Men's countdown: No. 8 Stanford
We are counting down the top 30 men's teams heading into the fall college season.
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2012-13 Golfweek ranking: 9
Go-to guy: Junior Patrick Rodgers
Season outlook: It’s no secret that Stanford will boast one of the top players in the country this fall in junior Patrick Rodgers. Rodgers, who will play in his second Walker Cup next month, posted a 70.9 scoring average as a sophomore and had six top 10s, including victories at three of the nation's top events (Olympia Fields, U.S. Collegiate and Southern Highlands).
Rodgers, a two-time first-team All-American, will be leaned on heavily to help get the Cardinal back to the NCAA Championship. As a team, Stanford won just once last season and missed advancing to the NCAA finals after finishing seventh at NCAA regionals. Joining Rodgers are two other returning starters, senior Cameron Wilson and sophomore David Boote, who combined for nine top 10s last season.
Stanford lost Andrew Yun and Steve Kearney to graduation, but a talented trio of freshmen – Jim Liu, Viraat Badhwar and Maverick McNealy – has the ability to fill those gaps. Liu, the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, is No. 4 in Golfweek's junior rankings, and Badhwar, of Australia, is No. 60 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. McNealy, a local product, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Junior, then took eventual champion Scottie Scheffler to the final hole this year before losing, 1 up, in the Round of 32.
If the newcomers can adjust quickly to the college game, expect bigger things from the Cardinal this season.
“Our main goal this fall is to get in the habit of winning, eliminate the big numbers and have fun,” head coach Conrad Ray said.
– Brentley Romine