Men's Golf Ready for Pac-10 Championship
April 24, 1998
TEEING OFF: After posting sub-par outings in its last two events, the California men's golf team will try to return to the form that brought it three titles in the year's first four tournaments when the Bears host the Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship, April 27-29. The 72-hole tournament, which will be held at the Orinda Country Club (Par-72, 6352 yards), will open with 36-holes on Monday, followed by 18-hole rounds on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Rounds one, three and four will tee off at 8:00 a.m. from both the first and 10th tees. Monday's second round has been pushed back 30 minutes and will now begin at approximately 1:00 p.m. using the same format. Teams will consist of six players with the five best scores from each 18-hole round applying towards the team score.
CAL'S LINEUP: Head coach Steve Desimone has selected the following six players to represent Cal at this year's Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship:
1997-98 Results Player Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown/Last School Rounds Total Avg Low Top Finish 1. Dan Arroyo 6-0 175 So Walnut Creek, CA/Northgate HS 27 1961 72.6 66 T3rd 2. Dan Coyle 5-11 158 So Dundalk, Ireland/St. Mary's HS 24 1758 73.3 69 2nd 3. Jay Berkowitz 5-8 165 Jr Weaverville, CA/Enterprise HS 23 1731 75.3 64 T3rd 4. Han Lee 6-2 180 So Cerritos, CA/Cerritos HS 24 1795 74.8 67 T7th 5. Adam Ainbinder 5-10 155 Fr Huntington Beach, CA/Servite HS 21 1569 74.7 68 T8th 6. Josh Levin 5-11 145 Jr. San Francisco, CA/USF 3 232 77.3 75 T84th
THE FIELD -- SIMPLY THE BEST: With seven Pac-10 teams ranked among the nation's top-50 and 15 individuals in the top-100, its a good bet that this year's Pac-10 field is one of the deepest and most competitive of any conference tournament being played. Last year, the Pac-10 sent nine conference members on to NCAA regional play, with five of those (Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, USC and Washington) advancing to the NCAA Championship in Lake Forest, Ill. This year's conference field is headed by fourth-ranked Arizona. The Wildcats have three players ranked among the top-100 on the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Foundation charts, including current No. 1 Rory Sabbatini, No. 19 Andy Barnes and No. 24 Derek Gillespie. Joining the Wildcats in the CGF top-50 are: No. 14 Arizona State, No. 23 UCLA, No. 24 USC, No. 35 Washington, No. 43 Stanford and No. 46 California.
CAL VERSUS THE FIELD: Here's a look at how Cal had fared against other Pac-10 teams during the 1997-98 season: Arizona (0-1), Arizona State (0-2), Oregon (2-4), Oregon State (3-2), Stanford (4-1), UCLA (1-4), USC (0-3), Washington (0-6), Washington State (3-1).
1997 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP REWIND: Last year at the Eugene Country Club, California (1484) finished tied for sixth, 39 strokes behind Arizona State, which won its third straight Pac-10 Conference Golf Championship and eighth overall title with a combined four-round score of 45-over-par 1445 (72.3 avg.). Eleven shots off the pace in second place was the host school, Oregon (1456), while USC (1464), Stanford (1473) and Arizona (1479) rounded out the top-five. Individually, two Sun Devils, Scott Johnson (10-under 278) and Chris Hanell (5-under 283), topped the leaderboard, finishing first and tied for second, respectively. Also in second place was Stanford's Joe Kribel (5-under 283), with USC's Chad Wright (4-under 284) and Oregon State's Charles Kingsbaker (2-under 286) also finishing three, four and five. Cal had two individuals finish in the top-10 as Dong Yi (71-73-72-75--291) and Jay Berkowitz (71-73-71-76--291) were part of a four-way tie for ninth place.
ASU UNBEARABLE FOR CAL: Cal's Dan Arroyo (Junior/Walnut Creek, CA) fired a three-round total of 1-under 215 and finished in a three-way tie for third place overall at the ASU Thunderbird/SAVANE Invitational last weekend. It was the fourth top-10 finish of the year for the Cal junior, who has placed no worse than 26th in eight of Cal's nine tournaments during the 1997-98 campaign. Arroyo played sub-par golf during the tournament's opening day, carding a 3-under 69 during the first round and a 1-under 71 in the second, to put himself just two shots off the pace at 4-under 140 heading into today's third and final round. But Arroyo couldn't keep up his torrid pace and finished 3-over-par 75 in today's action. The rest of the Cal squad didn't fare nearly as well. Playing without three starters -- Jay Berkowitz, Dan Coyle (injured hand) and Dong Yi (injured wrist/season) -- the Bears lacked both the fire power and experience to keep up with an 18-team field that included 12 of the nation's Top 50 squads plus the Swedish National Team. And it showed on the leaderboard as the Bears, who finished in 18th place with a combined score of 46-over 910, posted their worst finish of the year.
MR. CONSISTENCY: If there's a word to describe junior Dan Arroyo's play so far this season it would have to be consistent. Owner of the Bears lowest average (72.6 over 27 rounds of play this year), Arroyo has finished in the Top 15 in five of Cal's nine tournaments. In fact, Arroyo finished out of the Top 26 only the once this year at last weeks U.S. Intercollegiate. Although Arroyo posted his lowest round at the Pacific Invitational (6-under 66), his best tournament may have come at the International Intercollegiate, where he fired three sub-par rounds (67-70-71--208) to finish tied for fifth place overall. He also shot 69-71-75--215 (-1) to finish third overall at last week's ASU Thunderbird Invitational.
THE BEARS HOT START: Just a few months ago, Cal may have been picked as one of the favorites to win the Pac-10 Tournament or at least a heavy dark horse play, after a red-hot start that saw them bring home tournament titles from three of the first four competitions they entered. Cal kicked off the year with three-round total of one-over-par 865 to take the Falcon-Cross Creek Invitational, Sept. 12-14. Cal had four golfers finish in the Top 20 with Dan Coyle's 3-under-par 71-69-72--212 second place total leading the way. Just 10 days later the Bears won their second fall tournament at the Pacific Invitational firing a team total of 15-under 849 to take the title. Dong Yi's 8-under-par 73-67-68--208 was good enough to place him fourth overall, while Dan Arroyo (66-73-70--209) finished in fifth. Cal opened the spring with its third tournament win of the year at the 26th annual International Intercollegiate in Monterrey, Mexico. The Golden Bears, who set a school record in the tournament's opening round with a combined 22-under-par 266, finished with a three-day total of 25-under 839. Cal secured the victory by having all four if its scoring players finish in among the top 25, including three who finished in the top seven led by junior Jay Berkowitz third place three-day total of 10-under-par 206.
AINBINDER ADDING UP: With the loss of 1997 second team All-Pac-10 performer, sophomore Dong Yi, true freshman Adam Ainbinder has been force into the Cal lineup and has stepped up to the challenge. During the fall, Ainbinder's only appearance for the Bears came in the season-opener at Air Force where he carded a three round total of 13-over 219 (T77th). But this spring, the Huntington Beach product has really begun to blossom, competing in all six spring tournaments to date and posting the team's third-best spring stroke average (74.4). On March 31, Ainbinder had the best placing of his brief collegiate career when fired a 3-over 219 to finish tied for eighth place overall at the UCI Invitational. Then two weeks ago at the U.S. Intercollegiate, Ainbinder came back to post his second eighth place finish when he shot 6-over 219, Cal's best score of the tournament. Ainbinder's lowest three round total of the season came at the International Intercollegiate in Monterrey, Mexico, on Feb. 5-7 where he shot a 1-under total of 215 (T24th). He also posted his a season-low round of 68 at the International Intercollegiate.
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 to Cal also setting a school-record low round of 22-under 266 during the same round.
ON THE CHARTS: Cal slipped to the No. 46 position in the latest College Golf Association MasterCard Team Rankings on April 22. However, the Bears are still ranked high nationally on the latest Golfstat charts in a number of categories, including: Par 3 Scoring (8th) and Subpar Strokes Per Round (6th). Individually, Cal's Dan Arroyo ranks No. 62 in the CGF poll and is sixth in Par 4 scoring, while Han Lee ranks sixth in Par 5 scoring.
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 three freshmen, three sophomores and five juniors. A solid foundation for the future for sure.
YI OUT FOR SEASON: The California men's golf team suffered a huge blow in early March when its top player, sophomore Dong Yi of Alameda, suffered a season-ending injury to his right wrist. After undergoing exploratory arthroscopic surgery, doctors discovered a torn tendon sheath. It is 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 recently 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.