TUCSON, Ariz. – No. 3/4/4 Cal (281-285-287 – 853, +1) won for the fourth time in six events this season by opening its spring slate with a 15-stroke victory at the Arizona Intercollegiate that ended Tuesday with the third and final round at the par-71, 7,262-yard Sewailo Golf Club. Roommates Brandon Hagy (69-68-74 – 211, -2) and Joël Stalter (71-73-67 – 211, -2) shared individual medalist honors to both win for the third time in their collegiate careers and second time this season.
“It’s always great to win, especially coming from behind the way we did,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “It certainly sets the stage for the spring.”
Cal started Tuesday’s action two strokes behind second-round leader USC (281-283-308 – 872, +20) but ended up 19 strokes better than the eventual fourth-place Trojans after the Golden Bears’ equaled the best round of the day with a three-over par 287, while the Trojans ballooned to a 24-over par third round of 308 that was the second worst. Host Arizona (290-291-287 – 868, +16) equaled Cal’s team score Tuesday and finished second, while New Mexico (287-293-290 – 870, +18) was third.
Pace Johnson (70-73-73 – 216, +3) tied for eighth to give Cal a third top-10 finisher, while James Yoon (73-71-75 – 219, +6) tied for 17th and Michael Weaver (71-80-73 – 224, +11) tied for 35th.
Stalter tied for the best round of the day and second-best of the tournament to earn a share of the title after starting Tuesday’s action nine strokes behind second-round leader Anthony Paolucci of USC (65-70-79 – 214, +1), who finished tied for fifth after his eight-over par round Tuesday.
Hagy began the final 18 holes in sole possession of second place two strokes behind Paolucci but was six-under through nine holes before Paolucci played the back nine in nine-over par 45 on Tuesday.
Cal returns to action at the February 19-21 at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate hosted by Hawaii at the Wailua Golf Course in Lihue on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i.
Notes ► Cal won for the fourth time in six events in 2013-14 and has won 22 of its last 34 stroke-play events overall while finishing in the top five in each. ► Cal won the Arizona Intercollegiate for the second time in school history and first time since January of 2010 when fifth-year seniors Hagy and Weaver were true freshmen. ► Hagy extended his string of top-10 finishes to eight in a row including all six of his 2013-14 tournaments and his final two 2012-13 events at the NCAA Championship and NCAA Pullman Regional with his third career victory and second of the season. Hagy countered an up-and-down first eight holes Tuesday that included two birdies (4, 8), three bogeys (2, 6, 7) and a double bogey (5) by making pars on his final 10 holes. ► Stalter also won for the third time in his career and second occasion this season. He had five birdies Tuesday (8, 10, 12, 16, 18), including four during his back nine four-under par 32. ► Johnson had back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth holes Tuesday for the second time in three rounds and played those two holes five-under par over three rounds with birdies during each of his three rounds on the par-five eighth. ► Yoon, who started his round on the third hole, had birdies on each of his final two holes (No. 1, No. 2) and three in his final five, adding another on No. 16 after he had been six-over par through 13 holes. ► Weaver, who started on the fourth hole, had five birdies during a nine-hole stretch from No. 8-16 (8, 10, 11, 14, 16) of his two-over par 73 from No. 8-16 (8, 10, 11, 14, 16) after playing his first four holes in six-over par. ► Cameron Shaw was playing in the event as an individual but forced to withdraw Monday after injuring his left forearm on the ninth hole.
Quotes ► Head Coach Steve Desimone “We got off to a pretty quick start but then stumbled and were down five or six shots somewhere in the latter part of the front nine. It was really hard to see that there was a comeback going on but these guys kind of just settled in and next thing you know a few putts dropped, we made a couple of birdies and before you knew it we were up two, then four, then six, then eight.”
“Joël Stalter played great. Once he got going he was going to birdie every hole coming in. He didn’t quite do that but he made a lot of birdies and gave us some breathing space as we were pulling ahead.”
“It was no surprise the way Brandon Hagy played at this tournament. He has been on the best players in the country for quite a while. As his game has improved and become more consistent, you would expect that he would be in position consistently to win or finish in the top five or top 10 and that’s just exactly what he’s done.”
“This was a real team win. Teammates pick each other up and we certainly saw that over this tournament.”
► Brandon Hagy “One thing to show myself that I’ve been improving is just the consistent play I’ve been able to have this year. My first few years in college I had big fluctuations. Being consistent is one of the important things in golf, so it’s pretty cool to see so far this year I’ve really been staying consistent with my scores.”
“It was a rough start today but I just kept telling myself that it was early in the round and to hang in there. I knew there were some tricky holes on the back nine so I just wanted to put myself in position.”
► Joël Stalter “I was just trying to help out the team and keep us close to USC. Never once was I thinking about winning. When I looked at the leaderboard and I was tied for the lead I was really surprised. It was a great surprise especially with the team winning by 15 strokes. Everything turned out really good.”
ARIZONA INTERCOLLEGIATE (HOSTED BY ARIZONA) TUCSON, ARIZ. SEWAILO GOLF CLUB (PAR-71, 7,262 YARDS)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) 1. Cal (281-285-287 – 853, +1) 2. Arizona (290-291-287 – 868, +16) 3. New Mexico (287-293-290 – 870, +18) 4. USC (281-283-308 – 872, +20) T5. New Mexico State (291-295-287 – 873, +21) T5. BYU (291-290-292 – 873, +21) 7. Cal State Fullerton (294-300-299 – 893, +41) T8. James Madison (298-298-299 – 895, +43) T8. UTEP (296-302-297 – 895, +43) T8. Pacific (303-296-296 – 895, +43) 11. Oregon State (303-299-298 – 900, +48) 12. Loyola Marymount (302-310-298 – 910, +58) 13. UC Riverside (303-312-302 – 917, +65) 14. George Washington (318-306-315 – 939, +87)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CO-INDIVIDUAL MEDALISTS (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) T1. Brandon Hagy (Cal) 69-68-74 – 211 (-2) T1. Joël Stalter (Cal) 71-73-67 – 211 (-2)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) T1. Brandon Hagy 69-68-74 – 211 (-2) T1. Joël Stalter 71-73-67 – 211 (-2) T8. Pace Johnson 70-73-73 – 216 (+3) T17. James Yoon 73-71-75 – 219 (+6) T35. Michael Weaver 71-80-73 –224 (+11) *WD. Cameron Shaw *Playing as individual