April 25, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford's men's golf team heads to the Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. this weekend in search of a title that has eluded the Cardinal since 1994 - the Pac-12 Championship.
Technically, this is the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Championship, but history shows winning a conference title has proven to be more difficult for the Cardinal than winning a NCAA Championship.
The Cardinal will begin its quest for the elusive conference title on Friday at Trysting Tree Golf Club, where the championship will be decided over 72-holes of stroke play. Teams will play 36 holes on Friday and 18 on Saturday and Sunday.
Six golfers from each team will account for five scores.
USC is the defending champion, winning last year's title at Stanford Golf Course. USC's Matt Trainer won medalist honors in a seven-hole playoff over Oregon State's Alex Moore.
Six of the 12 teams in the field are currently ranked among the nation's top-12 according to the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, including No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 USC, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 California, No. 10 Oregon and No. 12 Washington.
A total of 15 players are listed among the nation's Top 50 players, including Stanford's Patrick Rodgers, who is ranked third nationally in the latest individual listing released by Golfweek.
Knowles Family Director of Golf Conrad Ray is expected to start a lineup consisting of Rodgers, Andrew Yun, David Chung, Cameron Wilson, Marcel Puyat and Patrick Grimes.
Rodgers is coming off his second win of the season at the Western Intercollegiate, where he claimed a two-stroke victory over two golfers, including UCLA's Patrick Cantlay.
Rodgers, a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award, has seven top-10 finishes this season, including two wins. In addition winning the Blue Jacket at Pasatiempo, Rodgers claimed medalist honors in his first collegiate event at the Fighting Illini Invitational in September.
With a stroke average of 70.8, he is challenging Joel Kribel's single-season school record of 70.1, set in 1999. Tiger Woods is the only other Stanford golfer to post a stroke average under 71.0, as he finished with a mark of 70.6 for the 1995-96 season.
Junior Andrew Yun, currently ranked 19th by Golfweek, is coming off back-to-back top-10's at the U.S. Intercollegiate (t-10) and the Western Intercollegiate (t-4), two of five top-10's this season.
While Rodgers and Yun have been mainstays at the top of the lineup all season, Stanford's depth will be put to the test in this 72-hole, six count five tournament.
Wilson is coming off a 10th place finish at the Western Intercollegiate, where he finished one-over par after rounds of 69, 72 and 70.
Chung has finished inside the top-20 just twice this year but has three years of conference championship experience in his bag, along with titles at the 2010 North & South and Western Amateurs.
Grimes and Puyat have been playing some of their best golf of the season as of late. Grimes tied for 17th at the U.S. Intercollegiate after shooting rounds of 72, 72 and 71. He also opened with a 66 to tie for the first round lead at the Amer Ari Invitational, held on the Big Island in February.
Puyat has appeared in five tournaments this season, but carded a five-under 211 to tie for 17th at The Prestige at PGA West in his collegiate debut. He also tied for 19th at the U.S. Intercollegiate and tied for 25th at the Western Intercollegiate.