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Hey, It Could Happen
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 05/22/2014
NCAA Championships
Friday-Wednesday, May 23-28
Prairie Dunes Country Club • Hutchinson, Kansas

On the Web • GoStanford.com
Live Results • GoStanford.com
Live Video • Golf Channel will cover the event from May 26-28
Cardinal Contingent • Patrick Rodgers, Cameron Wilson, David Boote, Viraat Badhwar, Maverick McNealy
Social Hour • @StanfordMGolf • @ByTheMinSMGolf • #GoStanford
instagram.com/StanfordMGolf • facebook.com/StanfordMGolf

The Lowdown
• Arguably the hottest team in the nation, Stanford enters the NCAA Championships as winners of four straight and five of its last six events.

• Stanford enters the NCAA Championships as the third-seeded squad while seeking the ninth title in program history and first since 2007. Stanford has twice been the NCAA runner-up.

• In each of its last six events, a Cardinal golfer has claimed medalist honors.

• Patrick Rodgers has an NCAA-best six wins on the season, and has won in five of his last six outings. The lone non-win was a runner-up finish to teammate Cameron Wilson at the Western Intercollegiate (April 12-13). Only Tiger Woods (8) has had more wins by a Cardinal golfer in a single season, doing so in 1995-96. Rodgers’ 11 career wins puts him in a tie with Woods (11) on the program’s all-time chart.

• Stanford, which will be grouped with defending national champion Alabama and Oklahoma State, will tee off at 12:20 p.m. (CT) to open the tournament on Friday.

• In tournament play this season, Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson have combined for 11 eagles, 261 birdies and just 15 double bogeys (or worse).

• The last time Stanford trailed after a day of competition was the final round of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters (March 9), when it finished second.

• Stanford’s regional bid was the 16th consecutive for the Cardinal, and Stanford has now advanced to the NCAA Championships in six of the last eight seasons.

• Stanford enters the event after a strong start to the postseason by topping the field at the Pac-12 and NCAA Regional Championships. Stanford’s only event in the last three months without a win was a two-stroke setback to host UNLV at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters (March 7-9).

• The Cardinal has won six times this season with two runner-up finishes. In the last 17 seasons, only one team surpassed four wins (the 2007 national champion team had seven victories). In 11 tournaments on the season, Stanford has not finished lower than seventh and placed fifth or higher nine times.

The Ben Hogan Award
• Patrick Rodgers was named winner of the 2014 Ben Hogan Award by the Colonial Country Club, the Friends of Golf and the Golf Coaches Association of America during a ceremony on May 18.

• The first honoree in Stanford history, Rodgers is the third straight winner from the Pac-12 Conference, following UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay (2012) and Washington’s Chris Williams (2013).

• Rodgers, a native of Avon, Ind., is the world’s top-ranked amateur golfer according to both the World Amateur Golf Ranking and the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking. A Hogan Award finalist as a freshman in 2012, he is just the fourth golfer invited to the banquet at Colonial on multiple occasions. The other three -- Georgia’s Chris Kirk, Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler and Cantlay -- each were winners.

• Rodgers is currently ranked first in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and third according to Golfstat. In 11 tournaments this year, he boasts nine top-10 finishes and a stroke average of 69.41.

• By virtue of winning the award, Rodgers was presented with an exemption into the PGA Tour 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial by tournament director Bobby Patton. In addition, his university earned a $25,000 grant for its men’s golf scholarship program.

• The Ben Hogan Award is presented annually to the top men’s NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the 12-month period dating from the previous award’s banquet. The Ben Hogan Award selection committee is made up of 24 leaders and experts in amateur, college and professional golf.

The Exemption
• The John Deere Classic’s tradition of offering valuable playing opportunities to deserving up-and-coming young players continued May 22 when the tournament announced it has awarded sponsor exemptions to three of the nation’s top college players, all of whom have roots in the Midwest.

• Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers, a native of Avon, Ind., earned an exemption along with Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge and Iowa’s Steve Ihm.

• The John Deere Classic will be played July 7-13 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.

• Last year, Rodgers finished tied for 15th at TPC Deere Run, and has announced he will turn pro at the conclusion of this college season.
The League’s Top Coach and Player

• Patrick Rodgers was named the Pac-12 Conference Men’s Golfer of the Year and Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf Conrad Ray was tabbed Pac-12 Coach of the Year in a voting by the league’s head coaches on April 28.

• Rodgers is the fourth different Stanford golfer to earn Golfer of the Year honors, and the first since Rob Grube shared the award with Arizona State’s Alejandro Canizares in 2006.

• Ray, in his 10th year as head coach, led Stanford to its eighth Pac-12 Championship and first since 1994. It’s the second time Ray earned league coach of the year honors, having also earned the distinction in 2007.

The Pac-12 Championships
• For the first time in 20 years, Stanford hoisted the Pac-12 Conference Championship trophy.

• Taking a 21-stroke lead into the final round of the 72-hole event at The Gallery Golf Club, the third-ranked Cardinal put it in cruise control with a 2-under 1,438 (362-354-367-355) for the eighth title in program history and first since 1994. In fact, the 1994 title was won 20 years ago just 13 miles south at Tucson National Golf Course.

• Stanford’s showing was 15 strokes better than second-place Washington. It was the largest margin of victory at the Pac-12 Championships since 2009 when Washington won by 18 strokes.

• Stanford became the seventh different Pac-12 school to win the conference title since 2004.

• Patrick Rodgers accounted for the program’s 21st individual league medalist honor, the most of any team in the Pac-12. Rodgers finished at 7-under to win by two strokes over Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan and has won 10 times in his career, including four this spring.

• Cameron Wilson (72-71-73-68) was third after a spectacular 4-under with five birdies to close the senior’s final conference tournament.

The Tournament
• The NCAA Championships will feature the top collegiate golfers in America and the game’s future stars. Featuring a new tournament format, 30 teams and six student-athletes – who advanced from NCAA Regional qualifying – will compete in an individual stroke-play format over 54 holes (May 23-25).

• Golf Channel’s live coverage will begin May 26, when the top 40 individuals and ties will compete in the fourth and final stroke-play round to determine the individual national champion.

• On May 27 (quarterfinals and semifinals) and May 28 (finals), the low eight teams from the 54-hole qualifying will compete in match play competition to determine the team national champion.

The Course
• Prairie Dunes is an American original and one of the most scenic courses anywhere. You could never mistake pictures of it for any other American course, although it is easily confused with some of the best of the British Isles. Nestled five miles northeast of Hutchinson, Prairie Dunes is the hidden treasure of Kansas.

• The course was molded from the Kansas land using 18 horses and mules, Fresno scrapers and wheelbarrows. Greens and fairways came to life by teams dragging plows and scoops, while roots of native grass and weeds were removed by hand-one wheel barrowful at a time. Prairie Dunes opened the first nine holes on Sept. 13, 1937. Twenty years later in 1957, The Dunes opened the second nine holes.

• Prairie Dunes has become a world renowned course and has played home to several major events including the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Curtis Cup, U.S. Men’s Senior Amateur, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and NCAA Men’s Championships.

• The course was named the 25th-best Greatest Golf Course in America by Golf Digest in 2014 and 13th-best classic course by Golf Week in the same year. Golf Magazine rated the course as the 26th-best in the world in 2013.

The Last Time Out
• Patrick Rodgers won the NCAA Eugene Regional Championships (May 15-17) in convincing fashion, and in doing so tied Tiger Woods’ Stanford record with 11 career victories. Rodgers’ effort also made it a daily double for the victorious Cardinal, as the team has produced a medalist in each of its six wins this season.

• Despite shooting a final-round 15-over, its highest score to par since its first round of the season at the Fighting Illini Invitational on Sept. 13, Stanford held on to win its third NCAA Regional crown since 1996 by one stroke over host Oregon. The last NCAA Regional win for the Cardinal came in 2010.

• The trip to the NCAA Championships is the seventh for Stanford in the last 10 seasons under Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf Conrad Ray.

• Stanford (276-282-295) was 13-over for the tournament. Oregon (+14) was second ahead of Oklahoma (+20), Houston (+35) and South Carolina (+40).

The History
• The Stanford men’s golf team has a remarkable history. From its beginnings as a varsity sport in the early 1930s, the program has claimed eight national championships and its players have won 24 professional major championships (more than any other team) and seven U.S. and British Amateur titles.

• The names are legendary in American golf: from Charlie Seaver and Lawson Little in the 1930s, Bud Brownell, Sandy Tatum and Bob Rosburg in the 1940s, and after World War II The Farm has produced notables such as Tom Watson, Notah Begay and Tiger Woods. Since 1958 when All-Americans were first recognized, there have been 65 All-American seasons featuring Stanford players (through the 2012-13 season). Dozens of Stanford golfers have played professionally over the years.

• But the golf history is only part of the story. There have been three USGA presidents who played on Stanford’s golf teams (Sandy Tatum, Grant Spaeth and Walter Driver) and numerous notables in the business world. The program’s roots as a varsity sport start with the completion of the highly acclaimed Stanford Golf Course, which first opened for play on January 1, 1930.

• The course was designed by renowned architects Captain George C. Thomas and William Bell, the design team behind of many of the West Coast’s finest links. Bell when speaking of Stanford said that compared to other their famed courses “none will be superior to the Stanford links.”

• The superb golfers continued to come to Stanford, including future Hall of Famers Warren Berl, Bud Brownell (course record holder with 63 for some 50 years), Sandy Tatum, Bud Finger (later Stanford’s golf coach) and Bob Cardinal all competing on one or more of the dominant teams that won the national championship in 1938, 1939, 1941 and 1942. The coach through these early years was Eddie Twiggs, who would lead teams to five national championships in his coaching stint from 1932-47.

• Watson brought a solid game from Kansas City, following his father to Stanford. With powerful driving and unmatched putting he was named an All-American in his three varsity years (1969-71). Watson’s success as a professional has produced a Hall of Fame golf career.

• The 1990s found Stanford golf on the rise nationally with a number of prominent golfers -- led by Woods -- playing for the Cardinal. In addition to Woods, the names of 1990s Stanford golfers who are playing or did play professionally include Begay, Christian Cevaer, Will Yanigisawa, Casey Martin, Conrad Ray, and Joel Kribel (Stanford’s only four-time All American). Stanford won the national championship in 1994, finished second in 1995 (losing in a playoff) and four in 1996. Woods won the individual NCAA championship in 1996.

• During the decade since 2000, Stanford continued to build on its prior successes culminating in winning the 2007 national championship. Head coach Conrad Ray was selected national coach of the year 2007. Since 2010, the Cardinal has continued to produce outstanding teams and players as the team advanced to postseason NCAA play each season.
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