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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Stanford right at home in victory in The Godwin

   It was a busy weekend of golf, but I didn’t want to let The Godwin, hosted by Stanford, No. 12 in the latest Golfstat rankings, at its Stanford Golf Course, slip through the cracks.
   It was a 24-team field, but it might as well have been a dual match between the Cardinal and No. 1 Southern California. And it was the Cardinal, with a masterful closing round of 7-under 273 Saturday on the 6,727-yard, par-70 Stanford layout, which outdueled the Trojans by nine shots.
   You have to factor in the home-course advantage a little. After all, it was the 15th time in the 49-year history of The Godwin that the Cardinal has won the event. Still, it was an interesting matchup between two teams that figure to be there at the very end this spring.
   Stanford got off to a solid start with a 4-under 276, allowed the Trojans to creep within three shots with a 288 in the middle round and then pulled away in the final round for a 3-under 837 total. Southern Cal had solid rounds of 285, 280 and 281 to claim runnerup honors at 6-over 846.
   No. 15 UNLV took third, four shots behind USC at 10-over 850. Reigning national champion Oregon, ranked fifth, was another four shots behind the Rebels in fourth at 14-over 854. No. 36 Washington took fifth at 20-over 860.
   The Cardinal was led by Franklin Huang, a senior from Rancho Bernardo, Calif. who shared second place with UNLV’s Harry Hall, a sophomore from England, at 3-under 207.
   Huang matched the low round of the day with a 4-under 66 to spark the final-round Stanford surge. Hall posted a 1-under 69, but neither Huang nor Hall could catch Brigham Young freshman Rhett Rasmussen, who fired a brilliant 6-under 64 in the middle round and matched par with a final-round 70 to hold on for the individual title at 4-under 206.
   Rasmussen doesn’t even rate a hometown on the BYU website, although he appears to be a native of Utah and a product of Corner Canyon High School.
   Stanford had two other top-10 finishers in Maverick McNealy, a senior from Portola Valley, Calif., and Viraat Badhwar, a senior from Australia.
   McNealy, No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, opened up with a 3-under 67 and added rounds of 71 and 72 to finish alone in seventh place at even-par 210. Badhwar closed with a 67 to finish in a tie for eighth at 1-over 211.
   Brandon Wu, a sophomore from Danville, Calif., finished in a tie for 25th at 6-over 216 and Isaiah Salinda, a sophomore from South San Francisco, Calif., finished in a tie for 36th at 8-over 218. Wu had opened up with rounds of 69 and 72 before slipping to a 75 in the final round, but Salinda, who had started out with rounds of 74 and 76, picked up the team with a 2-under 68 in Saturday’s final round.
   Playing at home, Stanford tested its depth by entering five players competing as individuals. Bradley Knox, a junior from Menlo Park, Calif., and Jeffrey Swegle, a junior from West Des Moines, Iowa, led the group with respective finishes of tied for 41st and tied for 46th. Knox and Swegle each put up a 1-over 71 in the middle round on their way to respective 9-over 219 and 10-over 220 totals.
   Christopher Meyers, a sophomore from Oro Valley, Ariz., and David Snyder, a freshman from McAllen, Texas, were among the group tied for 54th at 221. And McNealy’s younger brother Dakota, a freshman, finished 125th at 244.
   Southern Cal was led by Sean Crocker, the Trojans’ talented junior from Westlake Village, Calif. who finished tied for fifth at 1-under 209. He fired a 3-under 67 in the middle round.
   Justin Suh, a sophomore from San Jose, Calif., finished tied for 11th at 3-over 213 after a final-round 73 for the Trojans. Cheng Jin, a freshman from China, finished tied for 25th at 216 after a  final-round 68.
   Rico Hoey, a senior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., opened with an uncharacteristic 80 that the Trojans  were able to toss, but bounced back with rounds of 69 and 70 to finish tied for 41st at 219. Andrew Levitt, a redshirt senior form Ladera Ranch, Calif., finished tied for 69th at 224.
   The Trojans brought along Jared Texeira, a junior from Porter Ranch, Calif., to compete as an individual and Texeira made the most of the opportunity by posting a final round of 2-under 68 to finish tied for 20th at 5-over 215.
   Hall was joined in the top five by UNLV teammate John Oda, a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii. Oda matched Stanford’s Huang for the low round of the day Saturday with a 4-under 66 to share fifth with USC’s Crocker.
   Oregon was led by Ryan Gronlund, a redshirt sophomore from Pleasanton, Calif. who finished alone in fourth at 2-under 208. Gronlund’s tournament was highlighted by a 3-under 67 in the middle round.

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