Need a little something to get over that final hump and take home the national title? How about adding in someone who came four feet away from being declared the top amateur in the nation?
The Bears return their entire NCAA lineup from last season in 2012-13 and welcome back junior Michael Weaver, who was a redshirt last season. Weaver had a potential tournament-winning four-foot putt horseshoe out on the final hole of the championship match of this year's U.S. Amateur, where he ended up losing on the first playoff hole.
Teammate Brandon Hagy advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur and the Bears had five players in the tournament overall. All five of those players are on this year's team.
Not surprisingly, Cal is the No. 1 team in the country early this season, winning all three tournaments it has entered. The Bears host their only event of the season Monday and Tuesday at the Meadow Club in Fairfax.
"We knew we were going to be at full strength coming into this year," said Cal coach Steve Desimone, now in his 34th season at Cal. "It's not a surprise. The developmental progression these guys have been on has continued in a positive way. These guys have been high-achievers all of their lives. They are used to success."
The Bears have four of Golfweek's top 31 players - No. 3 Max Homa, No. 5 Michael Kim, No. 20 Michael Weaver and No. 31 Brandon Hagy. Homa advanced to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur.
Desimone thought his program might be able to take the next step to this level when Hagy, Homa and Weaver arrived on campus as part of a blue-chip recruiting class in 2009. The grand plan hasn't disappointed.
"We knew that was a special group when they came in," Desimone said. "There's been no plateau, no regression. That's really unusual. In college golf, there's usually some variability, even with the best teams. We have guys who want to work hard and learn and compete. When you have that, you have a chance to do great things, and that's what's happening with this program."
The Bears haven't just been good the last couple of years, they've been consistently good. Cal has won nine of the last 17 tournaments it has entered, and it has finished in the top-five of every single one of them.
"Just practicing with each other, we push each other a lot," Hagy said. "Through the years, we've gotten better together. We've all improved a lot since my freshman year, and some of that has to do with competing against each other and practicing together."
Weaver redshirted last season to prepare for entering the prestigious Haas School of Business. He was able to still enter amateur tournaments from time to time, which clearly helped him get ready for the U.S. Amateur in August. It was a big year for Weaver, and next year will be big, too. In addition to helping the Bears try to take home a national championship, Weaver gained automatic entry into The Masters and U.S. Open with his runner-up finish at the U.S. Amateur.
"It was a great week. The finish was obviously not what I had hoped," Weaver said of the U.S. Amateur. "It was a lot of fun, but the disappointing part is I didn't win. All in all, it was a great week. It kind of validated in my own mind that I could play with all the good players. I always thought I could, but thinking it and doing it are a lot different."
The Bears lost to Alabama on the final hole of its NCAA semifinal last season. With the firepower remaining on this year's team, there is only one goal talked about among Cal's players.
"Last year provides motivation and it was a good experience, too," Hagy said. "We have to continue to make our statement, and we do that by winning tournaments. This is the fall season. These three wins are a good step for us, but we want to win the last three tournaments."