April 28, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Cal (359-365-348 - 1072, -8) shot a 12-under par round Saturday that was the second best of the day at the Pac-12 Championship being hosted by Oregon State. The effort helped the Golden Bears stay in the running for the first conference title in school history. Cal, ranked as high as No. 5 nationally by Golfworld/Nike, will begin Sunday's final 18 holes of action at Trysting Tree Golf Club six strokes behind third-round leader Oregon (364-358-344 - 1006) and two behind second-place UCLA (367-352-351 - 1070).
Cal played the final two holes of the round at six-under par to nearly cut in half what had been a 10-stroke deficit to the Ducks, who played the final two holes at two-under.
"Our finish was spectacular and no doubt got us right back in the tournament," head coach Steve Deismone said. "This was a flat-out old Texas Western shootout. All three of these teams are great teams, and all three of them lit it up at various times."
Sunday's action begins at 8 a.m. PT, with Cal's first tee time from the first hole at 9 a.m. The Bears will play in the final six threesomes along with members of the Ducks and Bruins.
"We're going to have a very interesting day tomorrow, make no mistake about it," Desimone said. "The expectations are that we are going to have the same type of day as today. We're just going to have to play another solid round of golf, and if we do that it's going to be an interesting finish. Who knows how this thing's going to end."
Brandon Hagy (73-73-66 - 212, -4) equaled the best round of his collegiate career with a season-low six-under par 66 to jump 15 spots into a tie for sixth. Hagy had seven birdies to just one bogey. He started with a birdie on the par-four first hole, gave the stroke back with a bogey on the par-three fourth, but then birdied three of the four par-five holes (5, 9, 14) and three par-fours (10, 11, 18).
He will begin the final round six shots behind co-leaders Daniel Miernicki (68-72-66 - 206, -10) and Eugene Wong (69-68-69 - 206, -10) of Oregon. Hagy and Miernicki tied for the second-best round of the day one shot behind Stanford's Patrick Rodgers (73-74-65 - 212, -4), who is one of five players tied for sixth along with Hagy.
"I hit my driver really well again today, which put me in good position most of the day," Hagy said. "Probably the biggest difference is I just hit better wedge shots today. I got it close to the hole from 100 yards and in, so that really helped with the birdie putts."
"Brandon did so many things right," Desimone added. "He drove it well, he hit a lot of good iron shots and made some putts. A couple of times he got in trouble but got out of it. Some bogeys are better than others and his on the fourth hole was one of those bogeys that save your round. He also made a phenomenal up-and-down on seven where he could have easily made bogey there and from that point on, he just got going and it was all over."
Joël Stalter (71-70-72 - 213, -3) had another solid effort and is now tied for 11th. Stalter had 14 pars, along with birdies on the fourth and 18th holes, and bogeys on the par-four 12th and par-five 15th.
Max Homa (72-74-69 - 215, -1) is in 16th place and had a lot to do with the strong finish with birdies on both the par-three 17th hole, as well as the 18th. The remainder of his round consisted of a birdie on nine, a bogey on 12, a birdie on 14, and 13 pars.
Michael Kim (73-73-70 - 216, E) is one stroke and one spot behind Homa in a tie for 17th place. He had three birdies on the par-four sixth, as well as the ninth and 14th holes. His lone bogey of the day came on 15.
Jeff Hamm (75-75-71 - 221, +5) scored for the second straight round and joined Homa with birdies on 17 and 18. Prior to his strong run at the end, Hamm had three bogeys on the par-four second, sixth and 18th holes, as well as birdies on the fifth and 10th.
Keelan Kilpatrick (70-77-76 - 223) fell 14 more spots as he continued his slide after being tied for fifth place following an opening-round two-under par. Kilpatrick's round on Saturday included a double bogey on the 15th hole, as well as three bogeys on the par-four third, eighth and 16th. He did pick up one birdie on six.
"We've talked all year that one of the things we wanted to do is compete for the Pac-12 championship," Desimone said. "Here we are one round away from doing it. Are we excited and ready to go? You can bet on that. This is one other thing the guys would like to put on the mantle and say `we were the first ones to win four [regular-season tournaments] and now we're the first ones to win a Pac-12 championship."
"We know the position we're in," Hagy said. "This is where we want to be every tournament, especially Pac-12's. This is right where we thought we would be. I just think we're going to go out there and prove to everyone why we're the sneakiest, slash best, team in the conference."
Pac-12 Championship (hosted by Oregon State)
TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 3 days/3 of 4 rounds/54 of 72 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL LEADERS (after 2 of 3 days/3 of 4 rounds/54 of 72 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 3 days/3 of 4 rounds/54 of 72 holes)