Cal Tied for 15th after First Round of NCAA's
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Release:  05/29/2012

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May 29, 2012

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - The Riviera Country Club lived up to its relentless reputation on the opening day of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship on Tuesday with none of the top 30 teams in the nation breaking par at the famed course. Cal is tied for 15th after shooting an 11-over par round of 295 on the par-71 course that is playing at 7,292 yards.

"We expected that," head coach Steve Desimone said of the tough numbers yielded Tuesday. "Riviera is a great golf course."

The Golden Bears are five strokes out of one of the coveted top eight spots that will move those squads on to match play quarterfinals beginning Friday. The entire field will continue with the remaining 36 holes of the 54-hole stroke play portion of the event Wednesday and Thursday.

"We're not in a bad spot; we're not in a great spot," Desimone offered. "There's 36 holes of [stroke play] golf left. We got off to a slow start [today], steadied during the middle of the round and then threw a couple of shots away down the stretch."

Alabama is the first-round leader after a one-over par 285. Florida, Auburn and UCLA are three shots back at four-over par 288. Iowa, Florida State, North Florida, Texas and Central Florida trail by another stroke with five teams log jammed in a tie for sixth.

Brandon Hagy had the best opening round for Cal on Tuesday with an even-par 71 and is tied for 13th place on the individual leader board. Pace Johnson is tied for 27th one stroke behind Hagy after shooting a one-over par 72. Rounds of five-over par 76 by both Max Homa and Michael Kim also counted for the Bears with the duo tied for 98th. Joël Stalter's round of 78 was the score Cal dropped. Stalter is tied for 130th.

Hagy trails first-round leader Anton Arboleda of UCLA by four shots after the Bruin sophomore shot an opening-round 67 for a one-stroke lead over both Corey Conners of Kent State and Tyler McCumber of Florida. A total of 12 individuals broke par on Tuesday.

Hagy started on the 10th hole as did all Cal golfers and was never in the black, posting the first of his three birdies by chipping in from 20 feet on the par-four 13th hole. Two holes later, he would chip in from 40 feet to save par on the par-four 15th. He answered the first of three bogeys on the par-three 16th with a birdie on the par-five 17th for a one-under par 35 at the turn. He would get to two-under when he birdied his final par-five of the day on the first hole to start his back nine, but bogeys on the par-four second and seventh holes gave him his final score.

"Today is the tougher round of the first two playing in the afternoon," Hagy said. "It was just about hanging in there, and I think I did that for the most part. As for the team, today was just about getting in a decent round and staying in touch with the top eight. We're right there. It's really bunched and I think the guys will play better tomorrow."

Playing in the team's fifth and final spot in the lineup for the second consecutive event after not playing at the Pac-12 Championship, Johnson came up huge especially considering he was three-over par after six holes with bogeys on the 10th, 12th and 15th, all par-fours. He started his comeback with back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17, and then got to even when he started his back nine with a birdie on one. He would bogey two before his team-high-tying fourth birdie of the round on the par-four fifth to stay even before bogeying the par-four eighth.

"I hung in there attitude-wise," Johnson said. "It was a tough start, but I got it back. I had plenty of holes to make up for those three early bogeys, and that's what I did."

Homa matched Johnson's four birdies but had an up-and-down round that included seven bogeys and a double. Homa's first three holes were indicative of the up-and-down day he would have as he bogeyed 10, birdied the par-five 11th and doubled 12. After three straight pars, he bogeyed 16 and birdied 17. Another birdie on one would briefly get him to one-over before four consecutive bogeys on the second thru fifth holes, all par-fours other than the par-three fourth, dropped him to five-over. He would stay there with two pars, a birdie on eight and a bogey on nine, both par-fours, over his final four holes.

Kim mostly rebounded from a four-over par 40 on his front nine with a one-over par 36 on his back that included three birdies. He was at two-over for the day after bogeys on 12 and 16 before a double on 17 put him at four-over. His first birdie came on the first hole, but he doubled two and bogeyed three to get to six-over before answering with his best stretch of the round as he came up with back-to-back birdies on five and the par-three sixth. A bogey on seven made for his final score.

Stalter managed a pair of birdies on the 11th and 16th holes, but also had two double bogeys on 12 and five, and five bogeys on 10, the par-three 14th, the par-fourth 18, three and eight.

Cal will be in the opening group off the first tee for the second round of stroke play on Wednesday at 7 a.m. PT. Johnson is in the first threesome and be followed in 10-minute intervals by groups including Stalter, Homa, Kim and Hagy, respectively. The third-seeded Bears will play with top-seeded Texas and second-seeded Alabama for the second consecutive day. Pairings and tee times for Thursday's third and final day of stroke play will be determined by the results of the first 36 holes of stroke play and announced following the conclusion of Wednesday's action.

"The key is that we not panic," Desimone said. "We've got 36 holes left and we're only four or five shots out of that magic number in the top eight. When you have 36 holes left, you've got a lot of golf and lots of opportunities to get right back where you want to be."

"These guys have been resilient all year," Desimone added. "From the beginning of the season right up until today we've hung tough, and I like our chances of getting better each round similar to what we did at Trysting Tree for the Pac-12's and most importantly as we did at Stanford to win the NCAA Regional."

NCAA Championship (hosted by USC)
Pacific Palisades, Calif. - The Riviera Country Club (par-71, 7,292 yards)

TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)
1. Alabama (285, +1)
T2. Florida (288, +4)
T2. Auburn (288, +4)
T4. UCLA (289, +5)
T4. Oklahoma (289, +5)
T6. Iowa (290, +6)
T6. Florida State (290, +6)
T6. North Florida (290, +6)
T6. Texas (290, +6)
T6. Central Florida (290, +6)
11. Oregon (291, +7)
12. San Diego State (293, +9)
T13. Kent State (293, +9)
T13. Stanford (293, +9)
T15. Georgia (295, +11)
T15. Cal (295, +11)
T15. Illinois (295, +11)
T15. East Carolina (295, +11)
T15. Liberty (295, +11)
20. Washington (296, +12)
21. Alabama-Birmingham (297, +13)
T22. USC (298, +14)
T22. Texas A&M (298, +14)
T24. Chattanooga (299, +15)
T24. TCU (299, +15)
T24. Memphis (299, +15)
T24. Virginia Tech (299, +15)
T24. Lamar (299, +15)
T29. Virginia (306, +22)
T29. Tulsa (306, +22)

PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)
1. Anton Arboleda (UCLA) 67 (-4)

PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)
T13. Brandon Hagy 71 (E)
T27. Pace Johnson 72 (+1)
T98. Max Homa 76 (+5)
T98. Michael Kim 76 (+5)
T130. Joël Stalter 78 (+7)