Thursday, May 26, 2016

Stanford enters the NCAA Championship at the #1 seed

30 teams compete for national title - click to enlarge

Stanford enters the national championship at Eugene, Oregon, as the #1 overall seed after winning its last three tournaments at the Western Intercollegiate, the Pac-12 Championship and the NCAA Tucson Regional.  Junior Maverick McNealy, 2nd ranked amateur and a 1st team All-American, is joined by senior team captain David Boote, sophomores Franklin Huang and Jeffrey Swegle and freshman Brandon Wu.

A total of 30 teams will play 3 rounds of stroke play to determine the top 15 teams who play a 4th round to set the field of 8 teams entering match play.  Match play will be conducted over two days to determine the national champion.

Round 3/Final Results (by
The Stanford men’s golf team saw its season come to a close Sunday as it wrapped up the NCAA Championships in 28th place.

Stanford (292-294-298) was 18-over on the day and 44-over through 54 holes at the par-70 Eugene Country Club.

“It’s a team game, and we weren’t firing on all cylinders,” said Conrad Ray, Stanford’s Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf. “We’ll have to go back and see why that was, and hopefully it will make us better in the future. It’s disappointing, considering that our guys are motivated to win and motivated to have high expectations.

“I’m proud of our team. We put in a lot of hard work and preparation throughout the season. Sometimes it’s the way the game goes. Sometimes you do all you can do and it doesn’t go your way. It’s not losing, it’s learning.”

The 2015-16 campaign for the Cardinal featured three team wins, including a third straight Pac-12 Conference title.

Ending his Stanford career was senior David Boote, who led the squad with a 50th-place showing at 6-over. Boote (69-73-74) closed his final back nine at 1-over.

Franklin Huang (75-75-72, +12), Maverick McNealy (76-71-76, +13), Brandon Wu (73-75-76, +14) and Jeffrey Swegle (75-76-76, +19) each finished outside of the top 100.

McNealy matched Boote’s 1-over back nine while Wu was even on the final half. Huang’s 1-under on the front was four shots better than the next Cardinal in line.

Fifteen teams remain in contention after the third round of stroke play. Led by Vanderbilt, the 15 teams to advance to the fourth and final round of stroke play include Texas, Southern California, LSU, host Oregon, Arkansas, Arizona State, California, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Louisville and Oklahoma.

The Commodores remain atop the leaderboard after shooting a 2-over 282 to sit at 5-over after three rounds. Matthias Schwab carded a 3-under 67 to lead Vanderbilt, while Carson Jacobs shot an even-par 70.

Sitting atop the individual leaderboard is Oregon’s Aaron Wise, as the sophomore posted the lowest round of the tournament so far, firing a 6-under 64.

Drama ensued near the end of Sunday’s round as a five-way tie for 14th came down to the wire. TCU, which had been above the cut line going into the final hole, fell out and needed a birdie from Paul Barjon on the 18th to jump Oklahoma and remain in the field. However, Barjon was only able to make par.

-- #GoStanford --

Round 2 Results:
The Cardinal struggled once again with a 14 over par 294 team total and is tied for 26th out of 30 teams, 11 stokes off the cut line to the top 15 teams after round 3 and 23 shots behind the leading Vanderbilt team.  It will likely take a below par (sub-280 total) third round to make the cut, something only one team (Oregon with a 277 total) has accomplished thus far.  The four other Pac-12 teams competing are faring well in 2nd (USC), 4th (host Oregon) and two tied for 9th (ASU & Cal).

Round 2 was a struggle to make birdies as the 5-man team managed only a total of 6 birdies and one eagle against 3 double bogeys and 22 bogeys.  David Boote is tied for 33rd on rounds of 69-73 142, Maverick McNealy is tied for 98th after rounds of 76-71 147, Brandon Wu is tied for 109th with his 73-75 148 total, Franklin Huang is tied for 128th with 75-75 150 and Jeffrey Swegle is tied for 131st with 75-76-151.

The team leaderboard and Stanford scoring is shown below:
Round 2 standings and Stanford scorecards - click to enlarge
Round 1 Results:
Stanford struggled to a 12-over par 292 team total and is tied for 24th ten strokes behind the leaders after round 1.  Only David Boote managed to shoot a good round of 1-under 69 (T7) despite starting 3 over on his first nine, only to recover with 4 birdies on his last six holes.  The other five players finished no higher than tied for 72nd showing how unusual a day this was for the top ranked Cardinal.

“I didn’t hit the ball great on the front nine,” Boote said. “On the back nine, my putter got hot, which was the main reason for the good finish to the round.”

Brandon Wu shot a 73 (T72), Franklin Huang, with no birdies, shot a a 75 (T103) as did Jeffrey Swegle despite 4 birdies that were offset by two double bogeys and five birdies.  Maverick McNealy struggled to a opening nine of 6-over 40 including two double bogeys and came home with an even par 2nd nine for a 76 total (T126).

Comments from Golf Week's coverage:

Stanford’s Maverick McNealy with volunteer assistant Matt Wilson during the NCAA Championship at Eugene Country Club. - (Golfweek/Tracy Wilcox)
Stanford’s Maverick McNealy with volunteer assistant Matt Wilson during the NCAA Championship at Eugene Country Club. - (Golfweek/Tracy Wilcox)

“It felt like the longest putt I made today was 4 feet,” said McNealy, who has been battling a little cold this week. “I struggled to see the line, hit a lot of good putts that just didn’t go in. It was really just one of those days where – I hate to complain – I couldn’t catch a break.”
McNealy called his round one of the best driving rounds of the season, but it just wasn’t his day – good drives found divots, approaches just caught ridges and rolled back down away from holes and several putts lipped out, including some during a post-round session on the practice green.
“Honestly, I think if I play that round five, six, seven times over, 3 over is the worst I shoot,” McNealy said. “Everyone always says that, but I feel like I played a lot better.”
The good news: McNealy has put together consecutive rounds over par just once this season, at The Prestige. He followed an opening 75 with 65 at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate, and then shot a closing 66 after a 75 at The Goodwin this spring.
McNealy’s score was thrown out Friday, but Stanford still shot 12 over (that included senior David Boote’s 69), which puts the Cardinal, ranked third by Golfweek, 10 shots off the pace at T-24. There is no reason to panic, though, because Stanford will get a morning tee time on Saturday.
Coaches and players agreed that scoring was a bit tougher as the day went on Thursday, as the winds picked up and the greens dried out.
“Between the greens getting a little bumpy and crusty, and the wind, it’s definitely a number of shots harder,” Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said.

Much work remains for the top ranked Cardinal squad.  Round 1 scorecards are shown below:
Round 1 scorecards - click to enlarge

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