May 31, 2011
(STILLWATER) - Cal is tied for 14th place at the conclusion of Tuesday's first round of action at the 2011 NCAA Championship being hosted by Oklahoma State thru Sunday. The Golden Bears' posted a 12-over par score of 300 on the challenging Karsten Creek par-72, 7,416-yard course that yielded only a pair under-par rounds to first-day leader Georgia Tech (283, -5) and UCLA (286, -2).
Michael Weaver led Cal with a one-under par round of 71 that has him tied for ninth and four strokes off the pace of individual leader James White of Georgia Tech, who shot a five-under par 67.
"It was a battle out there on a relentless golf course," said head coach Steve Desimone. "All in all it was a decent day, not a great day but not a bad day. We've got some ground to make up and fortunately we have two rounds to go."
Cal is eight strokes out of one of the coveted top eight spots that advance to match play beginning Friday that will determine the NCAA team champion. Georgia Tech and UCLA are joined in the top eight at the end of the first round by Alabama (288, E), Texas A&M (289, +1), Georgia (291, +3), Illinois (291, +3), Ohio State (291, +3) and Oklahoma State (292, +4).
"The difficult part of this is that the teams ahead of us are all great teams," said Desimone. "We're certainly capable of having a great round or two. I told our guys in our meeting after the round that this is the NCAA Championship and at some point you're going to have to have a great round or two if you're going to advance to match play. Mediocrity isn't going to do it. We're going to have to play a great round and if we do we'll jump right back into it. With a course this challenging, that's the opportunity for us."
Weaver fired five birdies to offset two bogeys and a double bogey while shooting his second consecutive under-par round at the NCAA Championship dating back to the NCAA post-season low three-under par 69 he posted to conclude the 2010 event.
"When you put a good round together on a golf course like this you're doing a lot of things right," said Desimone. "The most impressive thing about Michael's round today was probably his wedge play. He had three or four great wedge shots. He was solid all day and managed his game well."
Weaver's first four birdies on Tuesday all came on par-fours. His birdies on the fourth and eighth holes surrounded his double on the par-three seventh, as he finished with an even-par 36 on the front nine. He started the back nine with a birdie on the 10th hole to get to one-under but immediately gave the stroke back with a bogey on the par-three 11th. Just as quickly he got back in the red with a birdie on the 12th hole and stayed there until a bogey on the par-four 16th. He birdied the par-five 18th to end his day at one-under par.
Max Homa posted a one-over par round of 73 and is tied for 34th despite a triple bogey on the par-four 13th hole that he offset with three birdies on an even-par back nine, making birdies on the par-four 10th and 12th holes, and the par-five 18th. His one-over par front nine started with a bogey on the par-five first hole before he made eight consecutive pars.
Stephen Hale is tied for 64th after a three-over par round of 75 that included 14 pars, his lone birdie on the 10th hole, bogeys on the sixth and 16th, and a double bogey on the fifth. His birdies, bogeys and double bogey all came on par-fours.
Ben An's nine-over par round of 81 that is tied for 134th place was counted towards the team score as it was three shots better than the 12-over par 84 posted by Eric Mina that has him tied for 146th.
An managed birdies on the par-four fourth and par-five 18th holes but also posted seven bogeys and a pair of double bogeys. The bogeys came on a pair of par-threes (3, 15), three par-fours (8, 10, 13) and two par-fives (1, 14). The doubles were on the par-five ninth and par-four 17th holes.
Mina's troubled round started with a double bogey on the par-five first hole. He also had doubles on the par-four eighth and 17th holes. His six bogeys came on the par-three third and seventh holes; the par-four fifth, 13th and 16th; and the par-five 18th.
"This is a very difficult golf course," said Desimone. "If you're not hitting it really well you're going to pay a price."
Ranked No. 18 nationally by Golfstat and No. 19 according to Golfweek, the Bears are seeded No. 18 in the event and played with No. 16 seed USC and No. 17 seed Arkansas on Tuesday under sunny skies, little wind and temperatures in the 80's. The same three teams will play together again on Wednesday, starting their round from the 10th tee at 12:20 p.m. CT/10:20 a.m. PT. The weather forecast Wednesday in Stillwater calls for a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms and a high of 90 degrees, with winds at up to 13 miles per hour.
Thursday's pairings and tee times will be based upon team standings after 36 holes of play.
The first tee time is scheduled both days for 7 a.m. CT/5 a.m. PT.
The 30-team field will play 54 holes of stroke play over the first three days of the event through Thursday, with the top eight squads moving on to match play over the final three days that include four Friday quarterfinals, a pair of Saturday semifinals and Sunday's championship match. Action starts at 10 a.m. CT/8:00 a.m. PT on Friday and Saturday, and Noon CT/10 a.m. PT on Sunday.
NCAA Championship (hosted by NCAA and Oklahoma State)
*TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 1 of 3 days of stroke play/1 of 3 rounds of stroke play/18 of 54 holes of stroke play)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 1 of 3 days/1 of 3 rounds/18 of 54 holes)