April 5, 2006
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Sat.-Sun. Apr. 8-9 at ASU Thunderbird Invitational Karsten Golf Course, Tempe, Ariz. All Day
CAL TEES OFF AT ASU THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL: California, the 2004 NCAA champion, travels to the ASU Thunderbird Invitational Saturday-Sunday, April 8-9 at the par 72, 7,037-yard Karsten Golf Course on the campus of Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. Thirty six holes will be played Saturday, followed by a final round on Sunday. The Golden Bears have been paced by junior Michael Wilson, who has been Cal's top finisher in the last two tournaments, placing sixth at the Callaway Golf Invitational Mar. 14, and tying for eighth at The Western Intercollegiate (played at the Pasatiempo Golf Course) with a two-round score of 143, Mar. 28. Wilson is the lone returner from the Bears' 2004 NCAA championship squad.
WILSON LEADS BEARS: Michael Wilson has had Cal's top finish in the last two tournaments this season, and has the distinction of competing in all 26 rounds for the Bears this season. Wilson was the individual champion of the inagural CordeValle Collegiate on Nov. 1, shooting a 10-under 206 (69-70-67) and helping Cal to a third-place finish. He was named the October, 2005 Pac-10 Golfer of the Month. In 2003, Wilson was the Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year and second-team All-Pac-10, and in 2004, a key member of the Bears' NCAA championship squad. Another player to compete in all 26 rounds this season is freshman George Grandranata, who has the second-best stroke average (73.7) to Wilson (73.5), and helped Cal to the 2005 Alister MacKenzie title, tying for 10th with a two-under 211. Besides winning the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, other team highlights for the Bears is a fifth place finish at The Falcon Invitational, Sept. 11; a third place finish at the CordeValle Collegiate, Nov. 1; and fifth place tie at the Callaway Golf Invitational Mar. 14.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The ASU Thunderbird Invitational has been won by Arizona State five of the past seven years and the Sun Devils have won the tournament 12 of the past 17 years. Last season, UNLV captured the tournament with a seven-under 859, while Arizona's Kipp Riehle won medalist honors with a seven-under 206. Last year, Cal placed 15th out of 16 teams at the ASU Invitational with a plus-50 902. As a freshman, Michael Jensen was the Bears' top finisher, tying for 47th with a nine-over 225.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: This year's 15-team field features three schools ranked in the GCAA/Bridgestone Division I Coaches Poll Top 25. The complete field includes: No. 6 UNLV, No. 8 Arizona State (two teams), No. 19 Texas Tech, Arizona, California, Central Florida, Colorado State, Illinois, Kansas State, Oregon, Penn State, San Diego State, Stanford and South Carolina.
THE WESTERN INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: Led by Wilson's eighth place finish, the Cal men's golf team tied for 10th at the 60th annual Western Intercollegiate, played at the Pasatiempo Golf Course (par 70, 6,432 yards) Mar. 27-28 in Santa Cruz. The Bears shot a 37-over 597 (296, 301), tying UC Irvine (295, 302) for the 10th spot. Duke captured the tournament with a 17-over 577 (284, 293). The individual champion was Stanford's Rob Grube with a two-under 138 (68, 70). Wilson paced Cal, tying for eighth with a three-over 143 (73, 70). Sophomore Freddy Wolfe tied for 29th with a nine-over 149 (71, 78), freshman Romain Payet tied for 48th with a 12-over 152 (76, 76), freshman George Gandranata tied for 58th with a 13-over 153 (76, 77) and freshman Larry Wong tied for 75th with a 17-over 157 (77, 80).
Steve Desimone: The Cal men's golf program has made amazing strides since the spring of 1980. It went from a club sport in the early '80s, to one of the elite golf programs in the country in the 1990s, to national champions in 2004. Head coach Steve Desimone, now in his 27th year at the helm of Cal men's golf, is the man largely responsible for the level of success enjoyed by the program. Desimone was named Golfweek's 2003-04 College Coach of the Year and was presented with the 2004 Grand Master of the Year award by the Northern California Golf Association after leading the Golden Bears to the 2004 NCAA golf title. Over the years, Desimone has directed the Bears to 11 NCAA West Regional berths and five NCAA championship events ('95, '98, '99, '00, `04). He was voted Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year in 1987. A member of the Golden Bears' basketball team as an undergraduate, Desimone graduated from Cal in 1970. He took golf at Cal from a club sport in the early 80's to one of the preeminent programs in the country. Desimone is joined by assistant coach Walter Chun (second year, Cal '01) and administrative assistant Curt David (second year, Pacific, '89).
BEARS' ASU LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order) for the ASU Thunderbird is listed below. Player YR 05-06 RNDS STROKES AVG LOW TOP FINISH Michael Wilson Jr. 26 1911 73.5 67 1 Freddy Wolfe So. 8 601 75.1 71 T29 Romain Payet Fr. 11 818 74.4 70 T19 G. Grandranata Fr. 26 1917 73.7 68 T10 Michael Jensen So. 17 1294 76.1 66 T14