As the last few weeks of 2015 slowly inch by, we look back on what has been a YEAR TO REMEMBER for the Stanford Women's Golf program.
How can we ever forget the dramatic 2015 NCAA Women's Golf Championship and the 15ft birdie putt Mariah Stackhouse made on the final hole to secure the title? Our first National Championship in 50 years of Stanford Golf. The year 2015 will forever be etched into the history books of Stanford Golf, as will the team members names who made this dream come true.
We came into the fall season excited to play and enjoy the spoils of being the reigning NCAA Champions. The team certainly lived up to their expectations, capturing two victories in three starts! It began with a record breaking performance at the Branch Law Firm Invitational in New Mexico. The team posted a first round score of -11 and followed that with rounds of -2 and -7, truly remarkable play. Records were set left, right and center - a fun way to begin the 2015-16 campaign!
We followed that victory with a fairly dull performance in Florida at the Annika Intercollegiate. Jet-lag, bermuda greens and muggy weather slowed up our performance and gave us lots to work on going into our home event at the end of October.
The Stanford Intercollegiate is known as one of college golf's "major championships". It is the best event on the West Coast each fall and attracts the top teams from all Conferences. It is always a challenge to finish top-five at the Intercollegiate. We tied for first with USC at the 2014 Championship, that was the first time we had won since 1997. So, this year we came in with our minds firmly focused on winning the title outright and that is exactly what we did. We led wire to wire and although USC and UCLA poured in birdies the last day early in the round, the team stayed steady and focused, eventually outplaying both those teams and winning the Championship by a handful of strokes.
Individually, we saw great improvement and contribution from sophomore Shannon Aubert. Shannon is currently ranked #18 in the country, her lowest ranking to date and she is on pace to be an All-American this year. We are led by senior Lauren Kim, who is currently ranked #8 nationally and Mariah Stackhouse who is ranked #31. Casey Danielson is right on their heels ranked #52 in the nation and with a strong spring season, will be easily able to move into the All-American consideration.
We just signed our 2016 class this past week with two players from Southern California, Andrea Lee and Madie Chou. The third player, Emily Wang, will be coming from Beijing, China. This class will also be joined by 2015 signee, Albane Valenzuela who choose to defer a year after high school graduation. You can read more about the class at www.gostanford.com.
The team will enjoy these last weeks of 2015 as the reigning NCAA Champs and then we will begin the 2016 year fresh and focused on the upcoming Championship in May. We learned this past year how long, challenging and difficult the journey to the Championship can be. We will focus all of our efforts on our preparation and things that are within our control because undoubtedly we will face obstacles that are at this time unknown to us!
We can't thank you enough for your support through the year. To all the folks who came out and volunteered during our home tournament, thank you. We appreciate your help and winning the title is more for you than for us.
Have a great Thanksgiving and Holiday Season with your family.
All the best,
Anne Walker and The Stanford Women's Golf Team