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Cardinal Cruise to NCAA Mens Title

NCAA Division I MenWILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Stanford ran away with the NCAA golf tournament title Saturday, capturing its first championship since Tiger Woods led the school to the crown in 1994.
Southern California freshman Jamie Lovemark took the individual title, using three late birdies in his second consecutive 6-under 64.
Stanford won the tournament by 12 strokes after shooting a 1-over 281 for an 11-under 1,109 total. Gorgia rallied to finish second at 1 over, and Lamar and Charlotte shared third, another four shots back. Lamar shot 5 under Saturday.
The Cardinal's consistency took the suspense away early.
'It's pretty surreal,' said Zack Miller, who closed with a 1-over 71 on the 6,803-yard Golden Hoseshoe Gold Course to finish tied for 15th. He said the Cardinal set a goal this season of winning a tournament for the first time in their careers.
Instead, they won seven, including their eighth national championship.
'We came here wanting to be competitive, not just a participant,' Miller said. 'Everyone's all smiles now.'
Lovemark, the Pac 10 champion, was three off the lead when the round began. He was four behind Clemson freshman Kyle Stanley when he reached the 14th tee, then followed a par with three consecutive birdies. Bogeys by Stanley at No. 12 and 14 gave Lovemark the lead all to himself, and Stanley came to the final hole needing birdie to tie.
Stanley hit a good drive on the final hole, but his ball came to rest in a divot. His approach on the par-4 missed the green to the right, and his chip came up about 5 feet from the cup. Disappointed, he two-putted for his third bogey of the round.
That left Stanford's top player, Rob Grube, as the lone likely challenger. He was 7 under through 14 holes, but three pars and a finishing bogey left him third.
The national title, though, was a very nice consolation prize, he said. It was the goal of the Cardinal players since the start of the season.
'There's probably only about seven people that thought that was a possibility, but that's fortunately all you need,' he said after a closing 71 for a 6-under 274 total.
The victory was a nice cap to the season for Lovemark, who plans to leave Sunday for the Palmer Cup that pits amateurs from the United States against Europeans.
'It means a lot,' Lovemark said of the victory. 'It means I've improved a lot during the course of the year and during the course of the last couple of years.'
But, he said, it doesn't make him think of turning pro.
'I still know I have a long ways to go,' he said.
Stanley was disappointed to have finished so poorly after starting the day with a share of the lead. He, Grube and Georgia Tech's Cameron Tringale were all 6 under.
'After the front nine, I was in pretty good shape,' said Stanley, who made the turn at 4-under but finished with a 69. 'I just didn't play that well on the back.'
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