Getting solid performances throughout the lineup, the ninth-ranked Stanford women's golf team scored a wire-wire seven-stroke victory over USC on Tuesday in the 54-hole Stanford Intercollegiate hosted by Condoleezza Rice.
The Cardinal closed with a 5-under-par total of 279 at sun-splashed Stanford Golf Course to complete the tournament at 5-under 847 (287-281-279) and successfully defended the team title it shared with USC last year. It marked the third time Stanford has captured the crown since the event began in 1995, the other coming in 1997.
As expected, top-ranked USC made a final-day charge and shot 7-under to conclude at 2-over 854 (293-284-277) to edge UCLA, which shot 3-over on Tuesday and finished at 855 (289-282-284).
"We just hung in there and didn't let it go," said Stanford head coach Anne Walke. "There were some bogeys out there, but we didn't get down on ourselves. Just a lot of steady, smart play."
It was the second fall win in three starts for the defending national champion Cardinal, which opened the season by capturing the Branch Law Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.
Bronte Law of UCLA claimed the individual title for the second consecutive year. She posted rounds of 67-70-68 to wind up at 8-under 205, three strokes ahead of Marissa Chow of Pepperdine (66-70-72) at 5-under 208.
Stanford sophomore Shannon Aubert collected solo-third place at 3-under 210 (72-67-71). Playing in the last threesome, she put an exclamation mark on the championship by flagging her approach shot on the par-4 18th hole and converted an eight-foot birdie putt.
"I think we were all very set in concentrating on the next shot because it's very easy to get ahead of yourself and what everyone else is doing," said Aubert. "In golf, that's not a good idea. Coach made sure to tell us we put ourselves in this position, we know how to play and we've been doing it for the last two days. We don't have to change anything."
Stanford senior Lauren Kim (74-70-67) and junior Casey Danielson (71-70-70) tied for fourth at 2-under 211 with Hannah Kim of Northwestern (73-67-71). Kim shot Stanford's low round of the day, making six birdies and two bogeys, while Danielson grinded through a sore hip and shot even par on the back nine.
"It means everything," Kim said of the title. "We worked so hard to get to this point. We haven't won since 1997, so to win outright feels pretty good. Everyone did their part."
Stanford junior Quirine Eijkenboom, playing in the fifth spot, contributed her second even-par 71 in the tournament and tied for 23rd at 5-over 218 (71-76-71). Senior Mariah Stackhouse tied for 40th at 9-over 222 (73-74-75).
Walker was especially pleased by the play of Eijkenboom.
"I never give out tournament MVPs, because it takes a team effort to win a championship," she said. "But Quirine's work ethic, perseverance and effort is constant. She hits road blocks, she hits obstacles like everyone, but she falls down and gets right back up. Not everyone has those skills and traits. She played great and it was fun to see as a coach."
Competing as an individual, Cardinal freshman Sierra Kersten tied for 65th at 15-over 228 (74-76-78).
Stanford concludes its fall campaign at the prestigious East Lake Cup, Nov. 2-3 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. The four-team, match play event will be televised live by the Golf Channel.