Brown claims individual title at Cowboy Classic

April 6, 2021, 9:07 p.m.

Stanford men’s golf spent two days in Chandler, Ariz. competing against 22 West Coast programs in the Cowboy Classic. After a strong 36-hole start on Monday, Cardinal sophomore Barclay Brown shot a sizzling 65 in the final round to win his first individual collegiate title.

Behind Brown’s dominant showing, the Cardinal placed fifth out of 23 teams.

The Cowboy Classic took place at Whirlwind Golf Club’s Cattail Course. At 7,334 yards, the par-72 Cattail Course was the longest yardage the Cardinal faced thus far this season, but the length did little to faze Stanford. In the dry desert heat, conditions were ripe for scoring.

After the front nine on Monday, it became clear that winning the Cowboy Classic would require a barrage of birdies.

Brown was up to the challenge. The sophomore came into the tournament fresh off strong finishes at the Bandon Dunes Championship and at the Cardinal’s home tournament, The Goodwin. Additionally, Brown was recently invited to compete in the most prestigious match in amateur golf, the Walker Cup, this May.

With sky high momentum and his golf swing in tune, Brown rolled to a two-under-par 70 in the morning round on Monday. He made six birdies and played the four par fives in a perfect four-under-par. Yet despite such a solid first round, Brown was five shots off the lead in a tie for 19th place. He would have to make a move in the afternoon round if he wanted to vie for an individual title.

And make a move he did. Starting on the back nine, Brown played his first seven holes in even par before catching fire. On the 17th hole — his eighth of the day — he made birdie, kicking off a stretch of seven holes that he played in five-under-par. In the end, he finished with a score of 67, which catapulted him up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth.

Before this week, Brown had never won a collegiate tournament. Last spring, as a freshman, he came excruciatingly close at the Cabo Collegiate. In that tournament, Texas A&M junior Walker Lee came from behind and closed with an eagle to clip Brown by a single shot. Even if he didn’t come away with the win that week, Brown gained invaluable final round experience.

This week, Brown would be the one to steal the tournament. In the final round, he played nearly flawless golf, riding a hot putter to the finish. 

After six birdies and no bogeys, Brown came into the final hole with a one-stroke lead. He striped his approach to within six feet. With his excited teammates watching and head coach Conrad Ray holding the pin, Brown rolled in the birdie putt for a two-stroke victory.

With his win, Brown became the first Cardinal golfer to pick up medalist honors since Isaiah Salinda ’19 won the 2019 NCAA Stanford Regional. 

Junior Ethan Ng posted five-under-par for the tournament to tie for 14th overall. Freshmen Michael Thorbjornsen and Karl Vilips shot at two and three-over-par, respectively, while senior Nate Menon finished at five-over-par.

Next up for Stanford is the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, beginning on April 12. The last time the tournament was held, in 2019, the Cardinal won by six shots.

Gavin McDonell is a former managing editor of the sports section. He is a junior from San Francisco, California who is studying Economics and Mathematics. His rooting interests include the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, Max Homa and of course, the Stanford Cardinal. Contact him at gmcdonell 'at'

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