May 21, 1998
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BEARS TRAVEL TO NEW MEXICO The 30th-ranked California men's golf team will be making its third appearance this decade in the NCAA Men's Golf Championship when the Golden Bears head to Albuquerque, N.M. for the May 27-30 30-team tournament
THE TOURNAMENT The Championship is being hosted by the University of New Mexico at UNM's Championship Golf Course (par-72, 7,248). The tournament will will feature the 30 teams, and six individuals qualifiers, that advanced from last week's three NCAA Regionals. Championship play will consist of 82 holes, with 18 holes played each of the tournament's four days. There will be a cut after tournament's first 36 holes are completed on Wednesday. The top 15 teams, plus the top nine individuals not on one of those teams will make the cut battle for the Championship.
CAL AT THE NCAA WEST REGIONAL Cal finished tied with Arizona for fourth place (+10) at the NCAA West Regional. The Bears secured their NCAA berth with an even-par third round total of 288. Dan Arroyo was the Bears top finisher in 14th place (E- 216).
ALBUQUERQUE MAKES THREE Cal's 1998 trip to the NCAA Championship in Albuquerque will be the Golden Bears third since 1990. Although the Bears also played in the 1941 NCAA Championship, the '90 season was the first time Cal advanced out of regional play. Cal's best outing at the NCAA Championship came in its last NCAA appearance in 1995 when the Bears finished in sixth. Cal combined to card a four round total of 14-over-par 1166 to finish 10 strokes behind tournament champion Oklahoma State. Individually, the Bears were led by Charlie Wi (even-par 288) and Garrett Larson (1-over 289), who finished in 11th and 14 place, respectively.
THE BEARS ARE BACK When Cal received a berth in the 1998 NCAA West Regional berth, it was the fifth time this decade that the Bears had appeared in postseason competition - 1990, '93, '95, '97 and '98. Although that may not be newsworthy for some of collegiate golf's elite programs, it does reveal how far Cal golf program has come under the direction of head coach Steve Desimone as the Bears posted zero postseason appearances between 1941 and 1989.
CLOSE CALL A PAC-10s The Golden Bears registered a very respectable fourth place finish at the 1998 Pac-10 Championship, their best finish at the conference tournament since a second in 1995 Cal actually led the highly competitive Pac-10 field for the tournament's first three rounds, but couldn't hold off a furious charge from Arizona State.
THE BEARS HOT START Cal opened the 1997-98 season as one of the hottest collegiate golf squads in the country as the Bears brought home tournament titles from three of the first four competitions they entered. Cal kicked off the year by winning the Falcon-Cross Creek Invitational, Sept. 12-14. Just 10 days later, the Bears won their second fall tournament at the Pacific Invitational, Sept. 22-23. Cal's opened the spring with its third tournament win of the year at the International Intercollegiate in Monterrey, Mexico, Feb. 5-7.
MR. CONSISTENCY Junior Dan Arroyo's owns Bears lowest average (72.4 over 34 rounds of play this year) ... Arroyo has finished in the Top 15 in seven of Cal's 11 tournaments ... Arroyo finished out of the Top 26 only the once this year (U.S. Intercollegiate, T69th) ... Arroyo posted his lowest round at the Pac-10 Championship (7-under 65) ... Arroyo led the Pac-10 Championship for the tournament's first three rounds before finishing tied for second ... Arroyo had four Top 5 and five Top 10 finishes this season ... as a freshman, Arroyo played in the 1996 NCAA Central Regional as a member of the Minnesota men's golf team.
SHARING THE WEALTH Although Cal has yet to have a player turn in a medalist performance this season, all five golfers in Cal's staring lineup have posted Top 10 finishes this season, with three (Ainbinder, Arroyo and Coyle) recording Top 3 placings.
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO Junior team captain Jay Berkowitz's round of 8-under 64 during the opening day of play at the International Intercollegiate was not only the best single round fired by a Bear this year, it was also a school record-low round. Berkowitz's score was instrumental as Cal also set a school-record low round of 22-under 266.
PAC-10 HONORS THREE BEARS The Pac-10 Conference named three Cal golfers to its Men's Golf All-Conference team. Dan Arroyo, a junior out of Walnut Creek's, headed the list for Cal and was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection. Fellow junior, Dan Coyle was named to the second team, while freshman Adam Ainbinder received honorable mention recognition. Dong Yi, who earned second team honors as a freshman in 1997 (the only Pac-10 freshman all-league pick), was the Bears only all-conference choice last season.
YOUNG GUNS After playing the 1996-97 campaign with only one senior, the 1997-98 Bears are doing last year's squad one better - this year's team has no seniors. And though this group was thought to be a year away, they are already proving to be a dangerous team that can challenge for the title at any tournament. A peak at the roster shows the Bears with 3 freshmen, 3 sophomores and 5 juniors.
BEARS ADVANCE TO NCAAs WITHOUT TOP PLAYER The California men's golf team suffered a huge blow in early March when its top player, sophomore Dong Yi suffered a season-ending injury to his right wrist. After undergoing exploratory arthroscopic surgery, doctors discovered a torn tendon sheath. It was the second time this season that Yi has had problems with the wrist. Yi, who had been battling tendinitis during the fall, actually broke a bone in the wrist in December. After appearing to have rehabilitated the injury, Yi returned to the links and had hoped to play himself back into the Bears lineup until this latest setback. Yi will petition the NCAA with the hope of receiving a medical redshirt.