SEASIDE, Calif. – Cal (288-282-284 – 854, -10) wrapped up a 30-stroke victory Tuesday at the Saint Mary’s Invitational as 54 holes of action over two days came to a close at the 7,104-yard, par-72 Bayonet Golf Course. Cal had the lowest team score in each of the three rounds. Michael Weaver (70-70-70 – 210, -6) and Brandon Hagy (71-71-69 – 211, -5) finished second and third, while Michael Kim (78-68-72 – 218, +2) tied for eighth in the Golden Bears’ first victory of the year.
“We did what we expected to do and came away with a win,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “Today we just never really let up. The guys played well all the way through. It was a strong performance.”
Shotaro Ban (69-73-78 – 220, +4) and Joël Stalter (78-73-73 – 224, +8) also competed for Cal, finishing tied for 12th and 34th. Pace Johnson (71-76-73 – 220, +4) tied for 12th playing the event as an individual.
“All in all it was a great team effort,” said associate head coach Walter Chu, who coached the team on site while Desimone was home nursing a cold. “I was pleased with their hard work and effort. They played well and they played smart.”
“We feel like we have at least six players who can really compete at a high level,” Desimone added.
Weaver started his two-under par round Tuesday tied for the lead with winner Grant Forrest of San Diego (71-69-69 – 209, -7) and took a three-stroke lead over Forrest after back-to-back birdies on the par-five 10th and par-four 11th holes and a bogey by Forrest on the par-four 15th. But Forrest, who started on the fourth hole, would play his final six holes in three-under with birdies on the par-three 17th as well as the par-five 18th and first holes. Weaver was one-over after his back-to-back birdies the remainder of the way with a bogey on the 15th and six pars.
“Of course there’s disappointment not winning because Michael had a three-shot lead,” Desimone said. “The good news for Michael and the rest of the team is that we are going right back into competition and he’ll have a chance to get back on that horse and see if he can pull out a win next time.”
Weaver totaled four birdies in his round, adding others on the par-five first and par-three fourth holes. His other bogey came on the par-five eighth.
“It was a great showing for us,” Weaver said. “Our large margin of victory should give us confidence through the rest of the fall. I hit the ball well all tournament and made lots of birdies.”
Hagy had Cal’s lowest round of the day with a three-under par 69 that included pars on the first, eighth and par-four 16th holes as well as 15 pars. Hagy hit all 18 greens in regulation but needed 35 putts.
“I played very solid but never got the putter going today,” Hagy said. “It definitely felt like I could have won.”
“It was great to get that first team win of the season, especially with how we played in the final round,” Hagy added. “Great teams increase their leads in final rounds.”
Kim, who started on the third hole, finished strong with birdies on two of his final three holes on the 18th and first. He also matched Weaver’s back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 but had four bogeys on the fourth and par-four seventh, 13th and 15th holes.
Ban started his third and final round on the second hole tied for third place but quickly fell out of contention with bogeys on the fourth, par-three sixth and eighth holes before a double bogey on the par-four ninth. He managed his lone birdie of the day on the 10th but added two more bogeys on the par-three 14th and 17th.
Stalter started on the third hole and also had trouble early with bogeys on the fourth, sixth and eighth holes. He rallied to get back to even par with three consecutive birdies on nine, 10 and 11. Stalter stayed at even-par until back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16 before getting one shot back with a birdie on one.
Johnson started on the 14th hole and had an up-and-down round that included five birdies (18, 1, 3, 5, 11), four bogeys (16, 6, 9, 13) and one double bogey (7).
The victory came in Cal’s second tournament of the 2013-14 season after the club finished fourth at the season-opening Gopher Invitational earlier in the month playing without first-team All-Americans Kim and Weaver, who were members of a victorious Team USA at the prestigious Walker Cup.
Cal is coming off a historic 2012-13 season that is considered by many as the finest in the history of college golf when the Bears won 12 of 14 stroke-play events to set a modern-era NCAA single-season record previously established with the 10 victories recorded by the 1985-86 Oklahoma State team. Cal was ranked No. 1 in the final 2012-13 team rankings by both GolfWeek and Golfstat despite losing to Illinois in the match-play semifinals of the NCAA Championship. Among Cal’s victories during the season were second consecutive NCAA Regional (Pullman) and Pac-12 titles.
Cal next returns to action September 29-30 at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational hosted by Ohio State, a 54-hole stroke play event at the Scarlet Golf Course in Dublin, Ohio.
“It feels good to win and certainly gives us some momentum going into Ohio State,” Desimone said.
SAINT MARY’S INVITATIONAL (HOSTED BY SAINT MARY’S) SEASIDE, CALIF. ROUNDS 1 AND 3 – BAYONET GOLF COURSE (PAR-72, 7,104 YARDS) ROUND 2 – BLACKHORSE GOLF COURSE (PAR-72, 7,024 YARDS)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) 1. Cal (288-282-284 – 854, -10) 2. Oregon (297-293-294 – 884, +20) 3. San Diego (304-287-295 – 886, +22) 4. St. John’s (298-291-298 – 887, +23) 5. Saint Mary’s (294-294-301 – 889, +25) T6. San Francisco (301-288-301 – 890, +26) T6. Fresno State (300-294-296 – 890, +26) T8. Santa Clara (300-294-299 – 893, +29) T8. Florida Gulf Coast (297-295-301 – 893, +29) 10. Loyola Marymount (296-304-297 – 897, +33) 11. UC Irvine (302-298-300 – 900, +36) 12. Long Beach State (305-288-308 – 901, +37) 13. Kansas State (316-298-290 – 904, +40) 14. North Carolina State (302-301-303 – 906, +42) 15. Ball State (309-300-298 – 907, +43) 16. UC Riverside (317-297-299 – 913, +49) 17. Cal State Northridge (307-304-303 – 914, +50) 18. Hawai’i (306-304-307 – 917, +53) 19. Akron (312-307-307 – 926, +62)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD – INDIVIDUAL MEDALIST (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) 1. Grant Forrest (San Diego) 71-69-69 – 209 (-7)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes) 2. Michael Weaver 70-70-70 – 210 (-6) 3. Brandon Hagy 71-71-69 – 211 (-5) T8. Michael Kim 78-68-72 – 218 (+2) *T12. Pace Johnson 71-76-73 – 220 (+4) T12. Shotaro Ban 69-73-78 – 220 (+4) T34. Joël Stalter 78-73-73 – 224 (+8) *Playing as an individual