MARANA, Ariz. – Cal (368-354-382-363 – 1467, +27) had its run for a third straight conference title end Sunday when the Golden Bears finished third at the Pac-12 Championship hosted by Arizona at The Gallery Golf Club. Joël Stalter (74-68-76-69 – 287, -1) led four Cal players in the top 16 by finishing in a three-way tie for fourth-place that was the best of his illustrious career at the event.
“I’m very happy about my top-five finish,” Stalter said. “I didn’t have my A game but still was able to come up with a great performance. It is bittersweet though as it was not the finish we wanted as a team. I’m looking forward to better days ahead for the team in the next few weeks.”
“We certainly went into this tournament making a run at the championship,” head coach Steve Desimone added about a Cal team that was ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in the Golf World/Nike Golf coaches poll heading into the event. “It wasn’t our week. We finished third in the best conference in the country. Stanford and Washington outplayed us.”
Stanford (362-354-367-355 – 1438, -2) was the only team under par for the tournament and 15 strokes better than Washington (368-369-370-346 – 1453, +13) despite the 14-under par round shot by the Huskies on Sunday that was the best of the three-day, four-round tournament on the par-72, 7,349 course. The Cardinal also had the individual medalist in Patrick Rodgers (71-65-73-72 – 281, -7).
Stalter moved up two spots with a three-under par 69 on Sunday for a finish that also marked the third time in four career Pac-12 Championship outings that he placed in the top 15.
Keelan Kilpatrick (74-74-78-67 – 293, +5) jumped up 20 spots into a four-way tie for 12th during the final round with a five-under par 67 that equaled the best 18 holes of the day and the second-best of the tournament. Kilpatrick’s round included chipping in for a birdie on the par-five second hole and making a 30-foot putt for birdie on the par-four fifth.
“It felt good to finish strong when we really needed it but unfortunately it wasn’t to be for us today,” Kilpatrick said. “Stanford and Washington played us off the course and we have a lot of work to do before NCAA Regionals.”
Brandon Hagy (73-69-74-77 – 293, +5) also tied for 12th and had been poised for his 10th top-10 finish in 12 events this season before a double bogey on the par-five 18th.
Shotaro Ban (73-69-78-74 – 294, +6) was one of six players tied for 16th, while Michael Weaver (74-74-76-78 – 302, +14) tied for 40th and James Yoon (76-75-82-76 – 309, +21) tied for 54th.
Cal will be out of action until May 15-17 when NCAA Regionals 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 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.
“If we do what think we should do at the NCAA Regional then it will be off to Prairie Dunes,” Desimone said. “But it’s one step at a time and we’re going to have to play well to make sure we get the job done at whatever NCAA Regional site we’re playing.”
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP (HOSTED BY ARIZONA) MARANA, AZ THE GALLERY GOLF CLUB (PAR-72, 7,349 YARDS)
FINAL TEAM LEADERBOARD (after 3 of 3 days/4 of 4 rounds/72 of 72 holes) 1. Stanford (362-354-367-355 – 1438, -2) 2. Washington (368-369-370-346 – 1453, +13) 3. Cal (368-354-382-363 – 1467, +27) 4. Colorado (379-382-364-354 – 1479, +39) 5. USC (377-363-379-364 – 1483, +43) 6. Arizona State (379-360-384-364 – 1487, +47) 7. UCLA (370-371-385-363 – 1489, +49) 8. Oregon (384-362-389-361 – 1496, +56) 9. Arizona (366-374-389-374 – 1503, +63) 10. Oregon State (373-366-394-371 – 1504, +64) 11. Washington State (384-383-376-367 – 1510, +70) 12. Utah (392-387-398-384 – 1561, +121)
FINAL PLAYER LEADERBOARD – INDIVIDUAL MEDALIST (after 3 of 3 days/4 of 4 rounds, 72 of 72 holes) 1. Patrick Rodgers (Stanford) 71-65-73-72 – 281 (-7)
NOTES ► Cal has won six of 12 events in 2013-14 and 24 of its last 38 stroke-play tournaments dating back to the beginning of the 2011-12 season. The Bears have also been in the top five in 37 of those events as well as all four of their match-play competitions during the period for 41 top-five showings in their last 42 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. ► After starting his final round with a bogey on the par-four first hole, Stalter would get hot with five birdies over his next 10 holes on the par-five second and seventh holes, as well as the par-three third and par-four eighth and 11th. He would give one stroke back to par over his final seven holes with bogeys on the par-four 14th and 17th holes, as well as a birdie on the par-five 15th. ► Hagy managed his lone birdie of the day on the seventh hole. He had three consecutive bogeys early in his round on the second, third and par-four fourth holes, another on the par-four ninth before his double bogey on 18. ► Kilpatrick’s bogey on the first hole was not indicative of his day to come as he ended up with seven birdies and two bogeys. He picked up his birdies on the second, fifth, ninth, par-four 10th, par-four 13th, 15th and 17th holes. His second and final bogey came on eight. ► Weaver had three birdies on the eighth, 11th and par-three 12th holes and was even-par for the day through 15 before playing his final three holes in six-over par. Weaver had back-to-back bogeys on the par-three 16th and par-four 17th holes before a quadruple bogey on 18. His earlier bogeys came on the fifth, seventh and 10th holes. ► Yoon had two birdies (7, 10), four bogeys (9, 11, 15, 17) and one double bogey (8) during his round.