March 8, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - No. 1 Cal is in the lead after shooting a three-under par team round of 285 over the first 18 holes of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters at the par-72, 7,510-yard Southern Highlands Golf Club. The tournament features 12 of the nation's top 13 ranked teams according to the latest Golfstat rankings.
"When you look at the schedule there are always two or three competitions that are paramount and there's no question that Southern Highlands is one of those," head coach Steve Desimone said. "Southern Highlands has the best field of our spring schedule. We want to continue the great roll that we've been on, and we want to let these teams know that we're here and we're not going anywhere. That's exactly what we've done in the first round."
Stanford is in second place a shot behind the Golden Bears and was the only other team to break par Friday during a day of stormy weather that forced an approximately 90-minute delay at one point.
Brandon Hagy led the way for the Bears with a three-under par round of 69 and is tied for third three strokes behind first-round leader Patrick Rodgers of Stanford. Hagy birdied three of his first seven holes and his four birdies total were split between a par-five (3, 18) and par-four (5, 7) holes. His lone bogey came on the par-four fourth.
"Brandon's performance on this golf course in these conditions today was clearly one of the best rounds of the year," Desimone said.
"I played solid all day and was patient," Hagy said. "I played to the middle of the greens when I had to and was aggressive when I could be. The key was being in position all day off the tee. As for the team, we're in a great position and it shows how balanced our team is to not have to count a score over par on this challenging course."
The Bears did not have to count a score over par because a trio of Cal players - Max Homa, Joël Stalter and Michael Weaver - shot even-par rounds of 72 and are in a group of seven players tied for 12th.
Homa had an even-par round despite being up-and-down all day with six birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey. Homa bogeyed the par-three second hole before three birdies over a four-hole stretch on the par-four fifth and sixth holes and par-three eighth put him at two-under. Homa's rollercoaster round continued with a bogey on the par-five ninth and a double bogey on the par-four 10th to put him at one-over par. He came back with two birdies over his next three holes on the par-four 11th and par-five 13th to get back in the red but dropped back into the black with bogeys on the par-four 15th and par-three 17th. He finished his round with a birdie on the 18th.
Stalter's round was much less dramatic with two birdies (5, 11), two bogeys (9, 17) and 14 pars.
Weaver had three birdies, picking up one of each variety on the par-four fifth, par-five ninth and par-three 12th. He also had bogeys on the par-four first and a pair of par-threes (8, 17).
The one score Cal threw out was the four-over par 76 shot by Michael Kim, who is currently the nation's No. 1 ranked player according to Golfweek. Kim, who is tied for 51st after the first round, was unable to pick up any birdies to offset any of his four bogeys (7, 10, 11, 13).
The Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters continues Saturday before concluding Sunday with 18 holes of golf each day with the first tee times on both days at 8 a.m. PT.
"We have a team that has a tendency to play better as tournaments go on," Desimone said. "We've put ourselves in a good spot, and I like our chances."
The Bears have won 13 of their last 22 tournaments overall dating back to the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign and have finished in the top five in all 22.
Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters (hosted by UNLV)
TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)