A Cardinal Comeback: Stanford sweeps Pac-12 Championships
Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics
Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics

Stanford picked the right day to jump into the lead at the Pac-12 Championships being played on the Cardinal's home course in Palo Alto.

After Arizona State, Colorado and Washington State took turns atop the leaderboard, Stanford methodically climbed the ladder and its patience was rewarded on Sunday, as the Cardinal walked away with its 12th conference title and first since 2019.

The Cardinal's comeback was both methodical and resounding.

Michael Thorbjornsen
Stanford trailed Arizona State by 19 shots after the first round of a 36-hole day on Friday and were still 11 strokes off the pace at the day's end. However, a 6-under 344 on Saturday brought the Cardinal to within two strokes of the lead shared by Colorado and Washington State heading into Championship Sunday.

While all the others saw its title chances blow away with the high winds that greeted the golfers Sunday morning, Stanford put its head down and shot a 4-under 346 in the six-count-five format to finish at 19-under for the tournament, which was good for a 13-stroke victory over Arizona State and was 14 clear of Colorado and Washington State, which tied for third at 5-under.

Stanford's final round was the lowest of the day by seven shots and earned the Cardinal its first conference title since 2019, which also came at Stanford Golf Course. A quick check of the math shows Stanford routed the second-ranked Sun Devils by 32 strokes over the final 54 holes en route to the championship.

"I just kept reminding them that it's six-count-five and that makes a big difference," Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said of the early deficit. "Just be patient, play good golf.

While much of the talk this season has focused on Vanderbilt and North Carolina, Stanford has quietly won three stroke-play events this season to go along with a trio of third-place showings.

"I think this is a group that is fueled by confidence," Ray said. "To get this shot in the arm as we start looking towards Regionals and NCAA Championships is great. When these guys are feeling good, they're really good."

Stanford's Michael Thorbjornsen, the second-ranked amateur in the world, won the individual conference championship with a winning score of 15-under 265, which was good for a two-shot victory over Colorado's Dylan McDermott. Thorbjornsen began the day with a two-shot lead over McDermott and held off the Colorado sophomore with a final-round 68 (-2).

Thorbjornsen is Stanford's first Pac-12 champion since Maverick McNealy in 2015.

"It feels really good, we are all on cloud nine right now," Thorbjornsen said. "Being able to do it in the fashion we did is truly incredible. I think this is really what we needed as a team. We are taking a lot of confidence away from this one. "It means a lot to join the likes of Tiger, Patrick Rodgers and Maverick McNealy, among others, as a Pac-12 champion. It is amazing to win both the individual and team championship."

Stanford will find out its postseason destination on Wednesday when the field for the NCAA Regionals are announced on Golf Channel at 10:00 a.m. PT.

Stanford Athletic Communications contributed to this report.

Results: Pac-12 Championship
1MAMichael ThorbjornsenWellesley, MA80063-66-68-68=265
2CADylan McDermottGranite Bay, CA50066-66-67-68=267
3HIChristian (Pono) YanagiHilo, HI40068-66-68-66=268
4SpainJavier BarcosSpain40069-68-64-71=272
5ORNate StemberPortland, OR40067-70-66-70=273

View full results for Pac-12 Championship

ABOUT THE Pac-12 Championship

72-hole men's collegiate championship of the Pac-12 Conference with simultaneous team and individual competitions. Unlike most college tournaments, the best five scores of six players account for the team score each day.

View Complete Tournament Information

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube