Stanford's Stackhouse returns home for NCAAs

Stanford women hide from the rain in the lobby of the Boyd Center at University of Georgia Golf Course in the second round of the 2013 Women's NCAA Championship.

Women's Rankings »

1Alison LeeUCLA  69.96 
2Stephanie MeadowAlabama  70.17 
3Gaby LopezArkansas  70.29 
4Noemi JimenezArizona St  70.31 
5Celine BoutierDuke  70.40 

Women's Team Rankings »

1Southern California 70.64  13 
2UCLA 70.83  12 
3Duke 70.89  11 
4Stanford 71.74  13 
5Arizona State 71.75  12 


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ATHENS, Ga. –- Stanford gets to spend a week in the life of freshman Mariah Stackhouse while at the NCAA Championship. The Stackhouse home is about 90 miles from the University of Georgia Golf Course, which was close enough for the Cardinal to pile in the team van early week and take in a home-cooked meal.

“Everybody was really excited to see where I had grown up,” Stackhouse said. She was just glad her bedroom was clean for the team visit.

Stackhouse shot a second-round, 4-under 68 on Wednesday that left her four shots behind Alabama’s Stephanie Meadow for the individual lead. Her only bogey was at No. 3.

Despite growing up so close to the championship venue, Stackhouse didn’t have green charts or tons of local knowledge to produce for head coach Anne Walker and the team this week. Rather than logging a lot of rounds here, Stackhouse mostly was a fixture at the Liz Murphey, Georgia’s annual spring tournament.

“None of the holes were new to me,” she said.

So Stackhouse warned her West Coast teammates that the air would be heavy this week, that if the rough wasn’t thick when they arrived, it wouldn’t be too thick by week’s end and that, for the most part, the greens would hold approach shots. Stanford shot 2-over 290 in Round 1, but came back with an even-par 288 in the second round. Sophomore Lauren Kim had a 15-foot putt left for birdie when the horn blew for a weather delay. Kim waited nearly two hours to finish that putt and walked away with par.

Stackhouse is among the most well-known players in the field this week, and not only because she’s on home turf. She caused perhaps the biggest buzz in women’s college golf all year with a 10-under 61 on Stanford’s home course.

She’s a different player than when she left the Atlanta area, and part of that is thanks to Walker’s stat-keeping.

“My short-game stats vary pretty drastically from first tournament to last tournament,” Stackhouse said.

She calls it a domino effect. Stackhouse guesses she’s added 10 yards through the bag at Stanford, which means shorter irons into greens and better looks at birdies.

The West Coast has been good for Stackhouse, even if it does feel good to be home.

“It’s awesome,” Stackhouse said. “The humidity is rough, but I kind of miss it.”

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