Monday, April 27, 2015

Stanford repeats as Pac-12 Champion & McNealy dominates to win by 10 in Pullman, WA

Palouse Ridge GC --- Click to enlarge
Repeat Pac-12 Champions for the 1st time ever!  Click to enlarge
Pac-12 Champs - click to enlarge Recap | GolfDigest RecapLive Scoring | Palouse Ridge GC

Final Results - by
PULLMAN, Wash. – Maverick McNealy tied a Stanford record with a 61 in the final round of the Pac-12 Conference Championships, earning himself medalist honors and catapulting the Cardinal men’s golf team to its second straight league title.
Final team scores and round 4 Stanford scorecards - click to enlarge

Stanford has now hoisted consecutive Pac-12 trophies for the first time in program history.
Stanford (362-348-346-340) was 4-under as a unit at the par-70 Palouse Ridge Golf Club, overcoming a 9-shot deficit heading into the final round to win by a 14-stroke margin over Oregon (+10). Arizona State led after the third round and finished third at 11-over.
The Cardinal was sixth after the opening round, tied for third after the second round and trailed only Arizona State by nine shots heading into the final circuit.
McNealy’s bogey-free round put him at 18-under for the 72-hole event, 10 shots clear of second-place Aaron Wise of Oregon. The 61 came after previous posts of 65-68-68, and tied the single-round school record shared by Tiger Woods and Cameron Wilson. It also set the collegiate course record at Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
Maverick's course record 61 - click to enlarge
It was an NCAA-best fifth win on the season for McNealy, who copped the program's 22nd individual league title and third since 2012.
Maverick's brilliant 4 scorecards + top ten finishers - click to enlarge
McNealy had 24 birdies and an eagle during the 72-hole event. He did not record a bogey during his last 30 holes, even while playing through consistent wind gusts eclipsing 20 miles per hour.
McNealy’s 262 strokes to win the individual crown set a Pac-12 Championships scoring record. Arizona State’s Paul Casey needed 265 strokes to win back-to-back crowns in 1999 and 2000.
Franklin Huang (73-70-67-71) tied for 11th, David Boote (75-69-69-70) tied for 15th and Viraat Badhwar (75-70-74-68) tied for 26th. Team captain Patrick Grimes (74-71-74-72) tied for 40th and Jeffrey Swegle, who was disqualified in the opening round, contributed scores of 72-68-70.
Maverick is soaked by Frank the Tank after record setting win - click to enlarge
Quotes from
“It was a team effort today,” said Stanford coach Conrad Ray. “It took six guys today and all of our guys contributed throughout the week, so really proud of the results and happy for them.” 
“It was exciting,” added Ray, as the Cardinal overcame a 16-stroke deficit to pass third round leader ARIZONA STATE. “I knew we had our hands full with ASU. They’ve got a really good team and they’ve won a lot this year and they’ve got some really good players. And to be able to track them down and be able to actually have a little bit of a lead coming down the stretch at 18 was a relief.”
“Our guys got off to a really good start today. That’s something we talked about last night. We knew that the wind was probably going to be in the opposition direction, which was a unique situation. We had that wind in the practice round and I think it really changes some golf holes, so we talked a lot about our strategy and where we wanted to leave our misses and it paid off.”
“The game plan for the start of the day was to be patient and to press my advantage when I got it,” said McNealy. “It felt great from the get go. I was thinking pedal to the metal, because obviously our team was in it and I didn’t really matter how the individual thing was shaking out anymore, but I wanted to get more birdies to help the team.”
“It’s awesome when a guy of his caliber goes out and gets a hot round going like that, on a day like today too, the conditions were really, really tough,” said Ray. “He was playing aggressively all week, and just because you have a lead it shouldn’t change your game plan. I think it’s sometimes easy, when you do have a little bit of a lead you get a glance of the leaderboard, to protect. He was in a spot where he put the gas down. He did that and it was pretty neat to see. Credit to him, he doesn’t play with much fear.”
Round 3 Results - by
Fear the Freshmen --- McNealy leads the way and Huang and Swegle give Cardinal boost

Individual tournament leader Maverick McNealy (65-68-68 201 1st) has a 4 shot lead over his nearest competitor and continues to lead the way for the Cardinal which moved into 2nd place, 9 strokes behind ASU.  

Freshmen Franklin Huang and Jeffrey Swegle joined forces to help carry the load for the Stanford men’s golf team Tuesday at the Pac-12 Conference Championships, with both student-athletes signing off on their first career red scores at the league tournament.

Huang was 1-under through seven and rattled off 10 straight pars before an eagle on the par-5 18th put him at 3-under for the day and even-par through 54 holes. Swegle had three birdies against one bogey for a stellar 2-under 68 at the par-70 Palouse Ridge Golf Club.

“I putted a lot better than my previous rounds, and my speed was really good,” Huang said. “I had 13 tap-ins, which helped my score. The eagle on 18 capped off a fun round. I hit a perfect drive down the middle and had 228 yards into the green. Hit a hybrid to the right and let it funnel down to left of the green. It would have been a tough two-putt from the fringe, but my first one went in.”

Huang and Swegle were two of four Cardinal performers to finish under par, joining Maverick McNealy (-2) and David Boote (-1).

“I didn’t get in the way of my game off the tee and kept it below the hole on the greens,” Swegle said of his round. “I tried to play my game and built off my second round yesterday to help make up some ground.”

Stanford moved up one spot to second in the team standings at 6-over after posting a 4-under 346. Only Arizona State’s 8-under bettered the score posted by the Cardinal. Arizona State is nine shots ahead of Stanford and 13 shots better than third-place USC.

Stanford will start the fourth and final round of the tournament Wednesday at 9:06 a.m. (PT).

McNealy takes the individual lead into the final round. McNealy shot his second consecutive 68 to move to 9-under, four strokes better than Cal’s K.K. Limbhasut and Oregon’s Aaron Wise. McNealy was even on the front and used birdies on 12 and 18 for his 2-under.

Boote bogeyed the par-3 sixth, which was the only blemish on his scorecard. Boote added a pair of birdies to finish at 1-under and tied for 22nd overall.

Viraat Badhwar and Patrick Grimes both shot 74 and are tied for 39th.

Third round Stanford scorecards are shown below - click on image to enlarge:
3rd round scorecards - click image to enlarge
Round 1 and 2 Results - by
Rolling on the Palouse --- McNealy tops leaderboard through 36 holes

Maverick McNealy caught fire early and never cooled down to open the Pac-12 Conference Championships at the par-70, 7,257-yard Palouse Ridge Golf Club. The sophomore with four wins this season signed off on rounds of 65 and 68 to hold the overall lead at 7-under while knocking in an eagle and 11 birdies, the most of any player through Monday’s 36 holes of action.

McNealy gained steamed when the cold morning went to the wayside by posting a 5-under 30 on the back nine. Part of that stretch included four birdies on the first six holes and an eagle on 18. Even more, he had back-to-back birdies to begin his second round.

One of the many consistent aspects of McNealy’s day was cashing in on scoring tries on the 18th hole.

“This morning I hit a three wood off the tee to the right-center of the fairway and had 280 yards uphill to the pin,” McNealy described. “Coach told me to rip one at the grandstand to the right of the green, so I smoked a hot one that got a good bounce left and curled up to about four feet. Made eagle to cap off a solid back nine.

“Smoked another three wood off the tee in the afternoon and had 250 yards to the pin, uphill, and it was playing around 262. I roasted a 3-iron and got a hot bounce forward instead of left. It ran through to the bunker behind the green. I tried to play it out sideways and it got caught on the end of the rough. That left me with a 30-foot downhill putt. I tapped it out of the rough with my putter and it went in for birdie.”

Washington State’s Derek Bayley (69-65) trails McNealy by one stroke.

Stanford (362-348) was sixth after the morning session and 14 shots better on its second circuit. The defending champion Cardinal was one of three teams to shoot under-par in the second round.

USC (-1) leads the 12-team field ahead of Arizona State (+5), Stanford (+10) and host Washington State (+10). Stanford will tee off Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. (PT) alongside Washington and Oregon.

Team standings after 2 rounds - click to enlarge
“I thought the guys struck the ball pretty well overall,” said Conrad Ray, Stanford’s Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf. “We were a little loose on the greens and missed a few opportunities with our chipping and putting. The team battled hard all day. Maverick has been our leader all year and played great today. He showed why he’s one of the best out there.”

Franklin Huang went 73-70 in his league tournament debut for a share of 22nd. His even-par second round included a four-putt.

Viraat Badhwar nearly aced the par-3 fourth from 190 yards out to start the 12-hour marathon.

“I struck a perfect seven iron, and the ball chased the flag before landing a foot short,” said Badhwar. “It bounced up and hit the pin. I had some good things happen after that. It helped, because I started off a bit rough this morning. It was really cold and tough to get the body warm.”

Badhwar is 5-over after rounds of 75 and 70. Senior team captain Patrick Grimes (74-71) is tied for 32nd with Badhwar.

David Boote (75-69) was six shots better in the afternoon and tied for 27th.

“I got off a hot start in the afternoon, and that give me the confidence I needed for the rest of the round,” Boote said of his two birdies through four holes in the second round. “I didn’t hit the ball much better, just played a bit smarter.”

Boote moved up 17 spots in the standings between rounds.  Jeff Swegle (0-72) had his first round discarded for some reason.

Round 1 scorecards - click to enlarge.  Swegle's round was wiped out for some reason
Round 2 scorecards - click to enlarge
The Cardinal brings its young team to Pullman, Washington, to defend it's Pac-12 Championship won last year for the first time in 20 years.  Two freshmen (Jeff Swegle, Franklin Huang), two sophomores (Maverick McNealy, Viraat Badhwar), one junior (David Boote) and one senior (Patrick Grimes) make up this year's team competing against an always strong group of Pac-12 teams that include 6 of the top 16 teams in the nation (ASU #5, Stanford #9, Oregon #13, UCLA #14, Washington #15 & USC #16).

The teams will compete on the home course of Washington State, a spectacular rolling venue designed by the late John Harbottle III.  From the course website --- "Much of Harbottle’s design philosophy was based on his study of courses in Scotland, which fit closely into the lay of the existing land. He strived to make the best use of natural features and to ensure that artificial ones created were indistinguishable from nature. Every effort was made to create a course that is challenging, but also enjoyable for the average player."

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