May 21, 2010
SANTEE - Cal will head into the final day of action at the 2010 NCAA San Diego Regional in second place, while freshman Michael Weaver is currently tied for fourth four shots off the lead and remains in the hunt for individual medalist honors. The Golden Bears will be searching for their first ever NCAA regional title and first trip to the NCAA Championships since winning their lone national title in 2004 when play resumes Saturday at the par-72, 7,360-yard Carlton Oaks Golf Club at 7:30 a.m. PT. The first Cal golfer will tee off at 8:40 a.m. PT.
"Obviously, we want to win this regional," said Cal head coach Steve Desimone. "We're not surprised at all with the position we're in. When we've been healthy and had our full complement of players, we clearly have been one of the best teams in the country. We have one more round to really assert that and we shall see how it goes tomorrow, but I like our chances."
The Bears rebounded from a tough start Friday en route to a four-over par team score of 292 that gives Cal a two-day, 36-hole team total of 10-over par 586. The Bears are only two shots off the pace of second-round leader Oregon (294-290 - 584, +8). Cal had dropped as low as a tie for fifth place early in Friday's round with a team score that got to 13-over par at one point.
"It was a very interesting day today," said Desimone. "We got off to a horrendous start, but our guys stabilized and started hitting some shots. You could see after the first five or six holes we started to settle in. We were still in a similar position through about 13 holes, but then all of a sudden we absolutely caught fire and before you know it we rocketed back up the scoreboard."
UNLV (294-294 - 588, +12), Augusta State (303-286 - 589, +13) and Tennessee (294-296 - 590, +14) currently round out the top five after the second round of action. Central Florida (295-301 - 596) is the closest squad to the current teams vying for one of five NCAA Championship berths currently six shots out of the mix.
"We're in the top five and we have a pretty nice cushion, but anything can happen out here," said Desimone. "The guys know we still have one very important round to finish on Saturday."
Although Weaver is the first Cal name on the leader board, it was the play of Max Homa and Stephen Hale that highlighted the Bears' effort on Friday. Both players finished with even-par rounds of 72 that included one-under back nines of 35 and are now tied for 13th place overall at three-over for the tournament, up 12 spots from where they began Friday's action. Hale birdied both 16 and 17 to get back to even for the day. Homa birdied both 15 and 17, with a 50-foot putt doing the trick on 15.
"They both hung tough today and made some great shots late in the round," said Desimone. "You have to give both of those guys credit for really digging in and contributing in a big way."
Neither golfer was in the Bears' lineup at the Pac-10 Championship last month. Weaver played steadily on Friday with two birdies (11, 13), 12 pars and four bogeys (4, 10, 12, 16) as his two-over par 74 brought him to even-par for the tournament after he fired a two-under 70 in Thursday's opening round. Weaver is one of four golfers who will begin Saturday's action four strokes behind second-round leader Nick Delio of Cal State Northridge (71-69 - 140, -4) and three shots in back of UNLV's Eddie Olson (68-73 - 141, -3) and Oregon's Daniel Miernicki (72-69 - 141, -3).
"The goal for us is to make it to the NCAA Championships," said Weaver. "Everybody just needs to go out and play Saturday the way we've played all week. If I play well then obviously that helps the team. I'm just going to go out there tomorrow and play one shot at a time."
"Michael hit a lot of good golf shots and played a very solid round today," added Desimone. "He had a number of chances, he just didn't convert. I've got a feeling he's in for a big day tomorrow. Typically when he has a day like this, he usually comes back very strong the next day. He knows he's in the hunt."
Brandon Hagy remained in a tie for 18th place after his second consecutive round of 74, while 2010 Pac-10 individual champ Eric Mina slipped two spots into a tie for 42nd after shooting a three-over par 75 on Friday following a four-over par 76 in the opening round for a seven-over par tournament total of 151.
"I want to give Eric some credit because he got off to a tough start today at three-over after the first two holes," said Desimone. "I expect a big day from him tomorrow, and we're going to need it."
Cal is looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the sixth time in school history while playing in its 15th NCAA Regional and fourth in a row.
"It was a magnificent comeback today," said Desimone. "We pointed out that what we did today is what great teams and great players do when they dig themselves a hole. I told them that regardless of how we start on Saturday, we're going hole-by-hole and shot-by-shot. We'll add them up when we're done."
The latest forecast for Saturday's weather conditions in Santee call for partly cloudy skies with high temperatures in the upper 60's and winds expected to reach to near 15 miles per hour.
NCAA San Diego Regional (Hosted by San Diego State)
TEAM STANDINGS (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
TOURNAMENT LEADER (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
CAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)