 2nd) competed for an individual title, and this time Cameron birdied the final two holes to take the title by two shots over Patrick, giving Cameron his second win of the season. reported on the two man competition:

“It was kind of bizarre battling for the title with one of my teammates,” Wilson said. “Usually, I’m rooting for Patrick so hard and I still found myself rooting for him all day. It was an unusual situation with Patrick being one of my good friends and someone who I have so much respect for. He told me after the round how happy he was for me and how proud he was of my round today.”

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.

“It was a really up and down round, and I made some fortunate pars on the first couple of holes,” said Wilson, who hooked his first two tee shots to opposite fairways. “I played steady for the next 10 or 11 holes and missed a few birdie looks inside 10 feet.”

Wilson dropped a couple iron shots on 14 and 15, three-putting each of those holes. A 10-foot downhill putt on the three-tiered 16th green saved par from the back rough, but his next two holes would seal the deal.

A chip-in on 17 for birdie came before draining a 14-footer to birdie the par-3 18th.

“The 17th was the turning point. I knew I had to chip that in to have a chance to win,” Wilson said.

Rodgers nearly sank his birdie putt on 17 to even things heading into the final hole. Rodgers bogeyed three of his last four holes.

Cameron Wilson's winning scorecards - click to enlarge

Freshman Maverick McNealy (71-69-67 207 T6) had another impressive result highlighted by a final round 67 as he tied for 6th to follow up his tie for 4th at the recent Stanford hosted Goodwin event.  David Boote (70-71-70 211 T15) was solid once again while Jim Liu (82-73-67 222 T60) finished strongly with a final round 67 which included a sparkling 31 on his front nine.  Viraat Badhwar had rounds of 74-75-73 222 to tie for 60th as well.

Playing as individuals, Dominic Francks had a fine tournament with rounds of 70-71-74 215 to tie for  33rd and Patrick Grimes improved after his first round 79 with rounds of 72-72 to total 223 and tie for 68th.
Final round scorecards - click to enlarge

Next up in two weeks is the Pac-12 championship played at the Gallery GC in Arizona where the Cardinal will look to continue it's winning ways when the format will once again including 6 players with 5 scores counting each round.   

First and Second Round Results
The Cardinal took over first place by 6 strokes over Washington and 8 over California after the first 36-hole day of play in this event which includes 6 players from each team competing with 5 scores counting.  Team scoring is shown below.
Team scoring - first two rounds (click to enlarge)
Once again All-Americans Patrick Rodgers (65-69 134 T1) and Cameron Wilson (67-67 134 T1) led the way as they are in a 3-way tie for first place at 6-under par 134.  Maverick McNealy (71-69 140 T14) is at even par 140, David Boote (70-71 141 T18) one-over at 141, Viraat Badhwar (74-75 149 T66) is tied for 66th and Jim Liu (82-73 155 86th) sits in 86th place.

Patrick is looking for his 4th straight individual title and 5th on the season while Cameron is looking for his 2nd win of the year.  Their scoring averages on the season are nearly identical at 69.58 and 69.88 with Patrick having a slight edge.

Playing as individuals Dominic Francks (70-71 141 T18) had an excellent first two rounds to tie for 18th and Patrick Grimes is tied for 79th after his rounds of 79-72 151.

“The guys played well today, and it’s nice to have a lead going into the final round in this very competitive field,” said Conrad Ray, the Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf. “I was proud of the way that we hung in there and eliminated big mistakes today. We dropped a few shots on the last hole, but nonetheless are happy with how the day turned out. There is a lot of golf left.

“We had solid contributions from everyone on the team, and it will be neat to see Cameron and Patrick fight it out for the individual title.”

Round two scorecards are shown below.
Round Two Scorecards - click to enlarge

The Tournament
• Hosted by San Jose State, the Western Intercollegiate is the longest running college golf tournament west of the Mississippi River. Returning to the famed Alister MacKenzie-designed Pasatiempo Golf Club for the 68th year, this season’s edition boasts a field with five of the nation’s top-20 teams, including No. 6 Stanford and No. 3 Cal.

• The 88 players representing 14 schools will play 36 holes Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. Team scores on the 6,615-yard, par-70 course will be calculated by a play-six, score-five format. 

• Stanford has won eight team titles, third behind San Jose State (12) and Fresno State (9).

• Cal won the 2013 Western Intercollegiate for its first title since 1950.

• Patrick Rodgers, who won the event in 2012, has a chance to join Joel Kribel (1997, 1999) as the only Cardinal to win multiple crowns.

• The Western Intercollegiate was originally conceived by the Northern California Golf Association as a means to give college players around the Bay Area an opportunity to play and gain tournament experience during Spring Break.

The Field
• The 14-team field includes No. 6 Stanford, No. 3 Cal, No. 17 Washington, No. 19 Texas, No. 20 USC, San Jose State, SMU, Arizona State, Memphis, Oregon, San Diego State, UC Irvine, UTEP, and Hawaii.

The Course
• Located in Santa Cruz, Calif., Pasatiempo Golf Club is regarded for its breathtaking scenery and deep-rooted golf history. Bobby Jones was one of the first players to hit from the first tee when the course opened in 1929.

• The course was designed by the famous English architect Alister MacKenzie, who claimed Pasatiempo was his best layout, ahead of even Cypress Point and Augusta National.

The Quote
• Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf Conrad Ray previews the weekend …
“The team is eager to participate in the Western Intercollegiate this weekend. We are all appreciative of the rich history of the event and the amazing test of golf that Pasatiempo Golf Course provides. The event also features a 6-count-5 format and hopefully the depth of our team will shine though and speak for itself with the extra score each round. The team has been focusing on the important shots in practice that they will see in competition as well as tuning up their speed control on the greens which is always very important at Pasatiempo. We look to keep the momentum rolling from a rewarding week at The Goodwin and would love to win two events in a row for the first time this season.”