Stanford Leads at Men's Golf Championships
April 28, 2008
FAIRFAX, Calif. - After two rounds of action at the 2008 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championship on Monday, the Bay Area schools fought off changing weather to take the top two spots. What started out as a mild sunny morning quickly became gusty and chilled, making the second round markedly more difficult on everyone.
'You know this course is hard enough without wind,' said Stanford coach Conrad Ray. 'So when you have wind like that, it's really a good test.'
Stanford currently holds a one-stroke lead at 3-under 71, piloted by senior Rob Grube, who notched a four-under-par through 36 holes. California sits at 2-under with four players in the top 20.
Grube (70-68) did not take part in the practice round on Saturday due to illness, yet still led the Cardinal with nine birdies and is tied for first place in the tournament after grueling back-to-back rounds.
'I'm sick so I kind of just put one foot in front of the other,' said Grube. 'I wasn't really thinking of anything else other than how I felt. I think that was maybe a blessing in disguise.'
The most surprising story on Monday at the historic Meadow Club (71, 6,686 yards) in Fairfax, Calif. was the 11th hole. Four players from four different schools each posted a hole-in-one, including Steve Ziegler of Stanford (70-70), who sits two strokes back of the lead.
'That's unheard of,' teammate Grube said. 'I mean, the chances of that are very very low.'
The clubhouse was abuzz with coaches, players and officials alike remarking on the rare feat. Grube added jokingly, 'Yeah I made two pars [on the 11th hole] and I guess that was pretty bad.'
Grube's co-leaders include Tze Huang Choo (67, 71) of Washington, Kevin Chappell (70, 68) of UCLA, and Creighton Honeck (69, 69) of Arizona. The Bruins are only one shot back of second place California with a 1-under, while Arizona trails in fifth place at four-over-par. Powerhouse USC sits seven shots back of first place going into round three Tuesday.
Overall, Coach Ray said he was impressed with his Cardinal team, particularly in the adverse weather conditions. 'I think for us, the harder the better. I have a lot of faith in our guys. I think we practice all the shots we need. When it's difficult conditions you know it separates the field.'
Golden Bears coach Steve Desimone also acknowledged the tough conditions, but viewed the weather as a possible way to level the playing field. 'We still have 36 holes to go, but if conditions deteriorate tomorrow, any of seven or eight teams could still win this thing.'
California hosts the 49th annual Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship this year at the Meadow Club, a course designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie that was dedicated in 1927. Coach Desimone said his squad is motivated to offer a great event, as well as win the championships on one of their home courses.
'Meadow Club has been great to us over the years. We felt we had a really good spring. And we felt that if we played here the way we've played the last five or six weeks--and catch a few breaks--then we'd be in the running come tomorrow night. And I think we may be in that position.'
Round three commences Tuesday with the first pairing teeing off at 8am.