MARANA, Ariz. – First-place Stanford extended its lead to 21 shots at the Pac-12 Conference Championships after a 7-over 367 during the third round of the event at The Gallery Golf Club.
The Cardinal will head into Sunday’s final round at 3-over in front of Cal’s 24-over. Washington is third at 27-over.
Battling a variety of conditions that featured cool temperatures and high winds in the morning, mid-afternoon rain and finishing under sunny skies, the Cardinal was paced by Maverick McNealy’s even-par 72. McNealy was 2-over heading into the turn and sank birdies on 12 and 14 to get back to even.
McNealy overcame a shaky start that included bogeys on three of the first five holes. He slid in a birdie on three during that stretch by sinking a 26-foot putt.
McNealy hit 15 greens and relied on his putter to do the deed, holing an 18-footer on five and a 14-footer to end his round with a par on 18.
“The putter was feeling good today,” McNealy said. “I missed a lot of putts yesterday and worked on a few things before today’s round to change that. We’ve been prepared very well for this. I got over my nerves after the first couple of holes yesterday. Playing with Cal and Washington made it a big day today. We did what we wanted to do by extending our lead, and we’d like to do that again tomorrow.”
Patrick Rodgers leads all players at 7-under following Saturday’s 73, five strokes ahead of USC’s Paul Smith. Following Friday’s second round that was suspended due to darkness, Rodgers needed to complete his final two holes Saturday morning before beginning the third round of competition. He went eagle-par to complete the second round with a 7-under 65.
Cameron Wilson chipped in on two for an eagle and went to 3-under with a birdie on four. Bogeys on four of the next five holes put him at 1-over through nine. Wilson birdied the par-4 10th before finishing at 1-over on the day. He is even for the tournament and tied for fourth.
Viraat Badhwar punched in a 78 to move to 11th and David Boote was solid with a 74. Boote stood at 4-over but birdied 13 and 17 for his 2-over.
Jim Liu added a 3-over 75.
Colorado’s Yannik Paul posted the low score of the day with a 3-under 69, which was key in leading the Buffs to the low team score of the day at 4-over 364 and moving them up from 11th to sixth after three rounds.
The championship will conclude with the final round on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. (PT).