Get ready for the ultimate rivalry showdown. This time, it won’t be possible for the men’s and women’s golf teams to split the bragging rights with Stanford, because they will be combining to play in a co-ed, winner-take-all tournament.
The Thursday battle, called the Menlo Matchup, will be the first annual affair of this style, as the 18 holes will be played as a four-ball match. This means that each school will pair up one man and one woman to compete against a rival duo, as each takes aim at bragging rights in the new format of the Big Match.
The event is modeled after the Arnold Palmer Cup, which is an annual tournament that features 12 men and 12 women from the United States competing against an international team of the same size.
On the men’s side of the green, Cal has proved to have a stronger team than Stanford, as both competed in the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational, where the Bears took home third place as a team compared the Cardinal’s eighth-place showing out of a 14-team field. Stanford finished with four players placing in the top 31 on the leaderboards, but Cal senior Collin Morikawa was the standout yet again, earning second place individually out of the entire field.
Stanford was led by senior Isaiah Salinda, who tied for 16th individually at the tournament after shooting a 1-under-par 69 on the final 18 holes of the weekend. Salinda was recognized with an All-Pac-12 honorable mention last season and is aiming to improve after a strong start to the fall.
The Lady Cardinal have had an extremely busy week, as they competed at the Annika Intercollegiate tournament from Monday to Wednesday, meaning no days off until the result of the Menlo Matchup is revealed. The women had a rough outing at their first tournament, finishing in 11th place out of 12 teams heading into the final day.
Stanford’s lineup is accentuated by junior Andrea Lee, who is one of the top players in collegiate women’s golf. She took home multiple individual first-place finishes last season en route to being named a Women’s Golf Coaches Association First-Team All-American, in addition to All-Pac-12 First Team. Lee was tied for third individually as of Wednesday morning at the Annika Intercollegiate, proving that her several accolades from last season were no fluke.
The Cal women, on the other hand, had a somewhat stronger showing to kick off their fall slate, as the team took home 8th place at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Bears posted three individual top-30 finishes, which included the talented freshman duo of Elena Arias and Katherine Zhu.
Cindy Oh, however, was the star of the show, as she had the best outing of her career on the way to a fourth-place finish. She finished the 72-hole tournament at 4 under 212, leading the Bears to their first top-five finish since Jiyoon Jang at last year’s Silverado Showdown.
The Bay Area rivalry will once again be refreshed Thursday afternoon as one of the country’s most unique tournaments gets its first show on the road.