June 2, 2011
(STILLWATER) - Cal (300-299-303 - 902, +38) completed its season on Thursday by tying for 19th overall at the 2011 NCAA Championship, while Michael Weaver (71-71-74 - 216, E) posted the best NCAA individual showing ever by a Cal player by tying for eighth overall. The finish was also Weaver's best of the year and marked the third time in his four career NCAA events that he has been Cal's top player.
The Golden Bears failed to finish among the top eight teams at the end of the 54-hole stroke play of the event that advance to match play beginning Friday at the par-72, 7,416-yard Karsten Creek to determine the NCAA champion.
"At various times during the season we thought that our chances of making match play at the NCAA's were good," said head coach Steve Desimone. "We came up short but it has been a great year by any standards. We still fulfilled a lot of the expectations we began the season with. If you take the larger perspective in this we've had a wonderful year. I have no complaints and no regrets. It was one of the best years in the history of the program. The exciting part is the program is in great shape moving forward. We certainly want to build on this."
The eight teams qualifying for match-play include UCLA (286-288-298 - 872, +8), Georgia Tech (283-290-302 - 875, +11), NCAA host Oklahoma State (292-293-294 - 879, +15), Illinois (291-287-301 - 879, +15), Georgia (291-288-305 - 884, +20), Ohio State (291-299-297 - 887, +23), defending national champion Augusta State (294-294-300 - 888, +24) and Duke (303-293-293 - 889, +25).
Four match-play quarterfinals begin Friday before with action continuing Saturday with a pair of semifinals and concluding with 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.
The individual medalist was determined on Thursday with LSU's John Peterson (74-65-72 - 211, -5) posting the score to beat early in the day that was one stroke better than UCLA's Patrick Cantlay (72-69-71 - 212, -4) finished after a late charge.
Weaver had started the day tied for sixth at two-under par but his round of two-over par Thursday never allowed him to make a serious run at becoming Cal's first NCAA individual champion. Weaver played the front nine in one-over par 37, with eight pars and a bogey on the par-three third hole. He was also one-over on the back nine with four bogeys and three birdies. Weaver started his back nine with a bogey on the par-four 10th hole to drop back to even-par for the tournament and two-over for the day. He got back to one-under for the tournament with his second birdie in as many days on the par-three 11th but immediately fell back to par with a bogey on the par-four 12th. He would get back into the red for the tournament one more time with a birdie on the par-five 14th but fell to one-over with bogeys on the par-three 15th and par-four 17th. He birdied the par-five 18th to finish even.
"It's been an up-and down season for Michael," continued Desimone. "But just like last year he finished really strong."
Max Homa (73-74-72 - 219, +3) tied for 19th overall after posting the best round by a Cal player on Thursday with an even-par 72 to wrap up a solid tournament and season. Homa's final round was up and down, consisting of five birdies and five bogeys. He reached one-under par for the day on three separate occasions after birdies on the par-three third, par-four eighth and par-five 14th holes. But bogeys soon after each of the birdies on the par-four sixth, par-ninth and par-three 15th brought him back to even each time. His two other birdies came on the 12th and 18th, while his other bogeys were on the 10th and 17th, all par-fours.
"Max put together three really solid rounds at the NCAA's," said Desimone. "He's had a great year and may wind up being selected as an All-American. If so it's very justified. He has played well all season."
Stephen Hale (75-80-76 - 231, +15) was one of two seniors playing their final collegiate event and finished 102nd overall. Hale had a few highlights as well as several low points in his last collegiate round. He was four-over par for the day through his first six holes after bogeys on the par-three third and the par-four fifth, and a double bogey on the par-four sixth. He got two strokes back with consecutive birdies on the par-three seventh and par-four eighth to complete the front nine two-over par. Hale bogeyed the par-five 10th but came up with an eagle three on the par-five 14th to get back to one-over for the day. Bogeys on the last three holes gave him his final score.
Mina (84-76-81 - 241, +25) tied for 135th in the final event of his collegiate career. He started his last round with bogeys on three of his first four holes - the par-five first and par-four second and fourth. He would play one-under golf over the next eight holes with seven pars and a birdie on the par-five ninth before running into a five-hole stretch from holes 13-17 where he played eight-over par with a triple bogey (17), a double bogey (14) and three bogeys (13, 15, 16). He finished with a birdie on the par-five 18th.
"Stephen and Eric are smart players that leave a tremendous legacy here," said Desimone. "Those guys were really the foundation of this program moving back into the top levels of college golf. Any way you look at it they were great collegiate players and they are two of the best players in the history of our program."
Ben An (81-78-W) was forced to withdraw Thursday due to illness.
NCAA Championship (hosted by NCAA and Oklahoma State)
*TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 3 of 3 days of stroke play/3 of 3 rounds of stroke play/54 of 54 holes of stroke play)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL MEDALIST (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)