Stanford women golfers can't match USC at East Lake GC

Ziyi (Emily) Wang was one of two Stanford golfers to win their matches on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

The Stanford women's golf team completed the fall season with a runner-up finish Wednesday in the East Lake Cup at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The Cardinal fell to USC, 3-2 in the nationally-televised championship match on the Golf Channel.

It marked the third consecutive year Stanford has competed in the elite event limited to men's and women's semifinalists from the previous year's NCAA Championships.

Vanderbilt defeated Illinois, 3-0-2, to capture the men's crown.

"I thought we grew a little bit," said Stanford coach Anne Walker. "In fact, I think we were a little bit better today than we were yesterday just in the way they handled themselves and their mental attitude. We came up against some stiff competition here, and USC played really well on the back nine. That was the difference."

The Cardinal got off to a strong start, as sophomores Albane Valenzuela (4 and 2) and Ziyi Wang (5 and 4) posted decisive wins. But senior Shannon Aubert lost 1 up to Robynn Ree, the latter holing a 10-foot par putt on the 18th green.

Sophomore Andrea Lee vaulted to a 2-up advantage after eight holes against Muni He. But for the second consecutive day, Lee ran into a buzz saw.

He won four straight holes with three birdies and an eagle, Lee just missing an eagle attempt from closer range for a tie at the par-5 14th. He prevailed, 3 and 2.

In the final match, Stanford sophomore Madie Chou fell 4-down after 10 holes to Divya Manthena, but rallied to claim 11, 12 and 13 to close 1-down. Manthena regrouped to win, 4 and 2.

Stanford advanced to the finals by edging Arizona State on Tuesday, 3-2. The Cardinal also won the 18-hole medal play portion of the event on Monday, as Lee, Aubert, Valenzuela and Wang earned top 10 finishes.

"If you're at this tournament, you're doing something well," Walker said. "We're thrilled that we've been here for three straight years and surrounded by great teams. It's a nice way to end your fall season."

The Cardinal is idle until Feb. 11, when it starts the spring season at the Northrop Grumann Challenge at Palos Verdes Country Club.

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