Thursday, June 4, 2015

NCAA Championship and Team Awards

The 2014-15 season has come to an end.  It is amazing how fast the year has gone by.  The team is now in the midst of finals for Spring quarter and will leave campus next week.  Here is a brief recap of the spring season.

After a solid fall and spring season, we once again qualified for NCAA Regionals.  81 Division I teams qualify for Regionals every year based on their ranking and win percentage.  With 6 Regional sites spread throughout the country and 13-14 teams at each site, 30 teams advance to the NCAA Championship by finishing in the top 5 at their regional.  This year we were sent to UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina where we were the number 2 seed in the field based on our Golfstat ranking. The team played well and we finished 2nd, comfortably inside the top 5.  We were led by Maverick McNealy who had his 6th win of the season.

After Regionals we had a short stay back on campus before returning to the Southeast for the NCAA Championship, which was held at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.  We arrived just in time to watch the women's team win their first NCAA Championship as they were also playing at The Concession.  What a day!

The Concession proved to be a tough test for both the men and women as scores were higher than usual.  The course required good driving and pinpoint precision on approach shots to multi-tiered greens.  If the course itself were not difficult enough, it was also well protected by wildlife as alligators, snakes, armadillos and other animals make their homes on the course grounds.  See if you can spot the gator in the photo here!

The field was particularly strong this year as each of the nation's top 18 teams qualified as well as 12 other teams, most of which were in the top 30.  We got off to a tough start in the first round and put ourselves near the bottom of the field. We bounced back with a better round on the second day, but were only able to move up a couple of spots.  After 3 rounds, the field is cut to the top 15 teams before being cut to the top 8 the following day.  After four rounds, the top 8 teams go to match play.  Despite being on the outside looking in, we felt we had a good opportunity to make the cut if we had a strong 3rd round. While we moved up several spots from a good 3rd round, we were unable to move up into the top 15 and missed the cut for the final round of stroke play.

While we were disappointed to miss match play, we look back on a very solid season this year with a young team that saw 2 freshmen, 2 sophomores, and 1 junior in the starting lineup for much of the spring season.  We will be sad to lose senior captain, Patrick Grimes, who is graduating with a degree in Psychology.  Patrick will be trying his mettle in the professional ranks and we are excited to track his play.  On the other hand, we are excited to welcome three hungry freshmen who will join the team in the fall.  Here are a couple of highlights from the spring.

  • 2015 Conference Champions.  We followed up the 2014 win by winning again, this time at Palouse Ridge Golf Course at Washington State University.  We were led by Maverick McNealy who won the individual title by an incredible 10 shots aided by a final round 61
  • Maverick was named the 2015 Haskins Award winner given out to the best player in college golf.  The final tally: 6 wins, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 4th and four other solid events
  • All 5 of our eligible student-athletes were named to the Pac-12 All-Academic team
  • Each of our 8 players were in the starting lineup at some point this year

Additionally, team awards were given out today.  Every year the team votes on 4 main awards: the Most Valuable Player, the Most Improved Player, the "Spooney," and the "Tradition."  A 5th award is given to the freshman with the low tournament stroke average.  Here are the results. 

  • MVP: Maverick McNealy
  • MIP:  Jeffrey Swegle
  • Spooney: Dominick Francks
    • The Spooney is given to the student-athlete who displays the most tenacity and has a never-give-up-attitude 
  • Tradition: Patrick Grimes
    • The Tradition is given to the student-athlete who displays leadership, strong work ethic, academic excellence, and an overall appreciation of the University and program
  • Low Freshman Scoring Average: Jeffrey Swegle and Franklin Huang 
    • Incredibly, both Jeff and Franklin had the exact same scoring average.  They each played 28 tournament rounds and took a total of 2026 strokes each.  Thus they both had a tournament average of 72.36

That's it for the 2014-15 season.  Stay tuned for updates on the team's play in their tournaments this summer!  Go Card!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pac 12 Champs Again! On to Regionals!

Last Wednesday the Card was able to overcome a 9 shot deficit in the final round to win the Pac 12 Championship for the second straight year.  The feat can be summed up best with one small fact: this is the first time in program history that we have won back-to-back conference championships.  The Card managed to weather the tough conditions and improved its team score every round despite a slower first round at Palouse Ridge Golf Course in Pullman, Washington.  Palouse Ridge served as a great venue.  It plays fairly open off the tee, but some substantial elevation changes and constant wind with firm and fast greens made it a stout test.  The course is surrounded by rolling hills and is located on Washington State University's campus.

The final round was special indeed as we had the best round of the day and of the tournament despite cold and heavy winds. While we trailed ASU by 9 shots to start the final round, we quickly caught up and were near or tied for the lead within 5 holes of play.  Maverick in particular came out strong going 4 under for his first 6 holes.  He would ultimately go on to tie the lowest round in Pac 12 Championship history, previously set by Tiger Woods, with a 61.  Maverick started the day with a 4 shot lead, but would go on to win by 10 and set the Pac 12 Championship scoring record in the process.

While Maverick's play was exceptional, the final round was truly a team effort as our highest score of the day was a 72.  Overall, freshman Franklin Huang turned in the second best tournament finishing in a tie for 11th while junior David Boote finished tied for 15th.  For full results, click here.

It was a great feeling to bring the trophy back with us to Palo Alto, but we have already turned our attention to NCAA Regionals.  With our Pac 12 win, we guaranteed an automatic bid to Regionals and our play throughout the season earned us a #2 seed.  On Monday we found out that we will be heading out to North Carolina to play the Finley Course located on UNC Chapel Hill's campus.  We are looking forward to the challenge as there are several strong teams in our regional including Florida State University, who is currently ranked #1 in the country.  With 6 regional sites across the country, the top 5 teams at each site advance to NCAA Finals, which will be held at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida at the end of May.  For more information on the NCAA Regional selection process click here.  The team is in full prep mode as we speak and we are hopeful for another great week in Chapel Hill.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Post Prestige and On to Cabo!

Andale !!! This is the best word I can describe the last few weeks for the guys! We have been busy and going strong.

The 15th Annual Prestige at PGA West at the Nicklaus Tournament Course was a huge success on many fronts! Friday we head to Los Cabos MX to boot … fast and furious for the Card.

The hospitality by Scott and Susan McNealy family during the Prestige along with the great Cardinal get-together hosted by Gary and Pat Ray were off the charts during the week. GM Chad Johnson and his staff at PGA West could not have been more accommodating as well and a huge thanks to all for making the event a memorable one.

The guys started a bit slow but came roaring back the final round and fun to see where that momentum will take us in the coming weeks. It is so much fun to be on the course with the team when we are having a day like that. The "mojo" as it is called was really high and everyone was having a blast! It was also special to have the entire roster on the trip (8 Cardinal strong), to be there to compete together and build camaraderie and team spirit. All the guys have been working hard and making progress. A special tip of the cap to Maverick McNealy for his third win of the year, final round 64, and for being named Golfweek's "Player of the Week" nationally. Great stuff!

We also were able to enjoy some really special times with the Dads of the team leading un the the Prestige during our second annual Stanford Golf Father / Son Showdown. 8 out of 10 Dads were able to make the trip to LaQuinta and good times were had by all. Thanks to all the Mom's and wives as well for letting this happen during Valentines Day! We are all very lucky to have their support too. Coach Brockington and his Dad Tom collected the traveling trophy in good fashion. It didn't hurt the cause when Graham birdied the last 6 holes of The Hideaway's Clive Course to put the final nails in the coffin. Well done Brockingtons! Patrick Rodgers and his Dad Charlie were saddened to split with such a majestic trophy but the much like the Stanley Cup … the show much go on.

Looking ahead, We have had a quick week on campus with a few quality practices planned before heading to the Querencia Collegiate in Los Cabos Mexico hosted by Arkansas and Houston. In March, things calm down a bit with winter quarter finals and then our event, The Goodwin at Stanford. 24 teams from all around the country will be competing and sun-up to sun-down action around the Stanford links, March 26-28. We hope you can make it.

Exciting times ahead for the young but talented Cardinal squad! Thanks for your support.

Coach Ray

Monday, January 26, 2015

Freshman First to Finish the Race to Hawaii

After four rounds on four different courses throughout the peninsula, freshman Jeffrey Swegle came out victorious in the annual Race to Hawaii.  Swegs carded a three-over par 74 at Menlo CC to hold off hard charging sophomores Maverick McNealy and Viraat Badwhar who both finished one shot behind after rounds of 72 and 69 today respectively. Scores for today were as follows:

V: 69
Mav: 72
Boote: 73
Grimes: 74
Swegs: 74
Tank and Dom: 75
Knox: 82

Total scores for all 4 rounds:

Swegs: 280 (4 under par)
Mav and V: 281 (3 under)
Dom: 284 (even par)
Boote: 285 (1 over par)
Grimes: 290 (6 over par)
Tank: 292 (8 over par)
Knox: 303 (19 over par)

Overall, Coach and I are pleased with the play of the team and we are looking forward to more great play on the Big Island when we tee it up in the first round on February 5th. Aloha. 

Be sure to follow our progress in the tournament on Twitter:


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Race to Hawaii Round 3

The third round of the Race to Hawaii was played at the Ocean Course at the Olympic Club and we were blessed with perfect weather despite being in the middle of January.  The course was in excellent shape and some steady wind made the course a tough test, yielding only two under par rounds. Scores were as follows:

V: 68
Grimes: 70
Swegs: 72
Mav: 72
Dom: 72
Tank: 72
Boote: 73
Knox: 77

After three rounds freshman Jeffrey Swegle continues to lead, with Mav and Dom within striking distance. Total scores for the qualifier are:

Swegs: 206
Mav and Dom: 209
Boote and V: 212
Grimes: 216
Tank: 217
Knox: 221

The Race to Hawaii wraps up tomorrow with the final round at Menlo CC just a stone's throw from campus. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Round 2 of the Race to Hawaii

It was a beautiful day at Lake Merced today for the second round of the Race to Hawaii.  There were some nice scores out on a difficult track!

Swegs 67
Dom 69
Boote 69
Mav 72
Grimes 74
Tank 75
Knox 75
V 76

While one freshman, Jeff Swegle, led the team today, the other two freshmen, Tank and Knox (above left and above right) could not match the salty veteran, junior David Boote (above center).  The team resumes qualifying on Sunday at the Ocean Course at the Olympic Club.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Race to Hawaii 2015

The spring season officially began for the Stanford Men's Varsity Golf team today as the team completed its first of four qualifying rounds in the annual Race to Hawaii Challenge.  The team will be playing for two open spots and four coaches' picks.  The first round was played at Stanford Golf Course today from the back tees.  Scores were as follows:

Mav 65
Swegle 67
Dom 68
V 68
Knox 69
Boote 70
Tank 70
Grimes 72

The top five scores combined for 13 under par. Not bad for shaking off the holiday rust!  Play will continue tomorrow with the second round of the Race to Hawaii at Lake Merced Golf Course.