April 25, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -- -
Stanford opens play the 2012 Pac-12 Conference Championships on Friday at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash., where four of the nation's top-10 teams are included in the 11-team field.
Teams will tee off at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday while Sunday's final round gets underway at 8:00 a.m.
The Cardinal, seeded ninth, will be paired with eighth-seeded Washington on Friday. The Cardinal and Huskies will tee off at 8:30 a.m. from hole No. 10.
USC won last year's event at the Karsten Course in Tempe, Ariz. by five strokes over Arizona, while USC's Sophia Popov claimed medalist honors after defeating UCLA's Tiffany Lua in a one-hole playoff.
Palouse Ridge will play to a par of 72 and approximately 6,200 yards for this event.
Stanford is expected to start a lineup consisting of Sally Watson, Kristina Wong, Mariko Tumangan, Marissa Mar and Sydney Burlison.
With four of the nation's top-10 teams residing in the Pac-12 Conference, the field is as strong as the Cardinal will have faced all season. Defending NCAA champion and top-ranked UCLA has won a national-best six tournaments this season, while No. 3 USC, looks to defend its conference title it won last year by five shots over Arizona.
Arizona State and California are ranked No. 4 and No. 9, respectively.
The Cardinal is familiar with the Palouse Ridge layout, having finished second at the WSU Cougar Cup in its season-opening event in September. Watson drained a 40-foot putt on the 18th hole to earn medalist honors.
Stanford held a share of the first round lead at last year's Pac-10 Championships before finishing fifth, 20 strokes behind USC. The Cardinal claimed its only conference team title in 1999 on its home course and followed with back-to-back second place finishes in 2001 and '01.
Stanford has finished no higher than fifth in its last 10 starts at the Pac-12 Championships. The last Stanford player to win the conference's individual title was Mhairi McKay in 1997, with a record-setting score of 207.
Stanford is coming off a fourth place finish at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate at Half Moon Bay, where the Cardinal shot a season-low five-under round of 283 on the final day to finish ahead of Arizona, Washington, California, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State - but were still 13 strokes behind second place USC and 19 behind first place UCLA.
Freshman Mariko Tumangan shot a final round 71 to secure a ninth place finish.
Tumangan made her collegiate debut at Palouse Ridge, where he tied for eighth place on rounds of 75, 77 and 74.
Watson won the tournament with a four-over score of 220 on rounds of 79, 71 and 70.