Stanford men’s golf heads to Albuquerque, N.M. this week for the NCAA Regional tournament at the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course. The Cardinal will need to finish in the top five to punch their ticket to the NCAA Championship.
Stanford’s starting lineup will consist of fifth year David Snyder, senior Nate Menon, junior Ethan Ng and freshmen Michael Thorbjornsen and Karl Vilips. Junior Daulet Tuleubayev will be available as a substitute.
Although the Cardinal did not earn an automatic spot in the NCAA Regional by winning the Pac-12 Championship, their regular-season results were strong enough to get the attention of the NCAA men’s golf committee. The committee picked Stanford as the sixth seed in the tournament behind Oklahoma, Arizona State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and New Mexico.
The tournament field consists of eight more teams, including Oregon State, Boise State and South Carolina.
Out of the golfers in the starting lineup this week, Ng boasts the lowest scoring average (71.47). While he has not yet cracked the top 10 in an event this season, he has been the model of consistency for the Cardinal, constantly posting scores in the red. In his last four events, he has finished in the top 20 three times. Most recently, he posted a five-under-par performance at the Pac-12 Championships to finish in a tie for 17th place.
Vilips is the only Cardinal golfer to play in every event this season. The freshman has three top-15 finishes on the year, including at the Western Intercollegiate. In the second round of the Western, he shot the lowest score of the tournament, a five-under-par 65. Although Vilips did not come away with the win, he got valuable experience playing in the final group and contending for an individual title.
Like Vilips, Thorbjornsen has been a fixture in the starting lineup this season. His season scoring average is 72.15, and he has three top-15 finishes. Thorbjornsen is also coming off his lowest collegiate round to date, a seven-under par 65 in the final round of the Pac-12 Championships. In his round, Thorbjornsen made six birdies, an eagle and just one bogey. With his ability to go low, Thorbjornsen is definitely a player to watch this week.
Menon enters into the NCAA Regional with a scoring average of 72.71. His best tournament of the season was the Western Intercollegiate, where he competed as an individual. In this first round, he shot an even-par 70 to beat every Stanford golfer in the starting lineup. In the end, he finished in a tie for 13th place and earned himself a spot in the lineup going forward.
Snyder will be making his first appearance in the starting lineup since The Goodwin in March. The fifth year will bring valuable experience to the team this week. In 2019, Snyder was an integral part of the NCAA Championship run. In that year’s regional tournament, he finished in a tie for second place to help the Cardinal win and advance to the NCAA Championship.
The Cardinal will begin their title defense early Monday morning in New Mexico.