Sept. 13, 2011
(ANN ARBOR) - Three Cal players posted top five finishes to lead the Golden Bears to a team victory Tuesday at the season-opening Wolverine Intercollegiate hosted by Michigan. Cal (281-275-283 - 839, -13) tied a six-year-old course record at 13-under par and coasted to a 12-stroke victory, with second-place Baylor (284-278-289 - 851, -1) the only other team to put up a 54-hole total under par.
"We had three solid rounds, and it was a good test of golf," head coach Steve Desimone said.
Joël Stalter (72-63-72 - 207, -6) started Tuesday's third and final round at the par-71, 6,687-yard U-M Golf Course on top of the leader board. Stalter stayed on top most of the day before two bogeys late in his round on the par-four 15th and 18th holes left him in second place one shot behind individual medalist Jace Long (67-73-66 - 206, -7) of Missouri. Long had five birdies, including on each of the last two holes, and 13 pars without a bogey on Tuesday.
Stalter had moved into the lead Saturday by tying a 12-year-old course record by shooting an eight-under par 63 in his second round on Monday. Stalter was steady through his first 14 holes Tuesday, starting with a birdie on the par-five first hole and then rolling off 13 consecutive pars before a bogey on the par-four 15th broke a string of 27 consecutive holes without a bogey. He would also bogey the 18th hole to finish short of winning his first collegiate event.
"Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't," Desimone said. "It was disappointing, sure, but the most important thing is to put yourself in position to win tournaments. Joël did that, but he just didn't finish it off today. The next time I like his chances."
Max Homa (72-69-70 - 211, -2) tied for fifth and also tied for the team's best score Tuesday, getting to his one-under par 70 with a trio of birdies (5, 7, 11) after he had bogeyed two of the first four holes (1, 4) to start his round. He made par on each of the 10 holes that he did not birdie over his final 13.
Michael Kim (68-69-74 - 211, -2) also tied for fifth in his first collegiate tournament. The freshman fell two spots from where he started Tuesday's round as his score Tuesday rose to a three-over par 74 that was the team's one score that was dropped. He was the only player in the entire field Monday to fire back-to-back rounds under 70.
Brandon Hagy (70-74-70 - 214, +1) matched Homa's one-under par round of 70 on Tuesday as he moved up five spots into a tie for 14th. Hagy was one-over on the day through eight holes, with a bogey on the par-four second. He would rattle off back-to-back birdies on the eighth (par-3) and ninth (par-four) holes to get under par. After a bogey on the par-four 10th brought him back to even, he came back with birdies on two of the next three holes (par-five 11th and par-four 13th) to go two-under on the day. He gave one stroke back with a bogey on the par-four 16th.
Pace Johnson (71-74-71 - 216, +3) climbed eight spots during the final round with his second even-par round of the event and finished tied for 18th. Four birdies (1, 5, 7, 11) offset a pair of bogeys (2, 9) and the team's only double bogey of the day on the par-three 12th. Johnson went on to par his final six holes after the double.
"We did just about everything right," Desimone said. "A very impressive part of this team is how they manage their games, but most importantly it is how they showed their resolve. Baylor closed to within two or three shots at the turn, and we just settled in. We made a couple of birdies and they made a few mistakes. We just kind of pulled away before coasting over the last three or four holes. You don't get that luxury very often."
Cal returns to action Sept. 25-27 at the Golfweek Conference Challenge hosted by Iowa at the Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Burlington, Iowa.
"It will be a real strong and competitive field," Desimone said. "It will be a good test for us after winning here. I know we're looking forward to the challenge."
Wolverine Intercollegiate (hosted by Michigan)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL MEDALIST (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 2 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)