March 9, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - No. 1 Cal (285-280 - 565, -11) extended its lead Saturday at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters by shooting an eight-under par team score of 280 that was the best round from the field for the second consecutive day. The Golden Bears lead by 11 shots after two rounds over second-place Stanford (286-290 - 576, E) at the event hosted by UNLV at the par-72, 7,510-yard Southern Highlands Golf Club.
"Once again these guys played really well," head coach Steve Desimone said. "We had a great game plan going into today and these guys executed it really well as they usually do. We hit a lot of great shots and made some clutch putts."
All five players in the Cal lineup are in the top 12 on the individual leader board after two rounds of action at the tournament that features 12 of the nation's top 13 ranked teams according to the latest Golfstat rankings.
Joël Stalter (72-70 - 142, -2) is tied for fourth three shots behind second-round leader Patrick Rodgers of Stanford (66-73 - 139). Stalter rebounded from a double bogey on the par-three second hole to post four birdies and 12 pars the rest of the way. His birdies came on the par-five third and 18th holes, as well as the par-four seventh and 11th.
"I'm really excited for tomorrow," Stalter said. "Having a good lead is definitely an advantage but anything can happen on tough courses like this. Hopefully, everybody will keep on rolling tomorrow and we will get our first win here."
Michael Kim (76-67 - 143) is back in contention for his fourth win in five events after firing the best round of the day with a five-under par 67 on Saturday. The nation's top-ranked player according to Golfweek heading into the tournament moved up 44 spots from a tie for 51st place after an opening-round four-over par-76 to his current position of tied for seventh.
Kim had seven birdies and two bogeys during his round. He had three birdies during a four-hole stretch on the front nine on the par-fourth fifth and sixth holes, as well as the par-three eighth. After a bogey on the par-three 12th, he came back with another stretch of three birdies over four holes on the par-five 13th and the par-four 15th and 16th. The run ended when he bogeyed the par-three 17th but he came right back with a birdie on 18 to end his round.
"Great players find a way to bounce back and he got started early," Desimone said. "I don't know if I've ever seen anyone jump 44 spots in a field like this. What Michael did today was one of the greatest rounds we've ever had."
"We played great today as a team," Kim said. "To not count a score over par again shows our depth that we have. It's nice to have an 11-shot lead but with this course and this field we can't let our guard down. For me, I wasn't that far off yesterday, but everything felt a little sharper today."
Weaver started his round Saturday with 10 straight pars before birdies on the 11th and 16th holes put him at two-under. He gave one shot back with a bogey on 17.
Homa had four birdies (5, 13, 15, 18) and four bogeys (2, 7, 10, 17), while Hagy started his round tied for third but fell nine spots after a three-over par-75. He had four bogeys (3, 8, 11, 14) before a birdie on 18 got him one stroke back.
Saturday's round marked the second in as many days that Cal did not have to count a score over par.
"So many things continue to go in the right direction for us," Desimone said. "I'm so proud of these guys. They continue to work hard for this. We've got one more round to go, and I like our chances."
Sunday's third and final round begins at 8 a.m. PT.
"The winner in a field like this has a leg up on everybody," Desimone said. "Our goal was to keep the pressure on and keep doing what we've done all year, which is to execute our game plan and make good decisions on the golf course. If we do those things right we're going to be in position to win every tournament we play, and here we are again in a great spot in a tremendous field."
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 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)