Playing against one of the toughest fields in recent collegiate golf memory, Stanford’s women’s golf grabbed fourth place, finishing behind three conference opponents ranked in the top five nationally. Sophomore Mariah Stackhouse — who has historically performed well on the fabled Stanford Golf Course — finished tied for fifth in the individual competition, trailing only Pac-12 golfers.
The Cardinal was near the top of the team leaderboard all weekend long after getting off to a solid start in Friday’s opening round. Stackhouse was in a two-way tie for second after firing a 3-under 68, leading the team to a 1-under 283 cumulative score and a tie with Oregon for third place. Fellow sophomore Lauren Kim was the next lowest for the Card after shooting even-par 71, with freshman Quirine Eijkenboom, junior Mariko Tumangan and senior Marissa Mar — who played as an individual — all at 1-over.
Saturday’s second round, known as moving day in golf vernacular, was slightly less successful for the hosts but saw two teams have remarkable rounds. No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 USC put the field and the NCAA on notice that they will certainly be contenders come May, easily distancing themselves from the rest of the competition by shooting a combined 28-under par in Saturday’s frame. Though concerned first and foremost with her own players and the present, Stanford head coach Anne Walker couldn’t help but reflect on what was a great performance by her opponents and look ahead for what is to come.
“The buzz around the tournament was great,” Walker said. “We had the No. 1 and [No.] 2 teams in the country, both undefeated coming into this event, fighting it out for the championship with numbers that you rarely see. UCLA posted a 16-under for 18 holes…the lowest round in the history of their program, and then USC comes back with a ton of birdies in the last nine holes to post 12-under and take a commanding eight-shot lead. Even as a competing team, it’s exciting to watch this level of golf at your home course.”
Not only was the fight for first fierce but so was the battle for third between the Cardinal, Washington and Pepperdine. Ultimately, the Huskies squeaked onto the podium Sunday afternoon, propelled by top-10 finishers Charlotte Thomas and Jennifer Yang. Stanford finished four strokes behind its conference foes, while besting the Waves by five. Stackhouse also did not have the strong finish she was hoping for: After three bogeys in the first and second rounds combined, she carded four yesterday en route to a 1-over 72 score.
While Stackhouse’s final round was somewhat out of character, perhaps the most surprising part of the tournament for Stanford was the play of Marissa Mar. After being left out of Walker’s traveling lineup for most of last season and the early part of the current campaign, the senior would’ve figured in to Stanford’s scoring with rounds of 72-71-75. Had Mar been in the five-woman lineup, the Card would’ve been only one stroke behind Washington.
“Marissa works extremely hard, and she has been pushing the top five to get better,” Walker said before the third round. “Her experience as a senior is starting to show through her patience and present centered attitude. Marissa is playing great.”
Stanford will conclude its fall tournament schedule at the Nanea Pac-12 Preview, which starts next Monday in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.
Contact Cameron Miller at cmiller6 ‘at’ stanford.edu.