Stanford women earn the top seed at East Lake Golf Club

Shannon Aubert shot a round of 71 to finish in a second-place tie Monday at the East Lake Golf Club. Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

The Stanford women's golf team won the stroke play competition Monday in the East Lake Cup at famed East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, earning the top seed for match play competition.

Competing in sunny but cool, windy conditions, the Cardinal combined for a best four out of five score of 3-over 291, six strokes ahead of second place USC (297). Northwestern (298) was third and Arizona State (301) fourth.

Ziyi Wang
"They played mature today," Stanford coach Anne Walker said. "There were some really tough holes, especially on the front nine, but they held it together and made some birdies coming."

The prestigious event is limited to men's and women's semifinal teams from the 2017 NCAA Championships.

The format switches to match play Tuesday, with the Cardinal facing Arizona State in a rematch of last year's NCAA Championships semifinals. The Sun Devils prevailed, 3-2, then beat Northwestern for the title.

Four Stanford players earned top 10 finishes Monday, led by Shannon Aubert and sophomore Andrea Lee, who tied for second with 1-under 71s. Sophomores Albane Valenzuela (74) and Ziyi Wang (75) placed seventh and ninth, respectively, while Madie Chou (85) placed 20th.

Robynn Ree of USC claimed medalist honors with a 70.

Both Lee, the 2017 champion, and Aubert, had chances to force a playoff on the par-5 final hole. Lee reached the green in two and just missed a lengthy eagle attempt, while Aubert hit a nice third shot 15 feet from the hole and ran her birdie bid just by the high side of the cup.

"I figured I wasn't doing too bad because all of a sudden the cameras were coming," Aubert said.

Tuesday's semifinal winners play for the championship on Wednesday, with the losers vying for the consolation title. Stanford has won the latter each of the last two years.

"It's an incredible golf course," said Aubert. "There is so much history and to be able to play here is an honor for all collegiate players."

The Stanford-Arizona State match begins at 12:55 p.m. ET, with Wang taking on Madison Kerley. At 1:15, Valenzuela faces Roberta Liti; at 1:35, Lee plays Linnea Strom; at 1:55, Aubert faces Sophia Zeeb; and at 2:15, Chou challenges Olivia Mehaffey.

Even with the top seed, Walker knows there are no guarantees.

"We learned that last year and from the national championship a couple times," she said. "I think tomorrow we will go try to break the curse of the No. 1 seed in match play."

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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