TUCSON, Ariz. – Cal (268-281-282 – 831, -33) closed out its sixth win of the season Sunday with its first-ever victory at the National Invitational Tournament by finishing with its second-lowest 54-hole score of the year. Joël Stalter (68-71-66 – 205, -11) fired a six-under par 66 that was the best round of the day on his way to a three-shot win.
“It was awesome for the team to win after a tough tournament our last time out,” Stalter said in reference to the team’s eighth-place finish in its most recent event at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. “The individual win was like the cherry on top of the cake. I could not be happier. It was a big round for me today and I’m really happy I pulled it off.”
“Hats off to Joël for a great round today,” head coach Steve Desimone added. “It was a nice win for him.”
Brandon Hagy (64-77-68 – 209, -7) rebounded from his five-over par round of 77 on Saturday to shoot a four-under 68 on Sunday, moving up six spots into fifth place for his seventh top-five and eighth top-10 showing of the season.
Great team win today at the NIT by 15 over SMU!! Also big congrats to @JoelStalter21 on the Indy win! #gobears
Three different Cal players led at the conclusion of each round at the par-72, 7,200-yard Catalina Course at the Omni Tucson National Resort, with Hagy and Weaver on top after 18 and 36 holes, respectively. The individual score from each Cal player was used at least twice towards the team score, with all three rounds from Stalter and Kilpatrick being counted.
“This was a complete team victory,” Desimone said. “It was great to see all five guys in the lineup finish in the top 20.”
Cal’s closest competitors Oklahoma State (282-288-276 – 846, -18) and SMU (290-275-281 – 846, -18) tied for second after the best and third-best rounds of the day but were still 15 shots behind the Bears in the final results. Cal shot the best round of the tournament with a 20-under par 268 in the opening round that also tied its best of the season and the 13-stroke lead it held at the end of the first round was never seriously threatened.
“We got off to a great start in this tournament and then played steady golf over the final two rounds,” Desimone said.
Cal is next in action April 5-6 for the first time ever at the Aggie Invitational hosted by Texas A&M.
NATIONAL INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT (HOSTED BY ARIZONA) TUCSON, ARIZ. OMNI TUCSON NATIONAL RESORT – CATALINA COURSE (PAR-72, 7,200 YARDS)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) 1. Cal (268-281-282 – 831, -33) T2. Oklahoma State (282-288-276 – 846, -18) T2. SMU (290-275-281 – 846, -18) T4. San Diego State (284-284-283 – 851, -13) T4. UNLV (284-287-280 – 851, -13) 6. New Mexico (288-279-286 – 853, -11) 7. Arizona (281-290-291 – 862, -2) 8. TCU (299-286-283 – 868, +4) 9. Texas A&M (287-290-292 – 869, +5) 10. San Diego (290-290-292 – 872, +8) 11. Marquette (287-296-291 - 874, +10) 12. New Mexico State (301-290-285 – 876, +12) 13. UTEP (298-295-296 – 889, +25) 14. Wyoming (304-314-298 – 916, +52)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD – INDIVIDUAL MEDALIST (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) 1. Joël Stalter (Cal) 68-71-66 – 205 (-11)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) 1. Joël Stalter 68-71-66 – 205 (-11) 5. Brandon Hagy 64-77-68 – 209 (-7) T14. Keelan Kilpatrick 69-69-75 – 213 (-3) T17. James Yoon 70-71-73 – 214 (-2) T17. Michael Weaver 67-70-77 – 214 (-2) *T43. Shotaro Ban 76-72-71 – 219 (+3) *Playing as an individual
NOTES ► Including its six wins in nine 2013-14 tournaments, Cal has won 24 of its last 34 stroke-play events dating back to the beginning of the 2013-14 season. The Bears have also been in the top five in 38 of 39 events during that stretch, with four other top-five finishes coming in four match-play events.
► Cal’s first-ever victory at the National Invitational Tournament was in its first appearance at the event since 2010.
► Stalter’s victory was his third of the season and fifth of his career.
► Stalter birdied half of his first 16 holes Sunday without a bogey to get to eight-under before bogeys on the par-three 17th and par-four 18th gave him a six-under 66. He made birdies on all four of the course’s par-five holes (2, 8, 10, 15), while his four others came on par-fours (1, 6, 11, 16). He finished the tournament with 21 birdies.
► Hagy shot a blistering five-under par 31 on the back nine Sunday with birdies on the 10th, 11th, par-four 13th, 15th and 16th holes. He was one-over on the front with two other birdies on the par-five second and par-four fifth, as well as three bogeys on the par-four first, par-three fourth and par-five eighth.
► Kilpatrick had two birdies in his round Sunday on the second and par-four 14th holes but also had a double bogey (10) and three bogeys (1, 4, 8) as his score of 75 was six strokes higher than the back-to-back scores of 69 he fired Friday and Saturday.
► Weaver started his third and final round with a one-shot lead and began with back-to-back birdies before an eight on the par-three fourth hole. He would add bogeys on the par-four ninth, par-three 12th and 14th holes before making Cal’s lone eagle of the tournament on the par-five 15th. He also bogeyed the 18th.
► Yoon had three of his birdies on the day over the first five holes (1, 2, 5) with his other also coming on the front nine on eight. His three bogeys were on the par-three seventh, as well as the par-four ninth and 11th. He also had a double bogey on 18.
► Playing as an individual Ban had his best round of the event with a one-under par round that included four birdies (2, 4, 14, 15) and could have been a whole lot better without a triple bogey on 13.