Stanford not rebuilding, but reloading

Stanford begins the Spring Season in men’s college golf at 14th in the Golfweek/ Sagarin Rankings.

Conrad Ray will take it.

Ray, the Cardinal’s director of golf, didn’t know exactly what to expect after losing All-Americans Patrick Rodgers, who tied Tiger Woods’ school record with 11 victories, and Cameron Wilson, the 2014 NCAA individual champion.

Stanford might not come close to last year’s team, which finished third in the NCAA Championships, but Ray isn’t conceding anything after the inexperienced Cardinal put together a promising Fall Season.

“The fall was a productive campaign for us, with everyone seeing action and picking up valuable experience,” said Ray, who played on Stanford’s 1994 NCAA Championship team with Woods, Casey Martin and Notah Begay. “We … are excited about this team and our potential.”

Stanford’s young team  opened the season with a 15-stroke victory over USC in the Southwestern Intercollegiate at North Ranch Country Club in Thousand Oaks and finished in the top 10 in four of its five tournaments.

Maverick McNealy (pictured), a sophomore from Portola Valley, picked up the leadership mantle from Rodgers and Wilson by winning the Southwestern Intercollegiate and the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, and is the top-ranked golfer from California schools at No. 6 in the nation.

Junior David Boote of England and sophomore Viraat Badhwar of Australia, also played well, but sophomore Jim Liu, who won the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur and finished second to McNealy in the opener, has decided to take the Spring Semester off and return to school next fall.

UCLA enters the Spring Season as the top-ranked team in California at No. 4 behind No. 1 Illinois, Florida State and Oregon after winning the Husky Invitational and the Erin Hills Intercollegiate during the fall.

Jake Knapp, a Bruin junior from Costa Mesa, claimed the individual title in the Husky Invitational, while junior Lorens Chan of Honolulu had two top-five finishes and junior Jonathan Garrick of Atherton posted two top-10 finishes.

All three Bruins are in the top 50 of the national rankings.

No. 15 USC got strong play from Rico Hoey, a sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga, who was second as the Trojans captured the Bill Cullum Invitational, after he finished third when USC tied with Oregon for the team title in the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate.

Freshmen Sean Crocker of Westlake Village, who tied for second in the Southwestern Intercollegiate and was fourth in the Nike Golf Collegiate, and Jonah Texeira, who was third in the Cullum Invitational, also performed well for the Trojans.

Cal checks in at No. 21 in the rankings after winning the Windon Memorial Classic and the Alister MacKenzie Invitational.

Cameron Shaw, a Golden Bear sophomore from England, won the Palouse Collegiate and tied for second in the Windon Memorial Classic. Sebastian Crampton, a freshman from Pacific Grove, finished in the top 10 three times, and Keelan Kilpatrick, a junior from New Zealand, did that twice.

San Diego State, even though U.S. Amateur champion Gunn Yang of Torrey Pines is taking a leave of absence during his sophomore year to play as an amateur in pro events, is ranked No. 37.

Other players to watch during the Spring Season are junior Cody Blick of Danville and San Jose State, Grant Forrest of Scotland and the University of San Diego, Manav Shah of Bakersfield and UCLA, Xander Schauffele of San Diego State, Jonathan De Los Reyes of Antioch and St. Mary’s, Luke Vivolo of Carmel and UC Davis, and Kevin DeHuff of Coto de Caza and Pepperdine.


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