Receiving strong contributions from all five players, the Stanford women's golf team started the 2015-16 season in impressive fashion Tuesday by securing a 10-stroke victory in the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational at the University of New Mexico Golf Course, hosted by New Mexico.
"Terrific all-around team performance," said Stanford coach Anne Walker. "We played with a lot of confidence and the quality of golf was very high."
Sparked by All-Americans Mariah Stackhouse and Lauren Kim, the defending national champion Cardinal finished with a 54-hole score of 20-under-par 856 to beat runner-up Northwestern (866) and third-place UNLV (870).
Stackhouse, a senior, closed with a 1-under 72 and finished second individually at 7-under 212, one stroke behind medalist Sarah Cho of Northwestern. Kim, a junior from Los Altos, shot 73 and tied for seventh at 5-under 214.
"No surprise seeing Mariah and Lauren at the top of the leaderboard," Walker said. "They are arguably the best 1-2 combo in the country and it's great to have them leading our team."
Four of the five Stanford players concluded with sub-par totals. Sophomore Shannon Aubert (76) and junior Casey Danielson (73) tied for 16th at 2-under 217.
The Cardinal also got a clutch final-round performance from junior Quirine Eijkenboom, who fired a 1-under 71 and tied for 69th at 15-over 234.
Stanford proved tough down the stretch. Stackhouse recorded four birdies overall, but three came on the back nine where she shot a bogey-free 3-under 34. Kim had three birdies, including the par-3 16th and par-5 18th holes. Danielson and Eijkenboom also birdied the last hole.
The Cardinal, ranked second in last week's Golfweek preseason poll, has three remaining fall events on the schedule. The team will compete in the Annika Intercollegiate (Sept. 27-29) in Kissimmee, Florida, will host the annual Stanford Intercollegiate (Oct. 18-20) and play in The East Lake Cup (Nov. 2-3) in Atlanta, Ga.