SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Defending champion Cal (345-359 – 704, +4) is in third place after the first 36 holes of the Western Intercollegiate were played Saturday at the par-70, 6,615-yard Pasatiempo Golf Club. The Golden Bears, ranked as high as No. 2 nationally, will begin Sunday’s third and final round eight strokes behind Bay Area and Pac-12 rival Stanford (347-349 – 696, -4). The Bears had led the Cardinal by two strokes through the first 18 holes.
Cal and Stanford are expected to be in a seeding battle to stay on the West Coast for the only of six NCAA Regionals on the West Coast at the Eugene Country Club.
“Were the two highest ranked teams in the West and whoever is the highest is going to go to Eugene Country Club for an NCAA Regional,” head coach Steve Desimone said “Tomorrow is a very important day especially since they’ve beaten us once already. Both teams and coaches know exactly what’s at stake here.”
The teams will see each other one more time prior to the NCAA Regionals when they play April 25-27 at the Pac-12 Championship.
“It was a long day and a disappointing finish,” Desimone said. “The back nine is one of the great nines of golf. We caught some heavy winds and struggled. We actually hit some pretty good golf shots but at Pasatiempo you can still get punished and we did. But give the guys credit, they hung tough and made some birdies coming down the stretch.”
Last year, Cal trailed by nine shots heading into the final round and ended up winning by 13 strokes after a final-round 10-under par 340 that Desimone called “certainly one of the best and maybe the best in school history.”
“We’re not out of it by any stretch,” Desimone said.
Joël Stalter (65-72 – 137, -3) was tied with Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers (65-69 – 134, -6) on top of the leaderboard after 18 holes with both shooting five-under par opening rounds. Rodgers shares the lead after 36 holes three shots ahead of Stalter along with teammate Cameron Wilson (67-67 – 134, -6) and Washington’s Trevor Simbsy (67-67 – 134).
Stalter had nine birdies on the day, including five of seven during one stretch of his first round.
“This morning was awesome for me,” Stalter said. “I was looking to bounce back from last week. I played solid overall today even though the afternoon played hard and I struggled a bit. The team is only eight strokes back so it’s doable tomorrow if we pull out a good round. On to a tough battle tomorrow.”
Cameron Shaw (67-71 – 138, -2) is the next Cal player on the leaderboard in a tie for seventh place but is playing as an individual and does not count towards the team score.
“I’m really happy about being in the top 10 after the first day,” said Shaw, a redshirt freshman who is playing in only his second collegiate event. “I played well the entire day making short putts when I needed to. I’m excited to see what the team and I can do tomorrow.”
James Yoon (70-70 – 140, E) is in a tie for 10th after back-to-back even-par rounds. Yoon had his best career finish at the Western Intercollegiate in 2013 when he tied for seventh.
Michael Weaver (69-72 – 141, +1) is in a tie for 18th, while Pace Johnson (72-71 – 143, +3) and Brandon Hagy (69-74 – 143, +3) are both tied for 25th with Johnson is playing as an individual. Keelan Kilpatrick (73-72 – 145, +5) and Shotaro Ban (72-73 – 145, +5) are tied for 44th.
The tournament is scheduled to conclude with the final 18 holes Sunday with a shotgun start beginning at 8:30 a.m. Cal will play along with San Diego State in foursomes with two players from each team. Stalter and Yoon will start on the third hole, Hagy and Weaver on the fourth, Ban and Kilpatrick on the fifth, and Johnson and Shaw will on the 18th.
WESTERN INTERCOLLEGIATE (HOSTED BY SAN JOSE STATE)
SANTA CRUZ, CA
PASATIEMPO GOLF CLUB (PAR-70, 6,615 YARDS)
TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 1 of 2 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
1. Stanford (347-349 – 696, -4)
2. Washington (347-355 – 702, +2)
3. Cal (345-359 – 704, +4)
4. San Diego State (357-352 – 709, +9)
5. USC (355-355 – 710, +10)
6. Oregon (359-352 – 711, +11)
7. Texas (351-362 – 713, +13)
8. Arizona State (354-365 – 719, +19)
9. UC Irvine (361-363 – 724, +24)
10. SMU (356-369 – 725, +25)
11. UTEP (374-358 – 732, +32)
12. San Jose State (363-370 – 733, +33)
13. Memphis (361-376 – 737, +37)
14. Hawai’i (363-375 – 738, +38)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD – INDIVIDUAL LEADERS (after 1 of 2 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
T1. Cameron Wilson (Stanford) 67-67 – 134 (-6)
T1. Trevor Simbsy (Washington) 67-67 – 134 (-6)
T1. Patrick Rodgers (Stanford) 65-69 – 134 (-6)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 1 of 2 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
T5. Joël Stalter 65-72 – 137 (-3)
*T7. Cameron Shaw 67-71 – 138 (-2)
T14. James Yoon 70-70 – 140 (E)
T18. Michael Weaver 69-72 – 141 (+1)
*T25. Pace Johnson 72-71 – 143 (+3)
T25. Brandon Hagy 69-74 – 143 (+3)
T44. Keelan Kilpatrick 73-72 – 145 (+5)
T44. Shotaro Ban 72-73 – 145 (+5)
*Playing as an individual
► Cal has won six of 10 tournaments in 2013-14 and 24 of its last 36 stroke-play events dating back to the beginning of the 2011-12 season. The Bears have also been in the top five in 39 of 40 events during the stretch, with four other top-five finishes coming in four match-play events.
► Cal is playing in the 68th annual Western Intercollegiate as the defending champion and also won the event in 1950.
► Cal’s six wins in 2013-14 are tied for the second-most in school history with the 2011-12 squad and only the 2012-13 team’s 12 victories better.
► Stalter started on the 10th hole and after three straight pars would birdie the par-five 13th, par-three 15th, par-four 17th, par-three 18th and par-four first. After a bogey on the second he would pick up his final birdie of his first round on the par-four fourth before ending his round with five straight pars. In his second round, he finished strong with two birdies over his final four holes on the par-five sixth and ninth holes. He also birdied the other par-five on the course with his second consecutive birdie on 13. His bogeys came on the 11th, 16th and first holes – all par-fours – while he doubled the par-three third.
► Shaw fired seven birdies in his opening round that started on the 18th hole, making birdie on the third, par-four seventh, 10th and 12th, 15th and 17th. He bogeyed a pair of par-five holes on the sixth and 13th, while he made double bogey on the par-three eighth. His second time on the course he made 17 pars with the lone exception a bogey on eight.
► Yoon, who started on the 11th hole, had one of three Cal eagles on the day on the par-five ninth hole of his first round. He ended the day with nine birdies in addition to the eagle including six during his second round along with five bogeys and three double bogeys.
► Weaver started on the 11th hole and totaled 10 birdies, seven bogeys and two double bogeys.
► Hagy started on the 10th hole and eagled both of the par-fives on his back nine in his opening round on the sixth and ninth holes. He added seven birdies but also had 10 bogeys and two double bogeys.
► Johnson began on the 18th hole and finished with six birdies, five bogeys and two double bogeys.
► Ban and Kilpatrick both started on the 12th hole and posted five birdies, eight bogeys and one double bogey.