Sept. 24, 2012
ALPHARETTA, Ga. - Cal (289-280 - 569, +9) shot an even-par 280 that was tied for the best round of the day Monday to move up five spots into a tie for third place after 36 holes of the PING/Golfweek Preview on the par-70, 7,248 Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club. The Golden Bears and host Georgia Tech (287-282 - 569, +9) are both three shots off the pace of second-round leader UCLA (282-284 - 566, +6) and one stroke behind second-place UNLV (281-286 - 567, +7).
"We've played ourselves back into the tournament, so obviously we did a lot of good things today," head coach Steve Desimone said. "This was a tremendous team effort today. We were hoping to move back up into the top five and we were successful in doing that, so let's take a crack at this tomorrow. It should be a fun day."
"I think we made some good decisions on the golf course today," Desimone added. "We certainly hit it better and we made a few putts. I like our chances tomorrow. I think our players all think that we've done this before, and we don't see anybody out there that can take it away from us if we play our game."
Cal has three players - Max Homa (71-70 - 141, +1), Michael Kim (73-68 - 141, +1) and Michael Weaver (71-70 - 141, +1) - tied for eighth place and five strokes off the pace of second-round leader Tom Berry of San Diego State (67-69 - 136, -4).
"Whether it's been the national media or fellow coaches, they've all been talking about our quality of depth," Desimone said when asked about the trio of Bears tied for eighth.
Walker Huddy (76-72 - 148, +8) is tied for 53rd and was the other player who scored for the Bears on Monday, while Brandon Hagy (74-76 - 150, +9) scored during Sunday's first round and is tied for 66th overall.
Kim had Cal's best round of the day with his two-under par 68 that included three birdies and a bogey along with 14 pars. All three of Kim's birdies came over the final five holes on the par-four 14th, par-three 15th and par-four 18th. He had bogeyed both the 14th and 18th during Sunday's opening round. His lone bogey Monday was on the par-four ninth.
"It was nice to play a good round today so we can have a chance tomorrow," Kim said. "It's very bunched, so we have to really focus and not make any careless mistakes tomorrow in order to win."
Homa started on fire with four birdies on the first six holes, including three in a row on the par-five fourth, par-four fifth and par-three sixth that followed an earlier birdie on the par-four second. But Homa gave each of the strokes back over his final 11 holes with back-to-back bogeys on the par-four eighth and ninth, another on the 15th and the final one on the par-four 17th to finish at even par. Weaver was within one shot of even-par for his entire round. He both started and ended with a birdie on the par-four first and 18th. In between, he had birdies on the par-four seventh and 10th holes. His four bogeys came at the fifth, ninth, par-five 12th and 14th.
Huddy was even-par going into his final hole before a double bogey on 18. He was the only Cal player to birdie either the 11th or 16th holes, both par fours. His bogeys came at the ninth and par-three 13th.
"Walker didn't play like a freshman today," Desimone said. "He played like a veteran."
Hagy had a hard time getting untracked with a five-over par 40 on the front nine that included a double bogey on the fourth holes, and bogeys on the second, sixth and ninth. He would manage his lone birdie of the round on 16 but it was wedged between an additional two bogeys on 15 and 18.
Cal will play along with Washington and New Mexico in Tuesday's third and final round of the 54-hole event, with the tee time for the first threesome at 9:20 a.m. ET/6:20 a.m. PT. The Huskies and Lobos are currently tied for fifth two shots behind the Bears. UCLA, UNLV and Georgia Tech will be the final starting group Tuesday beginning off the first tee at 10:10 a.m.
The 15-team field for the event, which is being played at the same course that will host the 2013 NCAA Men's Golf Championship, includes 14 teams in Golfweek's preseason top 25, including the second-ranked Bears.
"There aren't any surprises here," Desimone said. "When you look at what happened at the end of last year, the way the guys played over the summer especially at the U.S. Amateur, and then winning the season opener at Minnesota in a strong field, you would have to think we would be one of the teams competing for the championship going into tomorrow."
"If you're going to win you've got to make some putts," Desimone added. "Winning teams are teams that make putts and that also make good decisions when there are issues and potential trouble on the golf course. But more so than anything else, if we make our share of putts, we'll be right there at the end."
PING/Golfweek Preview (hosted by Georgia Tech)
TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)