As expected, the Big Match between rivals Stanford and California proved to be as eventful as it was last year. In yet another down-to-the-wire golf thriller at Menlo Country Club this Wednesday, Cal found a way to pull off a narrow 3.5-2.5 victory over the Cardinal for the second time in two years.
First up in the competition for Stanford was the duo of freshman Angelina Ye and sophomore Ethan Ng. The momentum from Ng’s breakout performance at the Nike Collegiate Invitational last week continued into the Big Match as well. Ye’s putt on the 18th hole secured a tie against Cal’s James Song and Tzu-Yi Chang.
The Golden Bears’ early lead came against Stanford’s two San Diego natives sophomore Calista Reyes and junior Ashwin Arasu via an impressive 32-foot chip for birdie on the 18th hole by Cal’s Connor Golembeski.
Unsurprisingly, the Cardinal responded immediately in the next round of matchups. Sophomore Aline Krauter and junior Nate Menon earned Stanford its first full point of the contest over Cal’s Ryan Helgans and Maria Herraez.
In the spirit of battle royales that have come to characterize the Big Match, the competition came down to the final matchup of the evening. With the score tied up, juniors David Snyder and Ziyi Wang represented the Cardinal versus Cal’s Cooper Hunt and Sophia Lundell. Snyder’s highlight came during the 16th hole with a chip in to maintain a tie versus Cal.
The back-and-forth play continued into the 18th with the score all even between the two clubs. During the 18th, Wang’s well-stroked approach shot was matched by Cal’s Lundell, who also hit a beauty onto the green. With both golfers on the green, the game would slightly sway in Cal’s favor as Wang’s third shot fell short by about eight feet. Lundell’s putt happened to coast within two feet of the cup; his next shot hit par. With the game on the line, Wang’s final putt of the evening fell short a heartbreaking couple of inches, resulting in a nail-biting victory for the Golden Bears.
On Friday, Stanford women’s golf returns home for the Stanford Intercollegiate. The Cardinal will play host to 16 other participating teams including Arizona, California, Florida, Northwestern, Oregon State, UCLA and USC. The men will look to rally back on Oct. 18 in Alpharetta, Georgia, at The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational.