May 20, 2010
SANTEE - Cal is one of four teams tied for first place after shooting a six-over par team score of 294 during the opening round of action at the 2010 NCAA San Diego Regional on Thursday at the par-72, 7,360-yard Carlton Oaks Golf Club. Freshman Michael Weaver led the Golden Bears' effort at the event hosted by San Diego State with a two-under par round of 70 in his first NCAA postseason outing.
Two other Cal players are also rookies participating in a collegiate postseason event for the first time. Brandon Hagy shot the next best round for Cal with a two-over par score of 74 and is tied for 18th overall, while Max Homa checked in with a three-over par 75 and is tied for 25th. Stephen Hale, a veteran of two previous NCAA Regionals, also had a three-over par 75, while 2010 Pac-10 individual champ and two-time regional participant Eric Mina shot a four-over par 76.
"Michael continues to play great," said Cal head coach Steve Desimone. "He's been on a roll of late since he returned to the team healthy. The rest of the guys fought their way through today and really played some solid golf."
Oregon, UNLV and Tennessee matched Cal's team score, while Central Florida is in fifth place one shot behind the leaders with a seven-over par mark of 295. The top five teams and one individual with the lowest score not from one of the top five finishing teams advance to the 2010 NCAA Championships being held June 1-6 and hosted by Chattanooga at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
"Every regional is always a dogfight," said Desimone. "My number one goal today was for us to put ourselves in position to have a chance to play well on the final day of the event and earn a trip to the NCAA's. So far, so good, it's a heck of a start. But the reality is that we've only finished round one. One down, two to go. Every regional is never an easy one, and we have two more very difficult rounds to go."
Cal is looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the sixth time in school history and the first since the Bears won their lone national title in 2004. Cal is playing in its 15th regional in school history and its fourth in a row.
Weaver was near the top of the leader board for most of the first day's action after making birdie on three of his first seven holes. Starting on the par-four 10th hole, Weaver began his day with a birdie and after a bogey on the par-three 12th, came back with birdies on the par-four 14th and 16th holes to finish his first nine holes with a two-under par 34. He moved to three-under with a birdie on the par-four fourth hole but gave the shot back with a bogey on the par-three seventh.
Hagy recovered from two early bogeys on the par-four 11th and 12th (his second and third holes of the day) with back-to-back birdies on the par-four 16th and 17th to cover his first nine holes in an even-par 36. He had three bogeys over his second nine holes (fourth, par-four sixth, par-four eighth), but got one shot back when he birdied his final hole of the day on the par-five ninth.
Homa and Hale both finished strong after difficult first nines. Homa went out in 40 with four bogeys and five pars, but came in with a 35 by recording eight consecutive pars and a birdie on the ninth. Hale was out in 39 with three bogeys and six pars and fell to six-over with a triple-bogey on the par-four fourth hole (his 13th of the day), before making four birdies and one bogey over his final five holes.
"It's always a real confidence builder when you do something like Stephen did today by making birdie on four of your last five holes," said Desimone. "It's nice to have him back in the lineup."
Mina had 15 pars but was unable to make a birdie and ended the round four-over par with a double-bogey on the par-four 18th hole and then bogeys on the par-three second and fourth.
The three-day, 54-hole event is scheduled to continue with 18 holes of golf both Friday and Saturday. The teams are slated to tee off Friday at 8:00 a.m. PT and Saturday at 7:30 a.m. PT. Mina will be the first Cal golfer to tee off on Friday at 9:10 a.m. and followed in 10-minute intervals by Hale, Homa, Hagy and Weaver. High temperatures both days are forecast in the low to mid 70's with winds expected to reach up to 15 miles per hour.
NCAA San Diego Regional (Hosted by San Diego State)
TEAM STANDINGS (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)
TOURNAMENT LEADER (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)