Sports

Stanford men hope to write their own NCAA golf history

Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson are among the top collegiate golfers in the nation. Throw in a few consistent performers like freshmen Maverick McNealy and Jim Liu and sophomore David Boote and Stanford has all the makings of a champion.

Stanford enters the NCAA postseason as the overall top seed. The Cardinal carries a streak of three consecutive tournament victories, including the four-round Pac-12 championship, into Thursday's opening round of the West Regional at the par-70 Eugene Country Club in Oregon.

The Cardinal, in its 16th consecutive regional competition, needs to finish among the top five to advance to the NCAA championships at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Kansas, which begins May 23.

The odds are in Stanford's favor. The Cardinal finished no lower than seventh in any of its previous 10 tournaments, and was fifth or higher eight times, including five tournament titles.

Rodgers and Wilson have been remarkably consistent with their high level of play through the season. Both golfers, in their final season with the Cardinal before turning pro, have finished among the top 10 in each of their previous seven tournaments.

Rodgers earned medallist honors five times, just off Tigers Woods' school record six, while Wilson claimed the top spot twice.

What helps win titles, though, is the combined efforts of all the Cardinal golfers. McNealy has shown consistent improvement in his scores all season and has finished in the top 10 of his past three tournaments, each time shooting under par.

McNealy, a Portola Valley resident who cut his teeth on the Stanford Golf Course, has shot even par or better in nine of his past 10 rounds

Liu has also turned in some impressive numbers, recording at least one round of even par or better in eight of the nine tournaments in which he has competed.

Boote, who has generally been among the team's top five golfers, has finished among the top 16 in each of his past two tournaments and has four top-16 finishes overall.

The Cardinal has won eight national titles and has been the runner-up in two other years. Stanford is looking for its first title since 2007.

Stanford will be joined at the regional by Houston, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Baylor, Big South champion Liberty, host Oregon, Tennessee, North Florida, East Tennessee State, UT-Chattanooga, Missouri Valley champion Wichita State and Big Sky champion Northern Colorado.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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