NCAA Golf News

Solid Start in the Desert

Solid Start in the Desert

PHOENIX — After a few weeks of preparation, the top-ranked Stanford women’s golf team returned to action at the highly competitive PING/ASU Invitational. Coming off a win at the rain-shortened Juli Inkster Invitational, the Cardinal was riding a lot of momentum into its final competition in March. That momentum kept rolling following the first 18 holes of golf, as Stanford finished with a 5-under 283 as a team, good for second place and just two strokes back of first place.
The remarkable run of consistency to start her career continued for Paula Martin Sampedro. In her 16th round of the season, she finished at par or better for the 14th time. She came to life during the middle of her round, firing off five birdies between holes 4 and 15. Her 3-under 69 is the sixth time she’s gone into the 60s as a freshman, and it puts her in the top-five following the first day of competition.
The day began about as well as it could have for Kelly Xu, who was pacing the Cardinal right off the first tee. She birdied on the first three holes, including the longest hole of the course, the 530-yard first hole. Xu added one more birdie before the turn to shoot 2-under on the front nine, and then proceeded to birdie on 10, which put her in a tie for second. She was steady throughout the back nine and finished with a 2-under 70, the seventh time this season she has shot a 70 or better.
The back nine was friendly for Megha Ganne, as she roared back from a slow start to join Xu at 2-under on the day. Ganne was 2-over through 10, but then ended her day with four birdies on the final eight holes, including three of her final four. Like Xu, Ganne finds herself in contention following the first round, tied for 14th overall.
Stanford trails only Arizona State through the first 18 holes of play, as the hosting Sun Devils are 7-under. Individually, Martin Sampedro is just one stroke off the lead but trails four golfers who are at 4-under through Thursday.
The second round of the PING/ASU Invitational takes place on Friday, March 29, with tee times to be determined following the completion of this story.

PING/ASU Invitational (Papago Golf Club, par 72)




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