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Stanford Women's Golf Outlook

The 1996-97 Stanford squad looks to be a challenger for Pacific-10 and NCAA titles

As the 1996-97 golf season approaches full swing, the Stanford women's golf team is ready to make a run at the NCAA title. The Cardinal return three starters from last year's team that finished fifth nationally and third in the Pacific-10 Conference. With three seasoned veterans and a talented freshman class, the Cardinal feel they are on track to make their ninth consecutive NCAA appearance and contend for the 1997 NCAA Championship.

Senior Mhairi McKay will lead the Cardinal at the number one position. The three time All-American has recorded 33 career top 25 finishes in 34 tournaments over her career at Stanford. She finished the 1995-96 season with a 74.00 stroke average and sports a career average of 74.35. She has captured five individual tournament titles, including two last season. McKay has been consistent in postseason play, recording six top ten finishes in six combined appearances at the Pac-10 Championship, West Region Championship and the NCAA tournament. Considered one of the top collegiate golfers, she enters the season ranked fourth nationally in the Rolex Preseason poll.

Senior Andrea Baxter will add experience and depth at the number two position. A two time All-American, Baxter had an outstanding junior season finishing in the top 25 in all ten tournaments, highlighted by a fourth place finish at the NCAA tournament. Her 1996 NCAA finish is one of the best-ever by a Stanford women's golfer. Baxter captured her first collegiate win at the Nike Invitational in Corvallis in 1994 and is looking for her second this season.

Sophomores Michelle Sperry and Julie Pippin return for their second season on The Farm. Sperry competed in all ten tournaments last season, finishing 25th at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational. She showed a great deal of improvement over the course of her freshman year, turning in her best two competitive rounds last April, shooting a 76 in the first round of the California Collegiate at Stanford and an even par 73 in the second round of the Pac-10 Championships in Tucson. Pippin competed in three events last season and looks to see more tournament action this season.

The Cardinal have two outstanding freshmen who look to make an immediate impact. Julie Dunn out of Las Vegas, Nev. was named the player of the at Bishop Gorman her senior year. Jae Jean Ro comes to Stanford from San Jose, Calif. where she earned the top five athlete award at Valley Christian. Both enjoyed outstanding careers as junior golfers and are ready to make the transition to collegiate golf. Coaches Tim Baldwin and Caroline O'Connor expect great things from the pair this season and in years to come.

Combining the experience of McKay and Baxter with the potential of the underclassman, the Cardinal lineup is a deep and experienced one. If the Cardinal play to their full potential, Baldwin and O'Connor feel they have what it takes to make a run at the NCAA championships this spring.