Oct. 9, 2012
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. - Top-ranked Cal (285-273-277 - 835, -29) fired the best team score of the day in the third and final round of action on its way to victory at the inaugural Pac-12 Preview that concluded Tuesday on the par-72, 7,017-yard Witch Hollow Course at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. The Golden Bears finished the 54-hole event hosted by Oregon State seven shots ahead of second-place Washington (277-281-284 - 842, -22).
"This was really quite a victory," head coach Steve Desimone said. "It was a tremendous team effort in a great field. We certainly have earned our No. 1 ranking. We proved that yesterday and then again today, but it's only October 9 and we have a long way to go until we get to late May and early June. But we certainly like the way things have shaped up thus far."
Cal was a winner for a third straight match to open the season after also capturing the season-opening Gopher Invitational and sharing a victory with host Georgia Tech at the PING/Golfweek Preview last month. The three victories to open the season marks the first time the Bears have ever won their first three matches of a campaign. Cal has also captured at least a share of nine of its last 17 events dating back to the entire 2011-12 campaign when the Bears reached the semifinal match at the NCAA Championship.
Cal had trailed by as many as 15 strokes at one point after a rough start on the front nine of Monday's first round, but rallied to play the final 27 holes in an astonishing 36-under par. The Bears held a two-stroke lead by the end of Monday's action but started Tuesday's third and final round in a tie with Washington after the Huskies' completed their second round that had been suspended due to darkness late Monday on Tuesday morning with the same 18-under team score as Cal.
All five Cal players were under par with Michael Kim (71-69-70 - 210, -6) the Bears' top finisher in a tie for sixth. Joël Stalter (72-72-67 - 211, -5) was one shot and two places behind Kim in a tie for eighth. Brandon Hagy (77-68-67 - 212, -4) rebounded from a five-over par opening round to play nine-under over his final 36 holes and finish in a tie for 14th along with Max Homa (72-67-73 - 212, -4). Michael Weaver (70-69-76 - 215, -1) had been tied for fifth along with Homa after the first day of action but ended up in a tie for 22nd following his four-over round Tuesday.
"When you can have your top two players struggle a little bit like they did today and get picked up by the next three guys that really shows some strength in the lineup," Desimone said. "There just aren't a lot of teams in the country that have five guys that can score in every tournament. We're a very, very balanced team with great players up and down the lineup. That's the formula for a great season and a serious run at the NCAA championship. Obviously, that's what we've been looking for ever since last June at Riviera."
Kim posted three of his four birdies on par fives (11, 14, 18) and one on the par-three second, with his bogeys coming on the par-four third and par-three 15th. Stalter, playing in his first event of the season, started hot with the first of his six birdies on the par-four first hole. He would birdie four of the course's par fives (4, 7, 14, 18) and added another on the par-four 16th. The only blemish in his best round of the season was a bogey on the par-three fifth.
Hagy would continue his amazing recovery from an eight-over 44 on the front nine of his first round Monday by extending his string of holes without a bogey to 45 in a row in which he played 12-under par with an eagle and 10 birdies. The first four of his five birdies came on par-five holes (4, 7, 11, 14), while his final birdie came on the par-four 16th.
Homa's one-over par round Tuesday included three birdies as he picked up one on the par-three second and the other on par fives (7, 14). But he also suffered a double bogey on the par-three fifth and back-to-back bogeys on his final two holes, the par-four 17th and par-five 18th.
"It's nice that we kept the streak alive, and now we can focus on our home event," Homa said.
Weaver got off to a great start with a birdie on the first hole and an eagle on the seventh to get to eight-under for the tournament and three-under for the round before his day took a downturn with a double bogey on the par-four eighth. He would add another double on 11 as well as four back nine bogeys (10, 13, 17, 18) while managing only one more birdie on 16.
"Today was a good team victory," Weaver offered despite his difficult final 11 holes. "I'm glad we could post a good final round as a team and make a statement by winning by a good margin. We are on a roll and hopefully can keep it going the rest of the season."
Washington's Trevor Simsby (69-70-66 - 205, -11) earned individual medalist honors, defeating Arizona State's Jon Rahm (77-64-65 - 206, -10) by a single stroke.
Cal will next be in action when the Bears host their lone event of the season Oct. 15-16, with a 16-team field gathering at Meadow Club in nearly Fairfax, Calif. The teams will play 36 holes on Monday with the first tee time at 8:15 a.m. PT, while Tuesday's final 18 holes of action begin at 7:45 a.m. PT.
Pac-12 Preview (hosted by Oregon State)
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)