With a new title sponsor, The Goodwin tees off on Thursday at TPC Harding Park
29 Mar 2023
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Goodwin Intercollegiate, TPC Harding Park Golf Course, Michael Thorbjornsen Rankings

Michael Thorbjornsen (Stanford Athletics photo)
Michael Thorbjornsen (Stanford Athletics photo)

Despite its longer moniker and an uncustomary venue, one constant about The Goodwin is it never fails to attract a strong field of teams from all corners of the country.

Now its 53rd edition, The Goodwin Presented by Palo Alto Networks gets underway Thursday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco where a 28-team field will compete for the title.

Venerable TPC Harding Park, the site of the 2020 PGA Championship won by Collin Morikawa, will serve as the host venue for the event for the second time since 2018. The move was made to save some wear and tear on Stanford Golf Course, which hosts the Pac-12 Men's Championships in late April.

For the first time in its history, Stanford's signature home tournament has the generous support of a title sponsor: Palo Alto Networks.

"The Stanford men's golf program is proud to play host to such a historic event on a golf course that matches its prestige," said Stanford head coach Conrad Ray. "Top-level collegiate golf at TPC Harding Park is exciting to consider. The Goodwin Presented by Palo Alto Networks also celebrates the legacy of Coach Wally Goodwin, who worked diligently throughout his career to promote college golf at all levels. He loved eclectic fields on great golf courses, and we have both with The Goodwin. It is a huge honor to welcome Palo Alto Networks to the fold as our presenting sponsor. They have invested in student-athletes who will be leaders and influencers throughout their careers both on and off the course."

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A Look at the Field

Featuring 28 teams, The Goodwin is one of the largest regular-season tournaments on the collegiate calendar. Host Stanford, ranked fifth in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin poll, will be pushed by No. 7 Georgia Tech and No. 13 Oklahoma, along with a cadre of hungry teams eager to make an impression on the NCAA Men's Golf Championship Committee.

In addition to Stanford, five other Bay Area's Division I schools -- California, San Francisco, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara and San Jose State -- will be on hand, along with Pac-12 teams Colorado, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, USC, Washington and Washington State. Arkansas Little-Rock, BYU, Cal Poly, Florida Atlantic, Fresno State, Howard, Lipscomb, Mercer, Nevada, Northern Illinois, SMU and UC Davis round out the field.

Stanford, which has claimed two team titles this season at the Fighting Illini Invitational and the Golf Club of Georgia Intercollegiate, will look to win The Goodwin for the 17th time in its history. The Cardinal has also produced 16 individual tournament champions, including Tom Watson (1971), Casey Martin (1995), Joel Kribel (1996-97), Patrick Rodgers (2014) and Maverick McNealy (2015) and Brandon Wu (2019), to name a few.

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Players to Watch

Five players listed in the top-25 of the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com world amateur rankings are in the field this week, including world No. 2 Michael Thorbjornsen of Stanford and Georgia Tech teammates Christo Lamprecht (No. 5) and Ross Steelman (No. 10). Owen Avrit (No. 19) of Oregon and Karl Vilips (No. 23) will also be at Harding Park.

Thorbjornsen has finished no lower than eighth this season and is coming off his 12th career top-10 performance at the Cabo Collegiate, where he tied for eighth overall.

If you are looking for a dark horse to throw a wrench into things, look no further than Saint Mary's College sophomore Mitchell Hoey, who finished runner-up to Brandon Knight in the finals of the San Francisco City Championships on Sunday at Harding. Course knowledge will not be an issue for Hoey, who has played 10 rounds at Harding Park over the last two weekends.

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Honoring a Legend

Wally Goodwin
Formerly named the U.S. Collegiate Invitational, The Goodwin was renamed in 2014 in honor of legendary Stanford head coach Wally Goodwin, who coached the Cardinal from 1987-2000. Goodwin led Stanford to the 1994 NCAA title, its first since 1953, and a second-place finish in 1995.

A two-time National Coach of the Year and two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Goodwin guided the Cardinal to a pair of conference championships and produced seven All-Americans. Goodwin helped revive a struggling Stanford program and returned it to national prominence by recruiting Tiger Woods, Notah Begay III, Casey Martin, Joel Kribel, and Ray, among many other notables.

ABOUT THE The Goodwin

54 hole men's college tournament hosted by Stanford University. Team (best four scores out of five players each round) and individual competitions.

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