Thursday, November 14, 2013

Patrick Rodgers - Postcard from the practice tee!

Hello from the Farm,

Now is an exciting time to be a part of Stanford golf. The fall season has come to a conclusion and the offseason is upon us. Personally, I view this time period as extremely enjoyable, productive, and essential to future success. Although we don’t have any team competition days between now and our trip to Hawaii in February, we are all more motivated than ever to work on our game and improve.

There are a lot of us on the team that are taking the next few months to compete individually to stay sharp for the spring season. Thanksgiving and Winter Break both have plenty of opportunity to compete against the top players in the world in various offseason events. As individuals, we can take the many lessons learned from the fall season and try to improve in those areas and then go test it in competition. These offseason events are really crucial to being ready to play in February and being better not rusty on our trip to Hawaii.

Personally, I will be competing next week in the Callaway Invitational at Pebble Beach, a fun offseason event with an obviously outstanding venue. I am thrilled to be able to compete at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Del Monte and see how I have improved over the last month of hard work here on the farm.

Lastly, I cannot imagine a better place to spend the winter. Not only is the weather ideal for playing golf and getting better, but our facilities provide every opportunity to isolate your weaknesses and groove your strengths. Our resources such as Trackman, the guidance and assistance of our coaches and trainers and access to golf courses in the area truly provide the greatest opportunity to be the best golfer you can be. I feel so fortunate to be able to spend another winter here at Stanford and I think we are all excited for the limitless possibilities of the spring season.

Go Card!

Patrick Rodgers

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Erin Hills review from a player's perspective - By David Boote

David Boote had a last minute call up to the traveling lineup for Erin Hills last week and made the very most of the opportunity. Here David recounts the story of the successful week in Wisconsin from a team player perspective...

A big hello to all of our Stanford Men’s Golf fans!!

So it’s time to start off this year’s blogs with a bang, and no better way to do it then blogging a win! Last week was our second tournament of the Fall season and a great opportunity with some fresh new faces on the team to show what we can do. Two freshman; Jim Liu and Maverick McNealy, made their first collegiate start and it would have been three freshmen playing if it wasn’t for an injury to Viraat Badhwar’s wrist. Personally, it was a very quick turn around for myself.  Having missed out via the qualifying stages to Viraat I was told last minute the afternoon before we travelled that I was going. To say that I, along with the rest of the team was excited to play this gem of a course would have been an understatement…

Practise Round Day: We arrived at Erin Hills with a large buzz around the team. Three of our top 5 had played the course in the 2011 US amateur championship, so we certainty didn’t lack experience with the course. Having been warned of a potential bad weather system settling in later in the day, we set off for our practice round at 11.40am. The course was entirely how we all expected it; long, windy, fescue grass lining the fairways. - - Apart from the odd 1-foot wide trench bunker dotted around some of the greens which were disasters waiting to happen... We got as far as the 6th tee box, when the monsoon rainfall /biblical thunderstorm arrived. Huddling in a small lightning safe hut we, along with a few other teams, watching as the course around us was flooded with the rain. It seemed like it was set in for the day and we were wandering whether we would ever get back out to see the rest of the course.
Around an hour later, the weather had subsided and we were back out. However now light was not on our side! We managed to get round to the 11th tee box when the second siren went off signaling the end of play for the day.

That evening we settled into the hotel bar, resembling a barn style atmosphere where we discussed everything from course strategy for the coming days to which sports were better... British or American.. or why the US pro baseball league should ever be called the World Series?!

Competition Day 1: Everybody was in good spirits the first morning, perhaps helped along by Stanford Football’s win the night before. However we had our own Stanford athletic achievement to pursue.. It was time to knuckle down!
The first day was a great all round team performance, with all five scores par or better. We had accumulated a commanding six shot lead over UCLA, who we never beat last year.

Jim Liu practicing his Two Step dance moves in preparation for the Wisconsin ladies!!

Day 2: The second day was met with the same intensity. We consolidated our six shot lead by increasing it to 11 shots; helped along by Jim Liu’s round of 3 under, and two solid rounds of level par from Cam and Patrick. The other level par round from myself was not quite as solid but it was helped along by a nice bit of luck on the 6th hole!!

Day 3: It had been a while since we had last secured a team win so the nerves were greater today. However good warm up routines and assurance for our teammates helped us prepare for we what we needed to deliver. 
It was a solid day for a team with such a commanding lead. The term, “we did what had to be done,” springs to mind. Patrick led us as he so often does with a superb round of 3 under. Maverick managed a much needed round of one over whilst Cam and I played as we had been the previous days. Jim would have counted also if it wasn’t for an unfortunate start (for which he has earned himself the nickname, “Tin Cup”) and finish. But what a way to fight back from Jim to shot just 2 over! This kind of hard work and determination from both Freshmen this week is what we will need throughout the season!

And Guess what! We totaled up the scores and we did it! Patrick secured his sixth collegiate win in style, beating St. John’s University’s Ryan McCormick by 3 shots.

Here he is with his trophy (the photo was taken in the fescue because clearly he hadn’t experienced enough of it during the week)

And here is the winning team... What a strapping bunch of young lads!!

Of course, this win couldn’t have been achieved without all the hard work from both Coach Ray and Coach Rowe. As always they did everything they could to allow us to play our best golf.  

A huge thank you should also go to all the volunteers, the staff at Erin Hills Golf Club for all their hard work and to Marquette University for hosting!

Last, but certainly not least a big thank you to all the supporters that came out on the course to support us!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Freshman Keegan English uniquely introduces his Stanford teammates

Freshman Keegan English

This fall was unreal. I showed up to campus as a normal student and now am a member of the best golf program in the country, arguable only to outsiders who don’t know the essence of Stanford golf. Not only do we have an incredible golf course and practice facility, but we also have great coaches, a great supporting staff, and most importantly, great team chemistry. And let me tell you, these guys are good. Behind every stat, every national ranking, every 61 lies thousands of hours of hard work and an insatiable appetite to be the best. It’s a pleasure to be a small part of this program and witness greatness every day.
One thing that gets lost between the scores and the news articles, however, is each player’s personality. All my teammates are fantastic golfers – everyone knows that – but you don’t truly know them until you ride with them to a tournament, wise-cracking, impersonating, and debating politics the whole way. Seeing that I have been on this ride, I’m going to take the liberty of reintroducing my teammates.

David Boote (Fr.)
            Nickname: Booter
Unknown Facts: Says “Cheers” instead of “Thank you” after hitting a good shot; Allergic to everything; Irresistible accent according to multiple Stanford women
            Golf: He never bogeys
Dominick Francks (Fr.)
            Nickname: Dom
Unknown Facts: Can throw down a basketball; Secret Sci-Fi fan; Scary high SAT score
            Golf: Deep, very deep
Patrick Grimes (So.)
            Nickname: Grimey Dude
Unknown Facts: Has spot on impressions of everyone; Can quote any movie; Stand up comedy potential
            Golf: Delectable Short Game
Patrick Rodgers (So.)
            Nickname: Rodg
            Unknown Facts: Good basketball player; Huge Colts/Andrew Luck fan; Almost married
            Golf: PGA Tour
 Shane Lebow (Jr.)
            Nickname: Lebow
Unknown Facts: Buys every new golf gadget; Loves Grimes’s swing; Caught between saving the environment and playing pristine golf courses 
            Golf: Bunker-wiz, Mr. Consistent
Cameron Wilson (Jr.)
            Nickname: Cam
Unknown Facts: Loves politics; Reads the paper and editorials online every morning; Will win 5 straight Tour events after getting sponsors exemptions
            Golf: Silky, Picturesque
Steven Kearney (Sr.)
            Nickname: Kearn Dog
            Unknown Facts: Smooth talker with the ladies; Has oft impersonated golf routines
            Golf: “Fairways and Greens, Baby!”
Andre De Decker (Sr.)
            Nickname: Decks
            Unknown Facts: Fantastic South African accent; Most interesting man in the world 
            Golf: Scrambles like Seve
Andrew Yun (Sr.)
            Nickname: Yunner
Unknown Facts: Played well at Q-school this fall; Tells everyone he majors in Sociology with a minor in Quantum Mechanics; Great impersonator
            Golf: Nasty short game (Nasty being the ultimate compliment)
Wilson Bowen (Super Sr.)
            Nickname: The President of Stanford Golf                
Unknown Facts: Super smart; Landed tech-focused investment banking job with Morgan Stanley
            Golf: Ball striker, Thrives in the elements

The team is a bunch of ordinary guys doing extraordinary things, supporting and encouraging one another on the road to the National Championship. I am honored to be part of the heritage of Stanford Golf and am blessed to have this unique opportunity.

Keegan English (’16) 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Patrick Rodgers writes about his Australia trip to play for Team USA

            Over winter break, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Melbourne, Australia. I was invited as part of Team USA to participate in the Australian Master of theAmateurs. The tournament was held at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, the host site of the 2011 President’s Cup and a top golf course in Australia with worldwide accolades. I had an excellent eight-day experience as I learned about Australian culture and faced the challenge that is golf is Australia.
            We flew directly from Los Angeles to Melbourne on the 15 hour flight that was the longest flight of my life on one of the commercial planes in the world. The challenge is to avoid jet lag upon arrival so we had to stay up until around 6 am ET and sleep for about 8 hours in order to be ready for a full day in Australia. A few movies and books kept me entertained and comfortable seating allowed me to sleep soundly.
            On the first day we had the opportunity to explore the city of Melbourne. I was surprised at the size of Melbourne. It is a city similar in size to San Francisco and had many neat cultural experiences to offer. The beautiful Yarra River meandered through the city creating many scenic views and many great spots to eat and spend time along the river. The city is very modern with unique skyscrapers and businesses that make for a awesome skyline. Of course the city also offered many American businesses such a McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks (Burger King), and 7/11.
            After a day in the city we played our first round at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on day 2. It was the summer down in Australia so the golf course played extremely firm and fast. Drives were running out some 40-50 yards and each approach shot needed to land 10-15 yards short of the flag. The greens are known as some of the best in Australia and at tournament time were running 12.5 on the stimp meter. Royal Melbourne is also known for the whipping wind that makes it hard for the ball to stay at rest at times. The fairways were forgiving but if they were missed, the bushes and dangerous wildlife of Australia awaited. All in all it made for a very difficult test of golf.
            Sports are a big part of the culture in Australia and their sports are very different from the states. Rugby and soccer or football as they call it down under are extremely popular and the national team is followed very closely. Cricket is also a huge part of the national culture in a similar way to baseball in the United States. We knew almost nothing about sport heading into the trip but grew accustomed to the game throughout the week. It is a game in which a bowler, similar to a pitcher in baseball throws a bouncing ball at the batter who is protecting rods behind him called the wicket. The circular field is defended by the outfielders and the batter is trying to hit the ball outside of the boundary or far enough to run back and forth between two wickets before the defense gets the ball back into play. It is a fun game to watch and we watched a professional game between the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder. I enjoyed the experience and will continue to follow cricket from the states.
            I began the tournament feeling confident in my game and ready for the challenge of a new style of golf. Each round offered a new challenge as the wind varied in direction and intensity, the golf course continued to get firmer and the weather changed rapidly. We experienced 105 degree heat as well as 60 degree days that offered a unique challenge. I played consistently over the four days but not quite my best golf and after rounds of 72-73-71-70 finished in 6th place at 2 under par.  My last round was memorable as I played my best round of the week in the most difficult conditions playing my last 7 holes in 4 under par. In the team competition, Brandon Hagy (Cal) and I made up 9 shots in the final round to tie for 1st in the World Cup that included 11 teams.
            Stanford golf supporters have a lot of reasons to be excited for the future. A 2013 recruit and the number one junior player in Australia Viraat Badwhar took homethe individual title with a 9 under par total. He comes to Stanford in September and his impressive play will be greatly welcomed to the farm.  The 2012-2013 team is really excited about the spring season to come and feel that with hard work and consistent improvement we can achieve our goals at the end of the season.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Senior Steven Kearney shares many highlights from his 4 years at Stanford

Editor's Note - Steven Kearney wrote this only a few weeks before his best Stanford finish in the Hawaii tournament where he tied for 4th overall and shot 208 to lead the team.

It feels like just yesterday that I was writing my freshman year blog. How time flies! Each year has brought both excitement and surprises, and this year has been no exception so far. We started off the season by going to Scotland for an entire week and played some of the most incredible courses in the world. We even got to meet up with the St. Andrews golf team and spend some time touring the city. I also found out that the pot bunker on 17 is even deeper than it looks on television! Our first tournament of the season was at Olympia Fields in Chicago at the same time as the Ryder Cup. After our practice round we were able to make it out there and watch some of the matches. Shane and I were able to squeeze through the crowd to get a glimpse of Tiger on the par 3 17th. After he hit it close we started waving our American flags in the air and joined the crowd who had begun singing the National Anthem. There was a lot of patriotism that day and we all really enjoyed it.
This was also the first year that we hosted a match play tournament at Cypress Point in Monterey. To say that it was a unique experience would be an understatement. To play match play on arguably the best golf course in the world is something that college golfers can usually only dream about. One situation that stands out the most to me during the tournament was during the best ball round against Washington. Dominick and I were standing on the 17th tee box with the match all square. We both hit irons off the tee to ensure we stayed out of the giant cypress tree the hangs into the fairway. Then both of the Washington players proceeded to hit drivers and flew into the tree, leaving them with no shot to the green. We ended up winning the match because of that hole. It just goes to show you that playing conservative in some situations can really pay off!
                  Our year is going well so far. We finished off the fall season by giving UCLA a run at the Gifford Invitational at Corde Valle. After Cameron’s incredible 61 the first day, we found ourselves neck and neck with the Bruins on the last nine holes. Unfortunately we weren’t able to pull through and lost by a few shots, but it was a great feeling to see everyone grinding it out to the very end. We will see them again many times throughout the rest of the season and I have a feeling it will be a different story next time. The quarter proved to be a challenge academically for the entire team. Playing five tournaments means a lot of time away from school, so everyone has to be on top of their school work and manage their time well. I wrote a 25 page research article for one of my classes. Shane, Cameron, David, and I also wrote a 60 page paper for our group project in another class. Although it can seem like a lot of work at times, we are all used to it by now. We were even able to participate in a community service event with the Boys and Girls club in East Palo Alto. We played soccer and dodgeball with underprivileged youth at an elementary school. Let’s just say that most of the guys on the team should definitely stick to golf!
I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the PAC 12 Championship and the Rose Bowl this year to watch our football team make history. Let’s follow in their footsteps on our way to the 2013 NCAA Championship! Go Card!