Sept. 25, 2012
ALPHARETTA, Ga. - Cal (289-280-276 - 845, +5) ended up with a co-title at the PING/Golfweek Preview along with host Georgia Tech (287-282-276 - 845, +5) after the conclusion of action Tuesday at the 54-hole event on the par-70, 7,248-yard Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club. The Golden Bears stormed back from a nine-shot deficit after Sunday's opening round by tying for the best team round of the day both Monday and Tuesday.
"Today was one of those days when golf is a lot of fun," head coach Steve Desimone said. "This is arguably the best tournament of the year outside the NCAA Championship, and when you play as well as we did, especially over the last two rounds in this kind of a field, you let everybody know that you're one of the top two or three teams to beat [in the nation]. We had already established that over the past 12 months, but we have put a little exclamation point behind that now."
Cal was tied for eighth after the first 18 holes of the event, before moving into a tie for third with Georgia Tech three shots behind second-round leader UCLA and one stroke behind UNLV heading into Tuesday's final round in which the Bears and Yellow Jackets both shot four-under par and were the only teams in red over the final 18 holes.
"Our guys are tough, resilient and used to winning, "Desimone said. "You saw it last year and you saw it all summer. You're not going to win them all, but again we put ourselves in the right position and executed when we had to. I just can't say enough about how good this team is, and they all know that we're still getting better."
Cal led only briefly early in the third round and still trailed by two when the team entered the clubhouse with Georgia Tech still on the course.
"Our hope was to post a score and let them shoot at it," Desimone said. "That stretch from the 14th through 18th holes is just a monster, and we played that really well. When we needed to hit some shots and make some putts we did."
Cal's four scorers played the final four holes in two-under par, while Georgia Tech's top four players were one-over par down the stretch on the same four holes.
Michael Weaver (71-70-69 - 210, E) and Max Homa (71-70-69 - 210, E) were among a group of eight players that tied for second place on the final player leader board, two strokes back of individual medalist Tom Berry of San Diego State, who was the only player in a field of 75 to shoot under par for the tournament (67-69-72 - 208, -2).
Weaver and Homa both had one-under par final rounds.
Weaver was three-under par for the day and two-under par for the tournament through 15 holes with three birdies and 12 pars before a double bogey on the par-four 16th took him out of the running for individual medalist honors. His birdies came on the par-four fifth and seventh holes, as well as the par-three 15th.
"It was a great team effort today and nice to win again," Weaver said.
Homa was steady throughout his round that included two birdies on the par-four second and 18th holes, a single bogey on the par-four fifth and 15 pars.
"This team will be the most relentless, gritty team in the country all year long so that we can keep ourselves in the mix at the end," Homa said.
Michael Kim (73-68-70 - 211, +1) tied for 10th one shot behind the group of eight, while Brandon Hagy (74-76-68 - 218, +8) carded his best round of the tournament Tuesday to move up 27 spots into a tie for 39th in the final standings and Walker Huddy (76-72-73 - 221, +11) tied for 54th.
Kim, who had started the third and final round tied for eighth in a group that also included Homa and Weaver, had two birdies, two bogeys and 14 pars in his even-round 70. Kim both started and ended the front nine with bogeys on par fours, while his birdies came on par-four eighth and 16th holes.
"It's a big confidence booster to win the way we did, especially with the strength of the field," Kim said. "It shows that we can take it deep at any point."
Hagy's two-under par final-round 68 that consisted of two birdies and 16 pars was bettered by only two players Tuesday. He birdied the par-three sixth and par-four 17th holes.
"I really wanted to come back today and put in a good round for the team," Hagy said. "I'm so proud of the guys. That was a really clutch final round."
Huddy was three-over par after four holes following a bogey on the par-four third and a double bogey on the par-five fourth, but he played even-par over his final 14 holes, picking up birdies on the par-four fifth and 11th holes while taking bogeys on the seventh and par-three 13th.
The 15-team field for the event, which was played at the same course that will host the 2013 NCAA Men's Golf Championship, included 14 teams in Golfweek's preseason top 25, including the second-ranked Bears.
Cal has now won at least a share of the title at both of its tournaments this year after a season-opening win at the Gopher Invitational, and eight of its last 16 events dating back through the entire 2011-12 campaign.
The Bears will next be in action Oct. 8-9 at the Pac-12 Preview hosted by Oregon at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon.
PING/Golfweek Preview (hosted by Georgia Tech)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
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)