Feb. 17, 2012
KAHUKU, Hawaii - Cal (270-286-291 - 847, -17) repeated as team champion at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate that concluded Friday at the par-72, 7,218-yard Arnold Palmer Course at the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore. The win was Cal's third of the season, tying a school record for most regular-season team victories that has also been reached each of the past two campaigns.
The Bears led the event hosted by Hawai'i at the end of each of the three days of action and finished seven shots better than UNLV (278-291-285 - 854, -10) and Duke (282-286-286 - 854, -10) on the final leader board.
Cal started Friday's final round of action with a four-shot lead over SMU (282-278-300 - 860, -4) but the Mustangs faded quickly and would finish sixth. New Mexico (274-292-289 - 855, -9) was fourth, while fifth-place Texas A&M (288-287-281 - 856, -8) had the best round of the final day with a seven-under par team score. The Aggies were one of only three teams along with UNLV and Duke to break par on Friday when winds consistently blew around 30 miles per hour.
"Winning never gets old, but it hardly ever gets easy, either," Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. "This is a nice win in a good, solid field. It's good to know we held study and hung on. The guys knew we were in position to win today and it was ours to take. When things got tough, they just kept right on grinding and as a coach I can't ask for anything more than what they did."
The victory came after the Bears were defeated by one shot in their most recent event Jan. 30-31 at the Arizona Intercollegiate.
"Everyone felt confident that we were the best team here," Max Homa said. "Today was a day to go prove that we could close the deal. We went out there and did that really well. I'm really happy I could help the team finish the deal today."
The even-par round of 72 shot Friday by Homa (66-71-72 - 209, -7) was good enough to move him up one spot on the final leader board to second, four strokes behind individual medalist Julian Suri of Duke (65-65-70 - 205, -11). He was consistent once again Friday, with 14 pars, two birdies (4, 18) and two bogeys (15, 17). He finished the tournament with 11 birdies, four bogeys and 39 pars. Homa was a defending individual medalist at the event, having reached a playoff at the 2011 Burns before being defeated on the first hole of the extra session.
Joël Stalter (66-71-74 - 211, -5) tied for third along with second-round co-leader Sam Fidone of SMU (68-67-76 - 212, -5). Stalter faltered early with back-to-back bogeys on two and three but got back to even on the day with birdies on seven and 10. He immediately went back into the black with a bogey on 11 and would be guaranteed to stay there after a double bogey on the par-three 15th. He was able to get one stroke back with birdie on 16.
Brandon Hagy (71-72-71 - 214, -2) was the only Cal player under par on Friday and made the biggest jump on the final leader board, moving up nine spots to finish in a tie for 11th. Hagy got his round rolling with an eagle-two on the par-four 414-yard fifth hole when he found the bottom of the cup on his second shot from 115 yards. The eagle was his team-high seventh of the season and the 16th for a Cal squad that came into the event leading the nation. Hagy would never reach more than two-under par for the day, picking up three bogeys (6, 11, 17) and two birdies (9, 12) the rest of his round.
Johnson's round Friday was relatively uneventful as he carded 14 pars to go along with a birdie (9) and three bogeys (2, 10, 15).
Kim, who had been tied for seventh place after the first day, struggled for the second consecutive round with his five-over par 77 following a three-over par 75 on Thursday. Kim had two birdies on Friday (9, 15), but they were more than offset by two double bogeys (10, 12) and three bogeys (2, 4, 17).
Cal will return to action Feb. 27-28 at the Del Walker Match Play Championship hosted by Long Beach State at the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach. Two of Cal's next three events will be match play. Desimone recalls participating in only one previous match play event in his 33 seasons at helm when the Bears took part in the Collegiate Match Play Championship from Nov. 14-15, 2004.
"Given the fact that the end of the NCAA Championship is match play, it's good that we're getting into that," Desimone said.
Following the Del Walker event, Cal will be at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters (Mar. 9-11) in Las Vegas and The Match Play (Mar. 18-20) in Bradenton, Fla., prior to taking two and a half weeks off away from competition around spring break.
"We're heading into the meat of the schedule," Desimone said. "We're heading into that part of the schedule that says `you've had a good season so far through the first half but now it's time to keep building and really put together a good run.'"
John A. Burns Intercollegiate (hosted by Hawai'i)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL MEDALIST (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)