By Jonathan Okanes
Cal Bear Blog
HAYWARD – There are plenty of chances for “Go Bears” exchanges this weekend at the Stonebrae Classic.
Five former Cal golfers are participating in the Web.com Tour event, including 2013 NCAA Player of the Year Michael Kim, 2013 NCAA individual champion Max Homa and former All-Americans Peter Tomasulo and Brandon Hagy.
The tournament has a distinct Cal flavor, mostly because of the program’s success in turning out elite golfers in recent years.
“A lot of people have a lot of team camaraderie out there on the road, and we haven’t had that many Cal guys,” said Tomasulo, who helped lead the Bears to the NCAA championship in 2004. “So it’s really exciting to have some of the Cal guys come through and get to know them a little better, because they’re all real cool.”
Tomasulo didn’t have that much company coming from Berkeley on the tour when he entered the world of professional golf. But that’s changing now. Cal’s program has been at or near the top of college golf the past few years and has been regularly feeding players into the professional ranks.
“I’ve been following the program ever since I left,” Tomasulo said. “The last couple years, it’s been so exciting to follow these guys. I have a real sense of pride watching that and seeing how successful they’re going to be out here.”
Kim has been right in the middle of the surge of Cal golf. He won just about every individual honor imaginable in 2013 before turning professional. Teaming up with Homa, Hagy and Michael Weaver, he led the Bears to arguably the best season in the history of collegiate golf in 2012-13 when Cal won 12 of 14 stroke-play events, dominating the competition in the process.
“When I first went to Cal, there were only a couple Cal guys on tour,” Kim said. “Now, it’s great to see more Cal guys on tour, especially playing against them. It’s a pretty cool feeling. It’s a lot of fun.”
Before Thursday’s first round, Kim warmed up with Homa and Tomasulo. Earlier, Kim played a practice round with Homa.
“We were just talking while we were warming up,” Kim said. “It’s nice to see familiar faces, especially when you’re trying to adjust to pro golf. I’m playing practice rounds with my teammates. It’s fun to see them out here.”
Kim, Tomasulo, Homa and fellow former Bear Michael Jensen all made the cut after Friday’s play. Kim is in a tie for ninth place at 9-under par, five strokes off the pace. Tomasulo is at 7-under while Homa is eight shots back at at 6-under. Jensen is 10 strokes back at 4-under.