Starting on No. 1 Friday, Rose Zhang, Sadie Englemann and Megha Ganne each birdied the opening par 4, setting the tone for the round Stanford was embarking on.
Numerous birdies followed from every player. Englemann has five on the front nine. Kelly Xu had four. Brooke Seay, who subbed in for Rachel Heck on Saturday, had consecutive on Nos. 7 and 8. Rose Zhang added a pair herself.
By the time the team finished the back nine, the Cardinal had an NCAA record to themselves.
Stanford set a record for lowest round at an NCAA Championship, a 15-under 273 on Grayhawk’s par-72 layout. The previous record was 276, which Southern California shot in 2013 at University of Georgia Golf Course.
After Stanford’s first nine holes Friday, it was 8 over and T-24. after 36, it sits solo second and 15 under for the championship.
“I have a lot of trust and faith in these players,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They’re all very experienced. So I don’t really know what clicked for them, but I think they just settled into their groove and when they settle in, they’re relaxed. They’re really good players. So I think that’s what we’re seeing.”
Zhang, the top-ranked female amateur in the world and defending NCAA individual champion, led the Cardinal with a 5-under 67. She’s 5 under for the tournament, five shots back of Wake Forest’s Lauren Walsh in the individual competition. Xu shot 4 under. Englemann and Seay were the other counting scores at 3 under.
Top-seeded Stanford sits two shots behind Wake Forest, the No. 2 seed, after 36 holes.
“I think it’s really important not to look at the leaderboard because it really doesn’t mean anything,” Walker said. “You know, and that’s what we were just talking about that when we play regular season events. We don’t actually look at the leaderboard at the first day because it’s kind of irrelevant. Realizing that lots of golf left and wherever we sit today or whatever it looks like today doesn’t mean anything tomorrow.”
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