INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Cal was selected Monday to play in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship as one of 81 teams continuing their seasons at six 54-hole NCAA Regionals across the nation May 15-17. Cal will be the top seed in a 14-team field playing at the NCAA Sugar Grove Regional hosted by Northern Illinois at the par-72, 7151-yard Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
“This will be a great NCAA Regional,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “I like our chances, but we’re going to have to take care of business. We’re going to have to play.”
Cal is ranked No. 4 nationally in the most recent national polls by Golf World/Nike Golf and Golfstat, while the Bears are No. 6 according to Golfstat. Cal has won six of its first 12 events (Saint Mary’s Invitational, Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Alister MacKenzie Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, John A. Burns Intercollegiate, National Invitational Tournament) in 2013-14 to tie for the second-most single-season victories in school history. The Bears also had three third-places showings, while finishing fourth, tied for fourth and eighth once each.
“It’s been a great year and we’re not done,” Desimone said.
Seniors Brandon Hagy and Joël Stalter have led the way with three victories each. Hagy is ranked as high as No. 7 nationally by Golfweek while Stalter is No. 17.
“We’re just trying to enjoy the experience of our last run,” Hagy said. “We’ve done a lot of great things in college and qualifying for this tournament is a reward for what we’ve done this year. I think we’ll play our best golf.”
The remainder of the field in order of seeding includes Illinois, USC, UAB, UNLV, Clemson, Kent State, Purdue, Mississippi State, Cal State Fullerton, New Mexico State, Jacksonville State, Cleveland State and Saint Peter’s. Cal (No. 4 Golfstat/No. 6 Golfweek), Illinois (No. 8 Golfstat/No. 9 Golfweek), USC (No. 16 Golfstat/No. 25 Golfweek), UAB (No. 16 Golfweek/No. 21 Golfstat) and UNLV (No. 28 Golfstat/No. 28 Golfweek) are all top-30 teams nationally according to both Golfstat and Golfweek, while Clemson (No. 29 Golfweek) is a top-30 Golfweek squad.
The additional five individuals at the NCAA Sugar Grove Regional in order of seeding are Niall Platt (Notre Dame), Chris O’Neill (Michigan), Danny Pizetoski (Richmond), Juan Veloza (Towson) and Rob van de Vin (IUPI).
Cal is in an NCAA Regional for school-record-tying eighth straight season (2007-14), matching the eight straight appearances the Golden Bears made from 1997-2004 which culminated in Cal’s lone national title. The Bears have also been NCAA semifinalists each of the last two seasons, breaking an NCAA record with 12 victories in 14 stroke-play victories in 2012-13. Cal ended the season ranked No. 1 despite a loss to Illinois in the NCAA Championship semifinals.
The NCAA Sugar Grove Regional is one of six to take place with the other five sites 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); and San Antonio, Tex. (Briggs Ranch Golf Club; Host – UTSA).
The Auburn and Columbia regionals will also have fields featuring 14 teams and five individuals not on those teams. The Eugene, Raleigh and San Antonio regionals will consist of 13 teams and 10 individuals not on those teams.
The low five teams and the low individual not from any of those five teams from each of the six NCAA Regionals will advance to the finals of the NCAA Championship hosted by Wichita State and played May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. The top eight teams from three days of stroke play at the event will move on to match play to determine a national champion beginning with quarterfinal and semifinal action May 27 before a 36-hole final the following day. The top 40 individuals from the first three days of stroke play will determine individual medalist honors on May 26. Golf Channel will provide live television coverage from each of the event’s final three days May 26-28.
Cal is looking to extend its school record of reaching the final 30-team field for the NCAA Championship to a fifth consecutive season and reach the event for the tenth time in school history. Cal has played previously in 18 NCAA Regionals (1990, '93, '95, '97, '98, '99, 2000, '01, '02, '03, '04, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, ’12, ‘13) and reached the final field for the NCAA Championship on nine occasions (1995, '98, '99, 2000, '04, '10, '11, ’12, ‘13).
Since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign, Cal has won 24 of its last 38 stroke-play events and been in the top five in 37 of those tournaments as well as four match-play events during the period to make it 41 of 42 top-five finishes overall.