Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cardinal sends 6 players to the St. Mary's Invitational at Pebble Beach

In the final event of the fall season, Stanford sent 6 players to the St. Mary's Invitational being played at Poppy Hills GC in Pebble Beach against 17 other teams.  Poppy Hills has hosted many top events over the years and is sure to challenge the field.  As the course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. describes it, "Playing Poppy Hills is as close as you can get to playing a National Park."

The Cardinal team included Brandon Wu, Bradley Knox, Isaiah Salinda, Franklin Huang, Jeffrey Swegle and playing as an individual in his first collegiate event, Nate Menon.

Final Results:
Stanford finished off the fall season with an excellent performance finishing 2nd to USC at 22-under par.  The third round was historic for the Cardinal as it was the first time all 5 players finished under par and with Nate Menon's 70, playing as an individual, all 6 players in round 3 were under par.  This finish bodes well for the depth of the Stanford team headed into the winter and spring season.

Overall Brandon Wu led the way once again to finish in 5th position on round of 70-67-69 206, Franklin Huang finished tied for 8th with his 70-69-69 208, Jeffrey Swegle was tied for 14th with 73-68-67 209, Isaiah Salinda tied for 18th with 72-69-69 210 and Bradley Knox tied for 20th on rounds of 71-72-69 212.  Freshman Nate Menon's individual finish in his first collegiate tournament was tied for 38th with 73-73-70 216.

"It was a close race all day out there, and we fought hard," said Conrad Ray, Stanford's Knowles Family Director of Men's Golf. "USC played a really solid round and were just a little bit better. We had good contributions from everyone on the team, and  think this is good motivation for everyone to get better in the offseason."

Final team standings and 3rd round Stanford scoring are shown below - click on the image to enlarge.

Below is excellent reporting about the event by the Stanford Daily:
“We did a nice job on the par five’s at Poppy Hills,” Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said about his team’s low total. “The conditions were perfect for scoring as well, and after getting out to a solid start in round one, we continued the positive trend.” 
Wu followed the same trend as his team. He started out with a one-under 70 on Monday and then turned in a four-under 67 on Tuesday before finishing with a two-under 69. His seven-under total put him in fifth, but ultimately left him just one shot shy of a tie for second. 
Leading the Cardinal was business as usual for Wu this fall season. He came into the season with tremendous momentum after a big win at the prestigious Porter Cup over the summer. In the fall, he finished first for his team in all four major tournaments, including a tie for second at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invite where he lost by just one stroke to Oregon’s Norman Xiong. The junior had only one over-par round all fall and ended up in the top 12 of every tournament. 
“It has been a huge break out fall for Brandon,” Ray said about his new star. “It is a matter of time before he is in the winner’s circle and neat to see how he has stepped up to be our number-one guy.” 
Though Wu was tremendous, it was the depth and balance of the Cardinal that led them to a high finish at St. Mary’s. All five players recorded top-20 finishes at Poppy Hills. No other school even had five in the top 40. Additionally, the Stanford five all finished within six shots of one another. No other team had less than a nine-shot gap. 
Senior Franklin Huang came in just behind Wu with a five-under total that left him in a tie for eighth. Fellow senior Jeffrey Swegle finished at a four-under tie for 14th, one shot ahead of junior Isaiah Salinda who ended up in a tie for 18th. Rounding out the Cardinal lineup was senior Bradley Knox, who finished in a tie for 20th at one-under.  
“We have the deepest team I have ever had in my years of coaching one to 11,” Ray said about his team’s balance. “Each week, someone new has the ability to win for us and that consistency through the lineup will be a huge factor to take advantage of as the season progresses.” 
The combination of Wu’s consistently solid play at number-one and the team’s strong depth throughout the line-up led to a strong fall season for the Cardinal. Against one of the toughest tournament schedules in Division 1 Golf, Stanford recorded two second place finishes and one tie for sixth. Golfstat has the Cardinal currently ranked 11th in the nation.
“I think our fall results are promising and bode well for a successful spring,” Ray said. “To win, we will need to tighten up our ball-striking and and avoid the occasional big number which plagued some of our guys this fall.”
Final results - click to enlarge
Stanford gets back on the course Feb. 1-3 at the Amer Ari Invitational held in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Round 2 Results:
Stanford finished round two in 2nd position after a sizzling 11-under par 273 total, 1 stroke behind the leading USC team.  In the second round four Stanford players broke 70 led by a 67 by Brandon Wu (70-67 137 T3), a 68 by Jeffrey Swegle (73-68 141 T22), a pair of 69's shot by Franklin Huang (70-69 139 T10) and Isaiah Salinda (72-69 141 T20) followed by a 72 by Bradley Knox (71-72 143 T26). Playing as an individual, Nate Menon shot a second 73 (73-73 146 T44) and is tied for 44th.

See team and Stanford 2nd round scoring below.
2nd round team and Stanford scoring - click on image to enlarge
Round 1 Results:
Stanford finished round 1 tied for 2nd with a 1-under par 283 total, 2 strokes behind the leading San Francisco team.  The Cardinal was led by a pair of 1-under 70s by Brandon Wu and Franklin Huang who are tied for 8th three shots behind the individual leaders.  Bradley Knox shot an even par 71 to tie for 16th, Isiah Salinda is tied for 26th after a 72 and Jeffrey Swegle's 73 left him tied for 43rd.  Playing as an individual, Nate Menon shot a 73 and is tied for 32nd.

The team started on the back nine and all six players scored much better on their last 9 holes as a team total of 6 birdies on the back nine compared with 14 birdies and an eagle (by Brandon Wu) on the front.  See team scores and Stanford scorecards below - click on the image to enlarge.
Team scores and Stanford 1st round scorecards - click to enlarge

Click to enlarge