Indepdence, Minn. – Top-ranked Cal (291-281-287 – 859, +7) opened its 2013-14 season by finishing fourth at the Gopher Invitational hosted by Minnesota at the par-71, 7,152-yard Windsong Farm Golf Club. The Golden Bears played without two returning first-team All-Americans in Michael Kim and Michael Weaver, who missed the event due to a scheduling conflict with the Walker Cup while helping the United States to a victory Great Britain and Ireland at the prestigious amateur event.
Returning second-team All-American Brandon Hagy (70-69-68 – 207, -6) led the way for the Bears with his second-place showing. Hagy had trailed individual medalist Corey Connors of Kent State (71-66-69 – 206, -7) by three shots with three holes to play but caught him heading into the final hole after a birdie on the par-three 16th and back-to-back bogeys by Connors on 16 and the par-four 17th. But Connors was able to birdie the par-five 18th while Hagy made par as he won the event for the second consecutive season.
Hagy, who started Monday’s final round in fourth place, had three birdies Monday on the par-five ninth, par-four 13th and par-three 16th when he hit his tee shot to within three feet of the pin. He also made 15 pars during a round with no bogeys.
“It was a good start for me personally,” said Hagy, an alternate for the USA Walker Cup team who did not participate in the event. “I’ve been working hard and felt like I was playing pretty well at the end of the summer. I just wanted to start off on the right foot and get a good tournament under my belt. I definitely would have liked to have finished it off but on the same token I played really well. If you had told me I was going to shoot a 68 in the final round with no bogeys I probably would have thought I would win. Corey played really well. He deserved it.”
Joël Stalter (T13th, 71-71-73 – 215, +2), Pace Johnson (T21st, 75-71-71 – 217, +4), Shotaro Ban (T27th, 75-70-75 – 220, +7) and Cameron Shaw (T46th, 77-74-77 – 228, +15) also participated for the Bears.
Stalter matched Hagy’s three birdies on the day and 12 over the two-day, 54-hole tournament that started Sunday but also had five bogeys in his final round. Stalter’s three birdies came on the par-four fifth and a pair of par-fives on the 12th and 18th. His bogeys were on four par-fours (2, 6, 8, 13) and the same par-three 16th that Hagy birdied.
Johnson played the back nine in two-under par, making all four of his team-high-tying four birdies on four of his first seven holes following the turn on the par-three 10th, 12th, par-four 14th and 16th. He spread out his four bogeys throughout the round on the second, par-three seventh, par-four 15th and 18th holes.
Ban matched Johnson’s team-high four birdies on the day on the par-four first, 13th, 14th and 18th holes but also had a triple bogey on the 16th and a double on the sixth, in addition to three bogeys on the par-four fourth, the 12th and the 15th holes.
Shaw had four bogeys on the sixth, ninth, 16th and par-four 17th holes, as well as a double bogey on the 15th.
New Mexico (280-285-283 – 848, -4) won the team title and was the only club to shoot under par.
“We’re pretty disappointed,” said head coach Steve Desimone, who joined the Bears on Monday after missing Sunday’s opening 36 holes while attending the Walker Cup in support of Kim and Weaver. “We put ourselves in pretty good position by playing well on our final nine holes yesterday but had a slow start today. We did make some birdies on the back nine today but we also uncharacteristically of this team over at least the last few years made way too many big numbers.”
Cal returns to action Sept. 23-24 at the St. Mary’s Invitational hosted by St. Mary’s at the Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Club in Seaside, Calif.
GOPHER INVITATIONAL (HOSTED BY MINNESOTA)
INDEPENDENCE, MN– WINDSONG FARM GOLF CLUB (PAR-71, 7,512 YARDS)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 stroke-play holes)
1. New Mexico (280-285-283 – 848, -4)
2. Baylor (278-295-281 – 854, +2)
3. Kent State (289-279-289 – 857, +5)
4. Cal (291-281-287 – 859, +7)
T5. Minnesota (291-287-287 – 865, +13)
T5. Iowa State (295-281-289 – 865, +13)
7. Notre Dame (289-292-289 – 870, +18)
8. Penn State (292-289-294 – 875, +23)
9. Central Arkansas (306-296-287 – 889, +37)
10. Michigan State (305-294-295 – 894, +42)
11. Toledo (301-300-303 – 904, +52)
12. St. John’s, MN (298-314-297 – 909, +57)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 stroke-play holes)
1. Corey Connors (Kent State) 71-66-69 – 206 (-7)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 stroke-play holes)
2. Brandon Hagy 70-69-68 – 207 (-6)
T13. Joël Stalter 71-71-73 – 215 (+2)
T21. Pace Johnson 75-71-71 – 217 (+4)
T27. Shotaro Ban 75-70-75 – 220 (+7)
T46. Cameron Shaw 77-74-77 – 228 (+15)