In a lot of collegiate sports, it would be unusual that a freshman would have the experience edge on a senior. But hey, this is golf.
Casey Danielson, the senior leader on a Stanford team ranked No. 3 by Golfstat found herself taking on freshman teammate Andrea Lee in a playoff for the individual title Monday in the East Lake Cup, an event pitting the final four men’s and women’s teams from last spring’s NCAA Championships.
Just this year, Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif. played on the U.S. Curtis Cup team, lost in the final of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur to South Korea’s Eun Jeong Seong and then was edged by Seong again, 1-up, in a tremendous quarterfinal match in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club. And oh yeah, she also played on the U.S. team that finished sixth in the World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico in September.
Danielson of Osceola, Wis. carded a 4-under 68 over the 6,249-yard, par-72 East Lake Golf Club layout, but was matched by Lee. It took six holes, but Lee finally outlasted her teammate on the sixth hole of the playoff to claim the individual title.
The good news is, the two helped the Cardinal earn the top seed for the semifinal matches Tuesday. In addition to the two 68s by Lee and Danielson, Stanford got a 1-under 71 from Shannon Aubert, a junior from Stuart, Fla. who finished tied for fifth in the individual standings, and a 75 from Sierra Kersten, a sophomore from Spokane, Wash., for a team total of 6-under 282. Stanford was able to toss a 76 from Albane Valenzuela, a freshman from Switzerland.
Stanford will take on defending national champion Washington, which finished fourth at 316, in one semifinal while the other semifinal will pit No. 6 UCLA, which finished second at 1-under 287, and No. 23 Duke, which carded a 2-over 290.
A couple of teammates on the winning Great Britain & Ireland side in the Curtis Cup Match this summer, Duke’s Leona Maguire, a junior from Ireland, and UCLA’s Bronte Law, a senior from England, finished in a tie for third in the individual chase at 2-under 70.
Joining Stanford’s Aubert in the three-way tie for fifth at 1-under 71 were UCLA’s Mariel Galdiano, a freshman from Pearl City, Hawaii, and Duke’s Sandy Choi, a senior from South Korea. Galdiano was the qualifying medalist at Rolling Green this summer and was part of the U.S. team along with Lee and South Carolina senior Katelyn Dambaugh at the World Amateur Team Championship.
On the men’s side, Texas’ Scottie Scheffler, a junior from Dallas, captured the individual title with a sparkling 6-under 66 on an East Lake course that measured 7,450 yards for the guys.
Fresh off a win over Oregon’s NCAA individual champion Aaron Wise in the Longhorns’ 3-2 loss in the NCAA final, Scheffler fired a 1-under 69 in the opening round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. He ran out of gas and failed to make the cut at Oakmont, but he certainly flashed his considerable talent in that opening round.
Scheffler had seven birdies against one bogey to finish two shots ahead of Illinois’ Nick Hardy, a senior from Northbrook, Ill., and Vanderbilt’s Will Gordon, a sophomore from Davidson, N.C., both of whom carded a 4-under 68.
Scheffler’s teammate Doug Ghim, a junior from Arlington Heights, Ill., finished fourth with a 3-under 69 and Illinois’ Michael Feagles, a freshman from Scottsdale, Ariz. took fifth at 2-under 70.
Vanderbilt, the No. 1 team in the latest Golfstat rankings, grabbed the top seed in Tuesday’s semifinal matches with a 6-under 282. No. 12 Texas was five shots back in second at 1-under 287, No. 4 llinois was third at even-par 288 and defending national champion Oregon, ranked 18th, finished fourth at 295. Vanderbilt will take on Oregon in one semifinal with Texas and Illinois squaring off in the other semifinal.
In addition to Gordon’s 68, the top-ranked Commodores got a pair of 71s from Patrick Martin, a sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., and Theo Humphrey, a junior from Greenwich, Conn., and an even-par 72 from Matthias Schwab, a senior from Austria. Martin and Humphrey finished tied for sixth and Schwab was alone in ninth.
Vanderbilt was able to throw out a 1-over 73 from John Augenstein, a freshman from Owensboro, Ky. Augenstein finished alone in 10th place.