Sept. 27, 2011
(BURLINGTON) - Cal (288-296-294 - 878, +14) finished fifth at the Golfweek Conference Challenge hosted by Iowa that concluded Tuesday at the 7,010-yard, par-72 Spirit Hollow Golf Course.
The Bears had the second-best team score during Tuesday's third and final round among the top five finishing teams. Cal round was enough to move the Bears past host and sixth-place Iowa, who started the day in fourth. Arkansas (280-294-285 - 859, -5) won the team title and was the only squad under par for the three-day, 54-hole tournament. Chattanooga (279-291-296 - 866), Oklahoma State (283-289-295 - 867, +3) and New Mexico (289-291-295 - 875, +11) also finished ahead of the Bears.
"This was a really good field," head coach Steve Desimone said. "You've got three top-10 teams [Georgia Tech, Iowa, Oklahoma State], so what this shows is that our team is a good team that knows how to compete. We really fought for 54 holes, and I'm proud of them. We played pretty well overall, but I don't think anybody here thinks we played as well as we can."
Max Homa (71-74-71 - 216, E) was Cal's top finisher after shooting his second one-under par 71 of the event on Tuesday. He began his round Tuesday on the fifth hole of a shotgun start, finishing with five birdies, four bogeys and nine pars. His high-water mark came at two-under par for the day after back-to-back birdies on the par-four first and par-five second holes, his 15th and 16th holes of the day. He also had birdies on the par-three seventh, par-five 10th and par-four 16th. His bogeys came back-to-back on the par-four eighth and ninth holes, as well as the par-four 14th and the par-three third.
"Everybody kind of had their `B-game,'" Homa said. "We hung in there and made the best of what we had."
Pace Johnson (70-72-76 - 218, +2) ended up tied for 13th following his four-over par 76. He had started the day tied for fourth but could manage only two birdies to offset his six bogeys. He birdied the par-five fourth hole for the third consecutive day to go three-under for the tournament but immediately gave the stroke back with a bogey on the par-four fifth. He moved back to one-under par for the day and three-under for the tournament with a birdie on the par-five 10th hole, before five bogeys (13, 16, 17, 2, 3) over his final nine holes gave him his final score.
"Everyone's game is pretty similar and we all have the ability to shoot low scores," said Johnson, who is in his first season at Cal after transferring from Cal Poly. "It's really helpful to be watching great players [on my team] and see how they play, and how they handle themselves."
Michael Kim (72-76-73 - 221, +5) settled back into his usual steadiness a day after a five-bogey round on Monday with a one-over par 73 as he finished tied for 22nd overall. He started on the sixth hole and quickly went to one-under par for the day with a birdie on the par-three seventh. He would par 15 of his 18 holes on the day, taking bogeys on only the par-four ninth and 13th holes.
Joël Stalter (75-74-74 - 223, +7) inched up two spots into a tie for 31st with his second consecutive two-over par 74. Stalter started on the seventh hole and his two birdies on the par-four ninth and par-five fourth holes sandwiched four bogeys on the 10th, 11th, 18th and third holes.
Brandon Hagy (80-81-76 - 237, +20) managed his best round of the tournament with a four-over par 76 and finished in a tie for 70th. Hagy had a lone birdie for the third consecutive round, this time on the par-four 14th, and five bogeys (8, 11, 15, 17, 6).
Cal will next be in action October 17-18 when the Bears host The Alister MacKenzie Invitational at Meadow Club in Fairfax.
"We're heading home," Desimone offered. "We've had a lot of success at our event, and we'll certainly be one of the favorites again this year along with San Diego State, with who we had a great shootout with last year and it wouldn't surprise me if that happened again."
Golfweek Conference Challenge (hosted by Iowa)
FINAL TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
FINAL PLAYER LEADER BOARD (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)