Men’s golf heads to Pac-12 Championships

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Stanford men’s golf travels north this week to compete in the Pac-12 Championships, held Monday through Wednesday at Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa. The Cardinal have improved steadily over the course of the season and are in prime position to vie for a conference title.

Stanford’s starting lineup will feature six golfers: fifth year Henry Shimp, senior Nate Menon, junior Ethan Ng, sophomore Barclay Brown and freshmen Karl Vilips and Michael Thorbjornsen.

Brown has been the Cardinal’s number-one golfer this season. After a small hiccup in his first tournament of the year, he has been on a prolonged hot streak. Brown finished in the top 11 in each of the last four events, including at the Cowboy Classic, where he shot a final-round 65 to pick up his first collegiate win. His exceptional play of late earned him an invitation to the Walker Cup, the most prestigious match in amateur golf. Brown will look to add to his stellar resume this week at Mayacama.

In the Cardinal’s last tournament, the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Club, Vilips stole the show. His putter caught fire in the second round, and he posted a five-under-par 65. In the final round, Vilips hung around the lead before a double bogey on the 17th hole dropped him into a tie for sixth place. Although he was unable to pick up the win, the freshman showed he can perform at an elite level on the collegiate stage.

A recent addition to the Cardinal’s starting lineup is Shimp. While Shimp has not started in all of the events this season, he is the most experienced player on the roster. In 2019, he was an integral part of the team that won both the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments. Most recently, he finished in a tie for sixth at the Western Intercollegiate. In his final round, he played a stretch of three holes in a remarkable four-under-par to jump up the leaderboard. 

Menon earned a spot in the starting lineup this week with a career-best finish at the Western Intercollegiate. Competing as an individual, Menon posted rounds of 70, 75 and 68 to tie for 13th place. As a senior, he will also bring valuable experience to the team at Mayacama.

The Pac-12 field is strong, but Stanford has fared well against conference competition this season. At No. 32, Stanford is the third-ranked team in the Pac-12 behind No. 9 Arizona State and No. 21 Arizona.  Additionally, the Cardinal boast a 17-9 head-to-head record against Pac-12 teams in tournaments this season.

Like the Western Intercollegiate, the Pac-12 Championships features a play-six, count-five format. This scoring system puts a premium on consistency, as two bad scores can derail a team’s chances of winning. All six Cardinal golfers in the starting lineup have recorded a top-15 finish this season, so the team should benefit from this format.

The Cardinal are set to tee off early Monday morning in Santa Rosa.

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Gavin McDonell is a staff writer in the sports section. He is a freshman from San Francisco, California who is considering a major in Management Science and Engineering or 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' stanforddaily.com.