Jan. 31, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. - Cal (272-284-280 - 836, -16) battled host and eventual team champion Arizona (277-277-281 - 835, -17) throughout Tuesday's third and final round of the Arizona Intercollegiate before eventually settling for second place one stroke behind the winners in a two-day, 54-hole event played at the par-71, 6,793-yard Arizona National Golf Club. Two seasons ago, Cal beat the Wildcats by a single stroke in the same event.
"This thing was close all the way, and I was really proud of how our guys were grinding," head coach Steve Desimone said.
After leading for much of the event's first 36 holes on Monday, Cal fell behind Arizona late in the second round and began Tuesday's action two shots behind the Wildcats. The four-under par 280 the Golden Bears fired on Tuesday was a shot better than the 281 Arizona posted and the second-best round of the day but fell just short.
"I don't know if anyone had more than a two or three shot lead at any time on the back nine," Desimone said. "I believe we were pretty much chasing them all day. We didn't make many putts and gave away too many shots. Eventually that catches up to you. We just didn't get it done, simple as that."
Three Cal golfers - Joël Stalter (67-71-71 - 209, -4), Brandon Hagy (70-72-67 - 209, -4) and Michael Kim (69-68-72 - 209, -4) - tied for fifth on the final leader board, six strokes behind individual medalist John Caitlin of New Mexico (66-70-67 - 203, -10).
Arizona had two of the top four golfers, with Juan Pablo Hernandez (69-66-71 - 206, -7) taking second and Tucker Wadkins (70-69-69 - 208, -5) tying for third along with second-round leader John MacArthur of Pepperdine (68-66-74 - 208, -5).
Hagy had Cal's best round of the day and tied for the best round of any golfer in the event Tuesday with his four-under par 67 to move up nine spots from where he started Tuesday's action. Hagy got off to a great start with a birdie on his second hole of the round, the par-five fifth. After five consecutive pars kept him at one-under through his first seven holes, he would bogey 11 and 14 to go one-over par before finishing with a flourish. Hagy would eagle the 18th hole and also post three birdies (15, 16, 2) the remainder of the way to go five-under in his final seven holes. He had three eagles in the event to double his season total to six after coming into the tournament tied for 25th in the nation in eagles.
"It was really back and forth with the [Arizona] guy I was playing with, and I'm sure it was the same way with our other guys," Hagy said.
Stalter played consistently on Tuesday with 14 pars, only twice for a pair of holes on both occasions deviating from par. Stalter went bogey-birdie on five and six, and then bogey-birdie on 17 and 18. His round started on the second hole.
Kim, who was Cal's top golfer through 36 holes, had a round similar to Stalter on Tuesday with a one-over par 72 in he which me made 13 pars, a pair of birdies (5, 15) and three bogeys (3, 6, 11).
After back-to-back three-over par rounds Monday caused primarily by a quintuple bogey and quadruple bogey, Max Homa (74-74-70 - 218, +5) returned to form Tuesday with a one-under par 70 to move up seven spots in the final standings into a tie for 22nd. Homa started off with a bang by posting an eagle on his first hole, the par-five fifth. After six consecutive pars, he made black for his only hole all day with a double bogey on 12 before rebounding with eight pars and birdies on the 13th and first holes.
After making a strong impression with his five-under par 66 on the first 18 holes Monday, Keelan Kilpatrick (66-73-84 - 223, +10) skied to a 13-over par round of 84 on Tuesday to earn the interesting distinction of having the tied for best round of the tournament and just missing the worst, with his 84 tied for the second-highest score in the event. Kilpatrick struggled out of the gates on his first hole Tuesday with a bogey on three followed by a quadruple bogey on four. He came back with the first of his two birdies on five but gave the stroke right back with a bogey on six. His final birdie of the day came on nine and was followed by a quintuple bogey (12) and four bogeys (10, 11, 16, 2). Kilpatrick struggled to a 10-over par score on the course's four par-threes, including the quintuple and the quad as well as a bogey and a par.
Jeff Hamm (74-74-71 - 219, +6) played the event as an individual and moved up five spots into a tie for 24th with an even-par 71 on Tuesday that was his best round of the event. Hamm started on the 16th hole and was three-over par through seven holes after bogeys on his first two holes (16, 17) and another on four. Hamm got all of those strokes back quickly with three birdies (5, 8, 9) over his next five holes. He added one more bogey (11) and another birdie (13) over his final five holes.
Cal, ranked No. 12 nationally by Golfstat and No. 12 according to Golfweek heading into the event that served as the Bears' spring opener, will resume action Feb. 15-17 at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate at the Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, Hawaii.
"No doubt we're disappointed and frustrated," Desimone said. "But you learn a lot from this stuff. This is part of a process to get us to the NCAA Championship at Riviera in June. If there's one key to this it's how important every shot is. There were some really good lessons we learned here that we will be talking about the rest of the season."
Arizona Intercollegiate (hosted by Arizona)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)