ORINDA, Calif. Seniors and roommates Brandon Hagy and Joël Stalter shared Most Valuable Player honors when the Cal men’s golf program announced its 2013-14 team awards during its annual banquet Saturday evening at the Orinda Country Club. Hagy, who also shared team MVP honors in 2011-12 with Michael Kim and Max Homa, added the Ben Furth Award given for academic and athletic excellence for the third consecutive year.
“It’s an incredible way to finish our career, especially with us being roommates, working hard and sharing things together,” Hagy said about sharing team MVP honors with Stalter. “We’ve both supported each other all along the way and been each other’s No. 1 fans. It’s been really cool to see how much success we’ve had this year and have all that hard work pay off.”
“I think it’s great and Brandon deserves this as much as I do,” Stalter said. “Especially being roommates and best friends it’s just awesome that we finish our senior year this way. It’s unbelievable.”
Other 2013-14 honorees included Alex Helgans (Co-Most Improved Player), Pace Johnson (Ed Arnold Coaches Award), Keelan Kilpatrick (Co-Most Improved Player), Michael Weaver (Ed Arnold Coaches Award) and Alexander Wilson (Newcomer of the Year). The team’s Coaches Award was renamed this season in honor of Arnold, who passed away last November at the age of 95 after being a longtime friend of the program.
“This is always a special night, and it was extra special this evening,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “This is a tremendous team. There is lot to celebrate.”
“It was a great night just to remember all of the special moments that we’ve had,” Hagy added.
“It’s been amazing, it’s been more than I ever expected,” Stalter said.
One of the highlights of the evening was the breaking of tradition when all four of the team’s seniors Hagy, Johnson, Stalter and Weaver gave speeches when usually just one representative of the senior class speaks on behalf of the group.
“Each of the four seniors gave wonderful speeches,” Desimone said. “You can see why we consider this the Cal golf family. No doubt that we’re going to miss these guys tremendously but they are on to bigger and better things.”
Hagy is a 2013-14 national player of the year candidate who has already been named a national finalist for the Byron Nelson Award, a national semifinalist for The Ben Hogan Award, the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and first-team All-Pac-12. He is ranked No. 5 on the most recent watch list for the Haskins Award released Friday, while he is the No. 7 collegiate player nationally in the latest Golfweek rankings, while Golfstat has him at No. 8. Hagy has been an individual medalist three times this season (Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, Aggie Invitational) and has finished in the top 10 in nine of 12 events with eight of those in the top five. He has also been Cal’s top finisher in four events and leads the Golden Bears with a 70.83 stroke average. Hagy is the only Golden Bear to have played in each of the team’s 12 events and 36 rounds in 2013-14.
Stalter, who was the team’s Most Improved Player as a 2011-12 sophomore, is ranked No. 17 nationally in the most recent Golfweek rankings while Golfstat has him at No. 21. He is also a national finalist for the Byron Nelson Award and a first-team All-Pac-12 pick. Stalter has matched Hagy’s three victories in 2013-14 (Alister MacKenzie Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, National Invitational Tournament) while totaling six top-five finishes and seven top-10 showings among his 11 events. In addition, he has arguably been Cal’s hottest golfer since the fourth event of the year as the team’s top finisher or tied for the top in seven of the Bears’ last nine tournaments, including a tied for fourth place showing at the Pac-12 Championship that was the best finish of his career at the event. Stalter has a 71.61 season stroke average that is second on the team behind only Hagy during 11 events and 33 rounds.
Last end of the year team banquet with these guys.. Could have asked for anything better than the last four years pic.twitter.com/M2BM8yYVPJ— Joël Stalter (@JoelStalter21) May 4, 2014
Helgans spent one academic year at Cal in 2012-13 before joining the Bears’ program last fall. He redshirted the 2013-14 campaign.
Johnson is an honorable mention All-Pac-12 choice with a pair of third-place showings that have equaled the best in his career to his credit in 2013-14 at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational and Alister MacKenzie Invitational both during the fall season. He was also tied for eighth twice in a row during the first two tournaments of the spring at the Arizona Intercollegiate and John A. Burns Intercollegiate. Johnson has a 73.03 season stroke average over 10 events and 29 rounds.
Kilpatrick earned an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection after he came on strong in the spring after playing in just one of five tournaments in the fall. He has been in the lineup for each of the team’s last six events, finishing in the top 15 four times including a tied for 12th place showing at the Pac-12 Championship. He had a career-best tied for eighth-place showing in his first event of the spring at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate after having played just once in the previous season and a half. Kilpatrick has a 72.86 stroke average that is third on the team over seven events and 21 rounds in 2013-14.
Weaver began his 2013-14 season with a second-place finish at the Saint Mary’s Invitational and has been in the top 10 three times during his honorable mention All-Pac-12 campaign. He has a 73.27 season stroke average over 12 events and 36 rounds. He was named Cal’s Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 2009-10.
Wilson is in his first season with the program and redshirted in 2013-14.
Cal will return to action May 15-17 at one of the six NCAA Regionals to take place at six sites around the country. The six sites are Auburn, Ala. (Auburn University Club, Host Auburn); Columbia, Mo. (The Club at Old Hawthorne, Host Missouri); Eugene, Ore. (Eugene Country Club, Host Oregon); Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Pole Golf Course, Host North Carolina State); San Antonio, Tex. (Briggs Ranch Golf Club; Host UTSA); and Sugar Grove, Ill. (Rich Harvest Farms, Host Northern Illinois).
The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship selections and fields for each of the six regionals will be announced live during Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on May 5 (7-8 a.m. PT). The winner of the Byron Nelson Award that Hagy and Stalter are both finalists for will also be announced on the show.
The top five teams from each of the six regionals will advance to the NCAA Championship hosted by Wichita State and played May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
“It’s been a great year and we’re not done,” Desimone said.