Mariah Stackhouse helped make sure her last event as a collegian on the Stanford Golf Course was successful.
The senior All-American finished sixth overall and the Stanford women's golf team earned the chance to defend its national title by tying for first at the NCAA Stanford Regional Championships on Saturday.
"It's pretty special. I love this golf course," Stackhouse said. "It's always fun to play at home and have the fans come out and support us. It means a lot."
It was a little bittersweet for Stanford coach Anne Walker, who watched her two seniors help the 12th-ranked Cardinal earn a berth in the NCAA championships that begin in two weeks.
"If you get me talking about the last time those two are teeing up, it's tough," Walker said.
In a seesaw battle, the Cardinal and No. 2 USC deadlocked at 4-over 856 to secure trips to the NCAA Championships, which get underway May 20 at Eugene Country Club in Oregon.
"The goal is the same every year; to finish in the top six," Stackhouse said. "It's a grind for every team out there. You can be the No. 1 team in the country, come to regionals, have a bad event and not be playing."
Also advancing from the 18-team regional were Arkansas, Ohio State and Virginia, along with individuals Andrea Wong of UC Davis, Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest and Sarah Burnham of Michigan State. Burnham advanced with a birdie on the second hole of a sudden death playoff.
USC, recent winner of the Pac-12 Championships, has now won or shared seven-straight regional titles.
Playing in light rain for the second straight day, Stanford took a two-stroke advantage into the final round. The Trojans played a strong front nine to catch and pass the Card, but were caught on the final green when Stackhouse picked up a stroke with a bogey.
Stanford posted rounds of 289-280-287, while USC shot 287-284-285.
The Cardinal was led by junior Casey Danielson, who placed fourth at 2-under 211 after closing with an even-par 71. Stackhouse tied for sixth at 1-under 212 following a 73, while senior Lauren Kim recorded her best round of the week, a 2-under 69, to claim a share of sixth. Kim has not finished outside the top 20 all season.
"Making it to a regional is always a big deal; you always hope to be in the top six," Walker said. "To be at home and also play great; it was really thrilling. We have two terrific seniors making their last appearance at home and I can't think of a better way for it to end."
Sophomore Shannon Aubert (77) tied for 22nd at 7-over 220, and freshman Sierra Kersten (74) tied for 42nd at 11-over 224.
Wong, a senior from San Francisco, fired the low round of the tournament, a 65, to share medalist honors with Elizabeth Szokol of Virginia (67). Both wound up at 4-under 209.
Alexandra Cooper of San Jose State aced the 150 yard par-3 fourth hole.