Following its record-shattering win at the Gunrock Invitational last week, the No. 1-ranked Stanford women’s golf team looked to repeat its performance at the Juli Inkster Invitational in Fairfax, Calif. Though the Cardinal took some time to find their footing on the greens at the Meadow Club, an 11-under-par final round earned them a second-place finish, just one stroke behind No. 9 San José State.
Stanford struggled by its standards in the opening round, and the Spartans raced out to an early lead. But the Cardinal gradually gained momentum, turning in a combined score of 295. The Cardinal were seven-over-par going into the second round.
No Stanford golfer broke par in the opening round, although the No. 1 amateur in the world — freshman Rose Zhang — shot an even-par 72. Competing as individuals, junior Angelina Ye and freshman Caroline Sturdza also posted 72s.
The afternoon saw the beginning of the Cardinal’s comeback, as they bettered their score from the morning by 12 strokes. Posting a combined score of five-under-par 283, the Cardinal moved into a tie for sixth place and trailed the Spartans by 14 strokes heading into Tuesday’s final round.
At three-under-par and in sixth place, Zhang was the lowest individual for the Cardinal after the first day of competition. Senior Aline Krauter finished the day in 12th place overall, and junior Brooke Seay ended in 22nd.
Teeing off with the University of San Francisco and overnight leader San José State, the Cardinal sought to come back from their 14-stroke deficit.
And they almost did. Strong performances across the board allowed Stanford to cut into the Spartans’ lead throughout the day. In the end, Stanford posted an 11-under-par total for the round and nine-under-par score for the tournament, finishing a single shot behind the Spartans.
Individual medalist Camille Boyd of the No. 44 University of Washington tied the previous women’s course record with a score of 65 in the third round. She posted a total of 14-under for the tournament.
But Boyd’s round wasn’t the lowest of the day.
Stanford’s comeback efforts on Tuesday included a collegiate best for Zhang. The freshman broke the women’s record at the Meadow Club by a stroke, posting an eight-under-par 64 and finishing the invitational in second place.
With her performance at the Meadow Club, Zhang collected her sixth consecutive top-four finish to start her collegiate career. Her stellar season also included wins at the Molly Collegiate, Windy City Collegiate and Stanford Intercollegiate in the fall.
Seay posted the next best finish for Stanford, tying for fifth in her third-straight top-five placing. She posted a final score of three-under and recorded an eagle and three birdies for the Cardinal on Tuesday. Krauter rounded out the Cardinal’s top three with a tie for 15th place, scoring one-over-par.
Stanford will head to Papago Golf Club in Phoenix next for the Ping/ASU Invitational from March 25-27.