Monday, November 10, 2008

Sophomore Steve Ziegler on preparation for the next NCAA title!

Editor's Note - this blog by Steve Ziegler was written prior to the Isleworth tournament in Florida.

I arrived at Stanford on September 8th with the kind of excitement a kid would have if he was reuniting with all his friends at Disney World. I remember how giddy I felt but I also remember the underlying anxiety, the anticipation of competition soon to come much like the jitters you get on the first tee of a significant golf round.

I was eager to get started with everything-qualifying rounds, workouts, classes-again because I remember my experience here last year as overwhelmingly enjoyable. There’s an elevated pride that coincides with carrying a Stanford bag due to the great success the program had not just in 2007, but ever since 1942 when Sandy Tatum and company won the 1942 NCAA Title. In a way, those who have preceded us at Stanford Golf make our effort much more worth it, because we are validating their success. Stanford has an exceptional golfing history as many well know, and this has paved the way for championship aspirations again this fall.

Focusing on the National Championship from the moment you arrive is something our entire team has come to embrace. However, the road to the championship begins long before May.

We made our debut in mid-September at Olympia Fields in Chicago. The tournament was a real treat with a strong field and a very difficult course. Unfortunately, we made too many mistakes to come out on top, finishing fourth behind the likes of Illinois, Indiana, and Oklahoma State. Our next tournament was held a couple weeks later in Palm Springs at the Norman Course of famed PGA West. We had four members of the team finish in the top-15, but unfortunately once again were unable to come out with a win, finishing third behind impressive showings from TCU and UC Davis.

We’re currently preparing for our next tournament to be held Oct. 26-28th at Isleworth C.C. in Orlando, Florida. Talking with the guys, I get a heightened sense of excitement despite the prior sub-mediocre finishes, because we’re just waiting for our “impressive finish.” It’s like Coach Ray told the guys the other day, “I’m just waiting for you guys to put on a show.” This is so true, and we’ve seen a show of great golf in qualifying rounds and practice all year. We’re just waiting to display it nationally.

Only a handful of golf programs in the country can say, “With enough discipline, focus, and a little luck, we have a legitimate shot at winning NCAA’s come May.” What’s exciting about Stanford golf, at least since I’ve been here, is we are one of those programs year in and year out. We have the right people in place to prolong this success so when all of us are long gone, Stanford will still be challenging the nation’s best for national titles.

It’s amazing how quickly the days pass in retrospect; it feels like I arrived yesterday. I believe this is a testament to how busy we are, but more importantly see it as an indicator of how much fun this team has. We’re chasing championship dreams together, and we’re having a blast doing it. This is a rarity, but luckily our team is certainly capable.

Steve Ziegler

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sophomore Graham Brockington talks about the upcoming season & his injury

After losing to UCLA by one shot at nationals last year we all left campus with a bad taste in our mouths. However, coming back to campus and seeing all of my teammates again is a great and exciting feeling. We are all even hungrier for the title this year than we were last year.

For me, the prospect of playing golf again and playing well is really exciting. At the end of last year I dislocated my middle finger and had to have surgery that kept me away from golf until August. I had to wear a splint in order to keep that finger straight and in turn, spent most of the summer trying to figure out why people kept giving me such nasty looks as I drove on the highway holding my middle finger up in the air. Now that I am healthy I am enjoying competing with the guys. As excited as I was to arrive here last year, I like it here even more now that I am a sophomore and am much more comfortable with school, golf, and the surrounding area.

My goal was to come in to school and qualify to play in the first tournament in Chicago. Unfortunately I fell short of qualifying, however I got better every round and if it weren’t for one bad round I may have qualified.

While we were disappointed with our finishes in Chicago and Palm Springs, I still feel great about the potential of our team, especially with Joe Bramlett back. He gives our team a huge lift on and off the course and I look for him to have a great season.

This season I look forward to improving even more than last year and to hopefully contribute more and more to the team as the season progresses. I am just trying to make the most out of my time here and to learn something new every day. I know it is only October but I can’t wait to see what June has in store for us.

Graham Brockington, Sophomore

Monday, October 6, 2008

Freshman Wilson Bowen talks about his first weeks at Stanford

Editor's Note: Wilson Bowen is a Freshman from Winnetka, IL. He won the 2007 AJGA Cleveland Junior Championship
and finished fourth in 2006 and 2007 at the Illinois State High School Golf Championship. Above photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

"I’ve had a great first couple weeks at Stanford. This really is the best place to play college golf. Just in the last week we've been lucky enough to play the Peninsula Club, the California Club, and San Francisco Golf Club, all of which are incredible courses. Special thanks to all of the alumni who made this possible. The alumni support here at Stanford is remarkable. We had a great turnout at the Cardinal Classic and I really enjoyed playing with Mr. and Mrs. Gifford and their guests. They were even able to take home some hardware as our team shot a ridiculous 28 under par 42.

Our newly opened facility, The Siebel Varsity Training Center, is incredible, and definitely one of the premier facilities in the world. Our alumni once again went above and beyond to put us in the best possible situation to succeed. The Siebel Center provides us with limitless opportunities for practice and improvement, and I look forward to spending many days and practice sessions working around the facility. We’ve had some great practices out there and I know that we’ll be able to maximize our practice and improvement with this new tool.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my teammates. We have a great group of guys this year and a lot of camaraderie. We are a team in the truest sense of the word. My teammates have done all they can to make sure that my transition to college life goes smoothly, and I look forward to competing and working with them for the remainder of the year. We have an incredibly talented and deep squad, and I know that with some hard work we can accomplish some special things this year. We’ve been playing some great golf lately and I’m excited to see how we’ll play at The Prestige next week. Go Card!"

Wilson Bowen, Freshman

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Freshman David Chung writes about his first college tournament

Freshman David Chung, after a steller junior career, writes about his first college tournament experience playing in the Illini Invitational at Olympia Fields.

"My first tournament was a great experience. It started when we met at the golf course parking lot to head to the airport. Those that weren’t traveling showed up to send us off and those of us that were traveling suited up in our blue blazers and Stanford ties, gathered our bags, and drove off.

The plane ride to Chicago went smoothly and we checked into a nearby hotel for some rest. The next day played at Chicago Golf Club for a fun round. Chicago Golf Club is one of those clubs that is so exclusive that it is only recognizable from the road by a computer screen sized metal plate that simply states CHICAGO GOLF CLUB and is listed on a GPS navigation system not as Golf Club Drive or Masters Lane as some are golf clubs are; instead, the GPS voice tells you to turn into alley to get to Chicago Golf Club.

We were lucky enough to get invited because Mr. Grube, the father of former Stanford golfer Rob Grube, is a member and was generous enough to invite us to his club for a day of golf and dinner. The course was very difficult but also very enjoyable to play. I had the privilege of playing with Mr. Kinsey, Mr. Gifford, Coach Ray and Coach Tight. Coach Ray and I had a fun match which luckily I was able to win.

Following a great time at Chicago Golf Club we drove to a hotel closer to Olympia Fields – where our tournament would be played. The next day I got my first look at the course. Olympia Fields is a course that challenges and tests every aspect of a golfer’s game. It had 7 inch tall rough, narrow fairways, fast undulating greens, and plenty of length.

Friday we started the Fighting Illini Invitational and I got to play my first college round. I got off to a solid opening hole and felt excited and ready to help our team win, but on the second hole after a great drive, my approach shot caromed off the side of a bunker and under a tree root. That unfortunate break would lead to a quadruple bogey and a giant hole for me to come back out of. I would finish the round with very average play and shoot 79. I was very disappointed with my first round but quickly looked for ways to contribute as our team focused on round two.

In round two, Coach Ray followed me and was basically my caddie. It was very helpful to have his input on every shot and also enjoyable to have him by my side. Round two would bring some solid play and more confidence in my driver, but a triple bogey on the 16th hole killed me and led to a 75.

The final round our team was pumped up and ready to finish strong. I was determined to help out our team score and have a good round. I played very solid golf and shot what seemed to me like an easy round of 71. Our team also played solid on the final day and shot a respectable 4-over total for a total of 27 over and 4th place.

We were all disappointed that we didn’t win but we all learned a lot about ourselves, our games, and each other. I feel that we’ve grown a lot as a team already and I’m excited to make 2008-2009 a great season!"

David Chung

Here's David with a touchy downhill chip on 8 at Olympia Fields GC. It ran 4 feet past and left of the hole and he made the par putt.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Great News --- Joseph Bramlett is playing again!

Editor's Note - Here's an update on rising junior Joseph Bramlett, 2006 2nd team All-American, who was injured for the last 7 months of last season. Although this blog is typically directly written by current players we'll make an exception this time by sharing the first hand experience of a former player.

Former Stanford men's golf team player from the 1970s, Ric Jay (known as Pooh Bear and yes he has won the Stanford club championship a record-tying 10 times), shared this report today on a fellow San Jose Country Club member Joseph Bramlett:

"Played with Joseph and his dad on Friday (July 25th). Joseph ("Pep") is working on his game, playing every day and playing well. His distance is still there, hitting it by my best by 50-60 yards... ! I saw several 310 -330 blasts and all I could say was, "Big deal, let's see you do it with persimmon and balata!"

He said he is taking it easy and being quite careful about his wrist (I think he explained it as strained ligaments/tendons and small bone bruise) and doesn't want to put too much stress on it. He decided to withdraw his entry from the US Amateur because the wear and tear of that many rounds over a short period could prove detrimental to the healing process.

His spirits are high and he is looking forward to Stanford golf this fall."


Poo Bear

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Joseph Bramlett - Winter Quarter

The winter quarter has gotten off to a great start for our team. We came back from winter break and went straight into workouts and then began qualifying on January 21st. Our team went to Hawaii and successfully defended our title from last year. We went winless in the fall, but fortunately the guys got rid of that burden and we proved to ourselves that we have everything we had last year in our National Championship Year. We have all been itching to start the spring season and we are ready to keep this momentum going all the way to Purdue.

We have acknowledged as a team what we need to work on and everyone has certain things that they can do to help the team as a whole. Individually we still have a lot of things to work on, but we have gained a lot of experience from the start of the year. I think it is huge for us that everyone on our team knows what it feels like to win and we will definitely be using that as motivation for the rest of the year.

Personally I have some work to do to get myself in shape to help the team in terms of golf. I injured my wrist earlier in the quarter during workouts and have been going to therapy and allowing my wrist time to heal so that I can hopefully get back on the course. Its hard to say how long it will take but hopefully I'll be back soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rob Grube on Winter Break

The winter break ushered in a welcome break from traveling and time for reflection on the fall season. Most teams would have been pleased with our fall season. After two seconds, some very good play from freshman Sihwan Kim, and a ninth place ranking, most teams would have said -- good start. Not us. Upon reflection, we were dissapointed with our fall season and itching to get back on the right course in the spring. We remain committed to winning every tournament, being ranked number one, and winning a national championship. With our deep pool of talent, anything less would be underachieving.

Our first tournament in Hawaii was the start for which we were looking. We won the tournament against some very highly ranked teams like ASU, Georgia Tech, and USC. Our second round displayed our immense talent and depth. We shot 17 under, the lowest team round by eight for the tournament.

Looking forward, our task remains translating our talent into results. In order to do this, we are focusing our attention in the weight room, on the driving range, and on the course to achieve these goals. If we work harder than anyother team, then I am convinced we will see our goals become a reality -- like we did last year.

Should be a great spring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Matt Kennerknecht's Freshman Winter Quarter

The cliche, “no pain, no gain,” is an oversimplified way of summarizing the winter quarter in my freshman year at Stanford. With 18 units of class, time in the gym almost every day, and plenty of golf to fill up my afternoons, free time is almost non-existent. At first glance, my schedule is a grind, to say the least. Time management, something that I’ve always prided myself on, is now a whole new ball game; operating on a day-to-day basis seemed to be the only way to tackle all this, starting out in early January, but I soon discovered that success was going to require a whole different level of commitment and planning. More than half-way finished, though, I can say that I’m in the best shape of my life, closer and closer to a performance breakthrough, and working as productively and efficiently as I ever have in school. The work is paying off tremendously, and I’m learning more about myself every day as a student, as an athlete, and as a person. Friends and family from home, over a recent long weekend, have commented on how much I’ve matured in just the last eight weeks. This, I’m learning, is why people come to Stanford. Students, alumni, and faculty alike, hold themselves to almost unrealistic expectations, and push until they get there. They harbor an unmatched level of motivation, constantly raising the bar for those around them. Just within the golf program, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best players, best coaches, and hardest working student-athletes in the country; with a little over three months left until finals in June, I can’t wait to see where I am after just one year at Stanford.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Graham Brockington on 1st Quarter at Stanford

Now that I have one quarter here at Stanford under my belt, I am feeling much more comfortable here and am really beginning to enjoy my time even more than I did last quarter. Now I know a full fifth of the campus and don't need to look at my map to get to every class!

I had a good winter break at home with my family and got to see some of my old friends. But now I am really happy to be back on the farm in new classes and to be back with the team. What I am especially looking forward to are the upcoming qualifying rounds and the chance to get into the team lineup and play in some tournaments. Since the team won the first tournament after coming back from winter break, I think that we are all even more pumped to keep up the good play and continue to win. Go Card!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Freshman Steve Ziegler on just missing qualifying

I arrived at Stanford and was immediately thrown into the new experience of being a collegiate student-athlete. I still remember how I felt excited, scared, anxious, and curious I was to see how the schoolwork and the golf would be.
At our first practice I remember playing a bunker game with Daniel and Joseph where we had to land our ball on golf towels laid out at various distances. We had to hit each towel a certain number of times before we could leave. Daniel and Joseph both finished the drill when I was approximately half way done. Immediately I became frustrated I was behind, but I ground it out and finally finished the drill. I remarked on how close I was getting to the towels and how I was inches away from finishing the drill much sooner. Daniel turned to me with a straight face and said, “Well, get better Ziegler!” but he couldn’t hold his serious face for long and let out a big grin. We laughed and I brushed it off, but then again there was some merit to his statement.
The season progressed and I was routinely one spot on the wrong side of every cut. At practice, we’d primarily play games around the green where the worst three out of nine guys would receive extra biking with coach after our already killer workouts. The first couple of times I thought I played well just to find myself in the seventh spot. Similarly, in qualifying a lot of times I ended up one or two strokes away from filling out the team (the one that hurt the most was missing going to Isleworth by one shot and thus missing hanging with Tiger for a couple days). I guess Lim was right, I needed to get better.
I finally got my first chance to play in a tournament at PGA West in Palm Springs. I’ll never forget how nervous I was for the front nine of that tournament. I have played a lot of tournament golf before but I was tight as a drum; I couldn’t put a swing on the ball I made a quadruple-bogey on my eighth hole and played my first nine in nine over par! However, I pulled it together and finished four under on my second nine for a sensational 77. I played well the rest of the week and everything turned out to be ok.
Another memorable round was during qualifying to go to Cordevalle. I was tied with Daniel after two rounds so it came down to a heads-up match at the Peninsula Club. For one of the few rounds of the season, I got my putter working and ended up shooting 66 (Daniel shot 71) It was a gratifying feeling no doubt to pull off a good round when I needed it. In hindsight, as we were shaking hands I should have told Daniel that I was just listening to his advice.
Steve Ziegler

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Jordan Cox on his motivated teammates

This fall quarter was my most enjoyable golf experience at Stanford thus far. To say that I wasn’t disappointed not to have a team win would be far from the truth; however, winning isn’t everything in a golf. Getting to know the 4 new freshmen and interacting with the team this past quarter was awesome. The great part about this team is that aside from having one of the best teams in the country, we have a group of motivated individuals who are genuinely great people.

The team traveled to Japan, Chicago, Palm Springs, Florida, and San Jose, California. What can be better than getting to travel the country to play golf with good friends and getting a Stanford education on top of that? In my opinion aren’t too many things better in life. To add to the fun, the guys on this team are some of the most competitive people I have ever met in my life. This is great because it pushes everyone on the team to constantly get better. In practice, on the golf course, and even in the weight room, the guys on the team are always trying to one up each other. It has helped my game in a large way and I am now playing some of the best golf of my life.

I would have to say that the most memorable experience this fall was traveling to Sonoma with the team and playing Mayacama golf club. This was amazing because we got to play Mayacama, one of the most beautiful golf courses in northern California, and everyone of the team spent several days together doing what we love the most. Golf! I think this trip is one of the reasons why the team bonded to well so early in the season and is going to be an event that helped ump start a successful season. Essentially we were living together and doing absolutely everything together. It will go down as one of my favorite golf trips at Stanford without a doubt. It is a privilege to be a part of the Stanford golf team, and I wear the block “S” on my chest with pride. Go Cardinal!

Jordan Cox, sophomore

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Freshman Sihwan Kim on his Fall season

When I first heard that I’m going to Japan for Topy Cup, I was super pump up to play in collegiate tournament for the first time. I didn’t quite know what to do after the announcement but to practice hard as I can to help my team out to win the tournament oversea. We fought hard in Japan, all of us grinded to get that first victory of the year. Although we finished 3rd in the field, I thought we did pretty well with all that pressure on top of us as defending NCAA Champions. We had a lot of fun over at Japan during and after the tournament and that will forever be in my memory.
My first work out was a total disaster. We did 300 yard shuttles 3 times and I was gone. I couldn’t walk for four days straight after that and I played one of the worst rounds of the year. The second work out was even more disastrous. We did 1000 YARD SUICIDES TWICE!!!!! I never felt more physically challenged in my life and my heart was about to burst out of my body. My body felt heavy all that weak. I still have a lot of trouble with work outs in the morning. But I’m super excited and happy that I’m getting stronger every second I work out in the morning.

The best part about the Stanford Men’s Golf team is its members. Coach Ray, Coach Tight, Grube, Dodge, Lim, Cox, JB, Zigs, Graham, Sultan and Me. It is a lot fun to play with these guys because they all have different playing styles and personalities on the golf course. When we go to tournaments, we support each other a lot. We pump each other up on the golf course and in the team meeting. It is just amazing what a team can do with your mind set. I personally think that I become very positive around the team.

Freshman, Sihwan Kim