MARANA, Ariz. – Two-time defending conference champion Cal (368-354-382 – 1104, +24) remained in second place but has fallen 21 strokes off the pace of third-round leader Stanford through 54 holes of the 2014 Pac-12 Championship hosted by Arizona at The Gallery Golf Club.
The Golden Bears were six strokes off the Cardinal’s pace when Friday’s previously suspended second-round action wrapped up Saturday morning at the par-72, 7,349-yard course but gave 15 shots to Stanford (362-354-367 – 1083, +3) during Saturday’s regularly-scheduled third round.
“I sense that we will play better tomorrow, but we’ve dug ourselves one heck of a hole,” head coach Steve Desimone said. "We just couldn't keep the ball out of the desert today. Sometimes golf wins and it sure did today."
Brandon Hagy (73-69-74 – 216, E) is tied for fourth place and within striking distance of third-round leader Patrick Rodgers of Stanford (71-65-73 – 209, -7).
“Brandon continues to play well like he has pretty much all year,” Desimone said. “You watch him play and he plays the right way.”
Joël Stalter (74-68-76 – 218, +2) is tied for sixth two shots behind Hagy and nine shots out of the lead, while Shotaro Ban (73-69-78 – 220, +4) is tied for 11th another two strokes back of Stalter. The three players completed their second rounds Friday tied for second.
Saturday’s action was played in a variety of weather conditions that featured cool temperatures and high winds in the morning, mid-afternoon rain and sunny skies in the afternoon.
"We got everything with the weather today, so I really had to grind it out and stay focused," Hagy said. "I have been playing well and getting the ball in play. If I make a few putts tomorrow I will be right there. My recent experience in leader groups will definitely help me tomorrow."
The 2013-14 national player of the year candidate has been an individual medalist three times this season (Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, Aggie Invitational) and finished in the top 10 in nine of 11 regular-season events with eight of those finishes in the top five.
Cal came into the Pac-12 Championship ranked tied for No. 3 nationally by Golf World/Nike Golf, No. 4 according to Golfstat and No. 5 by Golfweek, while the Cardinal was Golfstat’s No. 3 team and No. 6 according to both Golfweek and Golf World/Nike Golf. The teams are in a battle to be the top-ranked team in the West heading into NCAA postseason action and likely stay close to home for the only one of six NCAA Regionals on the West Coast at the Eugene Country Club from May 15-17.
Fourth and final-round action of the Pac-12 Championship gets underway Sunday at 7:30 a.m. MDT/PST. Cal will play in six threesomes along with Stanford and Washington, with the first group starting from the first tee at 8:30 a.m. MDT/PST.
"Tomorrow's another day," Desimone said. "We'll see if we can get back on track and put together a strong round to let them know we're not going away."
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP (HOSTED BY ARIZONA)
THE GALLERY GOLF CLUB (PAR-72, 7,349 YARDS)
TEAM LEADERBOARD (after 2 of 3 days/3 of 4 rounds/54 of 72 holes)
1. Stanford (362-354-367 – 1083, +3)
2. Cal (368-354-382 – 1104, +24)
3. Washington (368-369-370 – 1107, +27)
4. USC (377-363-379 – 1119, +39)
5. Arizona State (379-360-384 – 1123, +43)
6. Colorado (379-382-364 – 1125, +45)
7. UCLA (370-371-385 – 1126, +46)
8. Arizona (366-374-389 – 1129, +49)
9. Oregon State (373-366-394 – 1133, +53)
10. Oregon (384-362-389 – 1135, +55)
11. Washington State (384-383-376 – 1143, +63)
12. Utah (392-387-398 – 1177, +97)
PLAYER LEADERBOARD – INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 2 of 3 days/3 of 4 rounds, 54 of 72 holes)
1. Patrick Rodgers (Stanford) 71-65-73 – 209 (-7)
PLAYER LEADERBOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 3 days/3 of 4 rounds, 54 of 72 holes)
T4. Brandon Hagy 73-69-74 – 216 (E)
T6. Joël Stalter 74-68-76 – 218 (+2)
T11. Shotaro Ban 73-69-78 – 220 (+4)
T26. Michael Weaver 74-74-76 – 224 (+8)
32. Keelan Kilpatrick 74-74-78 – 226 (+10)
T52. James Yoon 76-75-82 – 233 (+17)
► Cal won six of 11 events during the 2013-14 regular season and has won 24 of its last 37 stroke-play tournaments dating back to the beginning of the 2011-12 season. The Bears have also been in the top five in 36 of those events as well as another four match-play events during the period for 40 top-five showings in their last 41 tournaments overall.
► Another Cal victory this season would give the Bears seven wins in 2013-14 and the second-most in school history behind the school-record 12 stroke-play events won by the 2012-13 squad.
► Hagy’s lone birdie came on the par-four eighth but he also had 14 pars. His three bogeys were on the par-four fifth and par-three 12th and 16th holes.
► Stalter got hot to start the back nine with three birdies on his first four holes (10, 11, 12), all par-fours. But his run quickly came to an end with a double bogey on the par-four 14th and a bogey on the par-five 15th. He also had four front-nine bogeys on the par-three third and sixth holes, as well as the par-five seventh and par-four ninth without making a birdie.
► Weaver had a single birdie on eight, while he had bogeys on each of the first two holes on the par-four first and par-five second, as well as the 15th and a double bogey on nine.
► Kilpatrick played the back nine in one-under par 35 with birdies on the 10th and 15th holes, and a bogey on 16. But on the front nine, he shot a seven-over par 43 with two double bogeys (2, 6) and three bogeys (5, 7, 9).
► Yoon started his round with a double bogey on the first hole before he birdied the second. He stayed at one-over par through six holes but was nine-over par on his final 12 holes with two double bogeys (10, 16) and five bogeys (7, 13, 14, 17, 18).