Hutchinson, Kan. – When Brandon Hagy’s par put dropped into the bottom of the cup on the ninth hole the sound pierced through near darkness to mark the end of 11 hours of continuous golf for a Cal team that is one of only six to have completed the scheduled 36 holes through the end of Saturday’s action. Cal (279-289 – 568, +8), who was officially tied for ninth after the first round, is currently tied for 21st on the leaderboard but 24 of the 30 teams have yet to complete their second round at the par-70, 6,941-yard Prairie Dunes Country Club, including 15 that have played only 18 holes.
The backup was caused by a near washout of Friday’s scheduled first-round action that postponed all of Cal's opening round. Despite no weather issues Saturday until a lightning and thunder storm rolled through moments after Hagy’s final putt, the 15 teams in the day’s second wave never even started. The first six teams in the first wave of the second round were the only ones to complete 36 holes before darkness hit.
“We had a solid morning round, but we just didn’t play very well this afternoon,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “But there’s still a lot of golf left with many teams ahead of us that have not played 36 holes. If we have a great round in us we can play ourselves back into it. We’ve put ourselves in a tough spot, but I wouldn’t count us out right now. These guys have heart. They want to make that final eight and I think we have a shot at it yet.”
Hagy (68-72 – 140, E) is tied for 39th on the leaderboard at the end of Saturday’s action but where he will end up after the field completes 36 holes could be drastically different. He started his second round tied for 14th and only seven players are in the clubhouse with scores better than his.
Despite his final even-par 36-hole score, Hagy had an up-and-down that included nine birdies, five bogeys and two double bogeys.
“It was tough to stay focused,” said Hagy about his battle with impending darkness that included a double bogey on his second to last hole on the par-four eighth. “It was tough to finish 36 holes today, especially when you tee off for your second round at 4 p.m.”
Joël Stalter (69-73 – 142, +2) is currently tied for 69th after quite the opposite type of day, making par on 28 of his 36 holes included a stretch of 20 in a row at one point. He ended up with three birdies and five bogeys.
Michael Weaver (72-71 – 143, +3) is tied for 86th after a huge finish in which he made birdie on each of his final three holes, matching his total of three over his first 33 holes of the day. Two of his other three birdies came on the first two holes of the day.
“I was kind of struggling so to get one-over [in the second round] out of how I played was kind of nice,” Weaver said when asked about finishing with three birdies that included a 70-foot putt on the 17th hole. “Those are the kinds of things you need to do to do well as a team.”
Shotaro Ban (70-74 – 144, +4) closed his opening round in fantastic fashion with three birdies over his final five holes but had the opposite scenario in his second round when he played his closing nine holes in four-over after he was even on his first nine.
Pace Johnson (81-73 – 154, +14) registered a solid stretch of golf with a three-under par 32 over his final nine holes after a difficult first 27 that had him 17-over par at one point. Johnson’s final stretch run made his second round a counter for the team score.
Stanford (281-267 – 548, -12) was one of the other six teams to finish and is currently in the lead. Cameron Wilson of Stanford (71-63 – 134, -6) has the best 36-hole score in the clubhouse and is tied at the top of the leaderboard at six-under with Will Starke of South Carolina, who shot a 64 on Friday but did not get on the course Saturday.
When Cal will play its third and final round of the 54-hole team stroke play portion of the event is yet to be determined with each of the 30 teams in the field needing to finish two rounds before the third can be seeded. The top 15 teams at end of two rounds will play in one wave with the bottom 15 in the other, both at yet to be scheduled times.
“We have a lot of work to do but stranger things have happened,” Desimone said.