After dominating the college game as a member of Stanford’s women’s golf team, Mariah Stackhouse rookie season has been filled with ups and downs, but the Georgia product has shown flashes of brilliance that are reminiscent of her Cardinal run.
Stackhouse’s historical play in 2015 and 2016 was a key component of Stanford University’s back-to-back appearances in the D1 golf championship. In 2015, she was trailing by two shots on the 17th hole of the final round. Under immense pressure, she birdied the next two holes, and shot for par on the 19th hole to give Stanford their first ever national women’s title.In 2016, Stackhouse after leading Stanford to a 2nd championship match, only to fall to Washington, Stackhouse decided to go pro.
In March of this year, the 23-year old Stackhouse became only the eighth African-American woman to join the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Another accomplishment in a long line of firsts. At 17 years old, she was the youngest African-American woman ever selected to participate in the U.S. Open. She followed that achievement by becoming the first ever African-American woman to make the U.S. Curtis Cup team; that team would go on to win the title.
Stackhouse’s transition to the professional ranks has not happened without a level of difficulty. She failed to make the cut four times out of her first five professional tournaments. Stackhouse would rebound to make the cut in four straight tournaments. Her best professional outing came in early July at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Out of a field filled with several veteran golfers, Stackhouse shot a 67 in the final round (average round of 71 and 16 under par), which was good enough to tie for eighth place. The finish gave the rookie her first top 10 professional finish and largest payday ($44,705).
The fairway is not the only place where the young professional excels. Stackhouse also spends time putting her good fortune to work for others. She recently partnered with professional services company KMPG to donate books and furniture to a Georgia elementary school. She also collaborated with former Secretary of State and fellow Stanford graduate, Condoleezza Rice to conduct leadership training and career development seminars for college students.
Judging from her play as an amateur and glimpses of dominance as a pro, its only a matter of time before Steakhouse rises up the Rolex rankings (she’s currently 338th in the world). But it isn’t her play alone that makes the golf world believe in Mariah. In a sport where flavor is rare, Stackhouse has a lot of it. From her braids, to her infectious smile and love for her beloved Falcons, Stackhouse is a fun, engaging young lady, who is also a potential great, something the Tour hasn’t seen in eons.