The No. 1-ranked Stanford women’s golf team wrapped up its fall season on Wednesday, competing in the Pac-12 Preview at Nanea Golf Club in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Despite missing four golfers, the Cardinal prevailed, posting a four-stroke win over second place USC.
Fresh off a trio of individual victories to begin her collegiate career, freshman Rose Zhang was not in the lineup this week at the Pac-12 Preview. Instead, Zhang was in Trinity, Texas, representing the U.S. in the Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. Alongside Zhang were three other Cardinal golfers competing for their home countries: sophomore Rachel Heck (U.S.), sophomore Rebecca Becht (Belgium) and freshman Caroline Sturdza (Switzerland).
The conflict with the Spirit Championship meant the Cardinal were not at full strength, but the lineup Coach Anne Walker sent out was still formidable — it consisted of seniors Aline Krauter and Calista Reyes, juniors Brooke Seay and Angelina Ye and sophomore Sadie Englemann.
In the opening round on Monday, the Cardinal cast any doubts aside by shooting a four-under-par 288 to take the lead.
Krauter paced Stanford with a three-under-par 70. After bogeying her first hole, she played mistake-free golf all the way into the clubhouse. She tallied a trio of birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth holes and added a final birdie on the 18th.
Close behind Krauter was Seay, who shot a two-under-par 71. In her round, she made four birdies to go against just two bogeys. Ye and Englemann contributed rounds of 73 and 74, respectively, as the Cardinal took a two-shot lead over USC into the second round.
Tuesday’s round saw the Cardinal post another under-par score and expand their lead to three shots.
Seay continued her consistent play, making just one bogey in her round of 70. After 36 holes, her total of five-under-par put her in a tie for second place.
Krauter shot an even-par 73 to move into a tie for fifth. Englemann recorded a 72, while Reyes registered a 76.
Heading into the final round, the Cardinal were in prime position. They held a three-shot lead over USC and six-shot lead over third place Arizona. Dating back to the NCAA Regional Championship last season, Stanford had won six straight stroke play events. Surely, Wednesday’s final round would be smooth sailing for the Cardinal.
It wasn’t. As the Cardinal made the turn to the back nine, they hit a roadblock. Seay bogeyed the ninth hole, Englemann bogeyed the 11th and Krauter bogeyed both the 11th and 13th. Meanwhile, in uncharacteristic fashion, Ye played a stretch of six holes in seven-over-par. The Cardinal were now over par for the tournament and trailing the Trojans.
The Cardinal needed to turn it around quickly or they would be in danger of losing their perfect fall season.
As the Stanford golfers reached the middle portion of the back nine, things started to fall their way. Ye maintained her composure and parred in from the 14th hole. Englemann played her last six holes in one under-par. Seay birdied the 14th hole to get within one shot of the individual lead. Things were looking up again for Stanford.
With a little help from USC, the Cardinal reclaimed the lead. By the time Krauter eagled the 536-yard, par five 18th hole, Stanford had all but secured the team victory.
In the end, Stanford finished at one-under-par for 54 holes, four strokes ahead of USC and five ahead of Arizona.
With a tie for third place individually, Seay collected the best finish for the Cardinal. Krauter and Englemann both tied for sixth, while Ye tied for 28th. Reyes placed 48th.
The Stanford women’s golf team came into the fall season with sky-high expectations, and it met, if not exceeded them. The Cardinal went a perfect four-for-four in tournaments, winning the Molly, the Windy City Collegiate Classic, the Stanford Intercollegiate and the Pac-12 Preview. Zhang, the top-ranked amateur in the world, cemented her reputation by winning three individual titles, while several other Cardinal golfers posted stellar scores throughout the fall.
Stanford will resume play in the spring at the Lamkin Invitational in Rancho Santa Fe, California. The Cardinal will tee off on Feb. 14.