May 22, 2010
SANTEE - Cal has advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since the Golden Bears won their lone men's golf national title in 2004 and the sixth time in school history. Cal finished in a three-way tie for third place at the conclusion of action Saturday at the 2010 NCAA San Diego Regional.
"It feels great to get back to the NCAA Championships," said head coach Steve Desimone. "It's as simple as that."
"I'm really proud of the guys," he added. "Every season has its ups and downs, and we struggled during the middle to latter parts of the schedule this spring. But I have to really give the kids credit. They never broke; they kept working hard all year. Once we got everybody healthy we thought we had a chance, and now we're off to Chattanooga for the NCAA Championships. It doesn't get much better than this."
The Bears began the day two shots off the pace of eventual regional champ Oregon at the par-72, 7,360-yard Carlton Oaks Golf Club, and briefly moved into a tie for first place with the Ducks early in the round before falling well off the pace.
Oregon (294-290-286 - 870, +6) shot the best round of the day and equaled the best 18 holes by a team during the three-day tournament with its two-under par effort. The Ducks finished 10 shots ahead of second-place Augusta State (303-286-291 - 880, +16), who recovered from a 15-over par round on Thursday's first day of the event to shoot a combined one-over par for their final two rounds.
Cal (294-292-300 - 886, +22), Tennessee (294-296-296 - 886, +22) and UNLV (294-294-298 - 886, +22) all finished 16 shots off the lead but rounded out the top five teams to qualify for the NCAA Championships being held June 1-6 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Sixth-place Central Florida (295-291-297 - 893, +29) was the next team back seven shots behind the threesome.
Cal State Northridge's Nick Delio (71-69-73 - 213, -3) won the tournament by one stroke over Oregon's Daniel Miernicki (72-69-73 - 214) and also earned a spot to play as an individual at the NCAA Championships by posting the best score by a player not on one of the five NCAA qualifying teams. UNLV's Eddie Olson (68-73-64 - 215, -1) and Oregon's Isaiah Telles (75-73-67 - 215, -1) were the only other two players to finish the tournament under par and tied for third place. The 67 shot Saturday by Telles was the best round of the 54-hole event hosted by San Diego State and moved him up 15 spots to his final position after he started the day tied for 18th.
Freshman Michael Weaver was Cal's top individual with an eighth-place showing that was the highest NCAA Regional finish by a Cal player since Peter Tomasulo tied for sixth in 2004. Weaver, who started the final round tied for fourth, shot a one-over par 73 on Saturday to finish one-over for the tournament (70-74-73 - 217, +1). He shot a 38 on the front line with bogeys on the par-four first and fourth holes, but gained those two shots back on the back nine with birdies on the par-five 13th and 15th holes before a final bogey on the par-three 17th.
"Michael has had a very uneven year with a couple of illnesses this season, but one of the keys to this team turning it around over the last four to six weeks has been Michael's return to health. He's one of the best players in the country and showed it with top-10 finishes at both the Pac-10 Championships (tied for sixth) and the NCAA Regionals. He just keeps getting better and better. We're going to see a whole lot more of this young man, and we're going to like what we see."
Brandon Hagy (74-74-75 - 223, +7) was the next player on the leader board for Cal, finishing tied for 21st. Hagy was even-par through 10 holes on Saturday with a pair of bogeys on the par-four fourth and sixth holes, before birdies on the par-three seventh and par-five ninth. Three back-nine bogeys on the par-four 11th, 14th and 18th holes left him three-over for the day.
Stephen Hale (75-72-77 - 224, +8) and Max Homa (75-72-77 - 224, +8) were tied for 13th heading into the final day of action but both skied to five-over par rounds of 77 to finish tied for 28th. Hale was only two-over through 15 holes (13 pars, bogeys on the par-three seventh and par-four 10th), before bogeys on each of the last three holes on two par-fours (16, 18) and one par-three (17) put him at five-over. Homa got off to a strong start with a one-under score through six holes after a birdie on the par-four first hole. However, he would bogey holes seven (par-three), nine (par-five), 10 (par-four), 13 (par-five) and 17 (par-three), and then double bogey 18 (par-four). He did have a second birdie on the par-four 15th.
Pac-10 champion Eric Mina (76-75-75 - 226, +10) moved up three spots from where he started the day after a three-over par 75 to finish tied for 39th. Mina was one-under through the first 11 holes (birdies on the par-four fourth and eighth, bogey on the par-three seventh) before a pair of bogeys on the par-three 12th and par-four 17th, and a double bogey on the par-four 18th gave him his final score.
NCAA San Diego Regional (Hosted by San Diego State)
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes
TOURNAMENT WINNER (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL CAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)