Sports

Stanford women make golf history with program low finish

 

The No. 3 Stanford women's golf team closed out a record-breaking week by successfully defending its title Tuesday in the Silverado Showdown at cool and rainy Silverado Resort & Spa.

The Cardinal finished with a 1-over score of 289 to finish with a program best 16-under total of 848 to claim a nine stroke victory over No. 5 UCLA in the 18-school tournament. It was the fourth triumph in five starts this spring, matching the season record set in 2013-14.

On Monday, all five Stanford players broke par for the first time in school history, combining for a record 12-under 276.

Four players earned top 20 finishes Tuesday, and Stanford's highest score all week was 76.

"It feels great," said Cardinal coach Anne Walker. "This is our eighth different lineup, so that speaks volumes about the strength of our roster and the quality of players we have from top to bottom. The top end is good because the bottom end is pushing."

The Cardinal began the last round with a five-shot cushion on UCLA. With light rain failing off and on, and tougher pin placements, scoring proved more difficult.

Freshman Andrea Lee, gunning for her fourth win of the season, took a one stroke advantage into the final round after posting 4-under 68s the first two days.

However, she double-bogeyed the par-4 first hole and played catch up the rest of the way. Lee almost pulled it off, playing the back nine in 1-under thanks to a 12-foot closing birdie putt at the par-5 18th, but came up one short.

Lee posted a 73 Tuesday to complete play at 7-under 209. Lilia Vu of UCLA and Hannah Kim of Northwestern tied for first at 8-under 208.

"I'm a little disappointed, but the team played great," said Lee. "I just have a few things to work on. I'm really proud of the way we handled ourselves this week."

Senior Casey Danielson continued her steady if not spectacular play by tying for fourth with rounds of 69-69-73 to end at 5-under 211. It was her eighth straight top 10 showing in nine starts this season and sixth top five performance.

"I'm so proud of everyone for working so hard, finishing things out and not taking anything for granted," she said. "We have a lot of talent on the team and it's just fun to see that come through. We've all been fighting to play well for each other."

Sophomore Sierra Kersten (71-70-75) tallied the best full-field finish of her Stanford career by tying for 13th at even par 216 with junior teammate Shannon Aubert (75-71-70). Aubert came through with the best round of the day and her top full-field performance of the season by making four birdies and two bogeys.

"Hitting it close, minimizing mistakes and a few dropped putts," Aubert said, when asked about the keys to her round. "Slowly things are coming together. It's nice to see some results on the course."

Freshman Madie Chou (76-69-73) just missed securing her fourth consecutive top 20 finish. She tied for 21st at 2-over 218.

Competing individually, senior Jisoo Keel (74-74-74) tied for 41st at 6-over 222.

While the victory was sweet, team members were still savoring Monday's memorable round.

"It was definitely a special day for us yesterday," said Lee. "To go out there and shoot 12-under as a team is just insane. Everyone played incredible golf. I think we even left a few shots out there, to be honest."

Added Aubert, "It's exceptional. But let's not forget about the girls back home who are just as capable. It's just awesome being part of a team with 10 people who can shoot under par at any time."

Stanford returns to competition at the Pac-12 Championships, April 24-26 in Tucson, Arizona.

— Mark Soltau/Stanford Athletics

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