Oct. 17, 2011
(FAIRFAX) - Cal (273-267 - 540, -28) is in second place after the first 36 holes of the 2011 Alister MacKenzie Invitational contested Monday at the par-71, 6,718-yard Meadow Club. Oregon (270-268 - 538, -30) leads the event annually hosted by the Bears, while San Diego State (272-272 - 544, -24) and San Francisco (268-276 - 544, 24) are six shots behind the leader tied for third.
"We're in a real battle with tremendous teams," Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. "We need to be at the top of our game tomorrow. Oregon played really well, and they're not going to give in. We're going to have to go out and beat them."
Cal's 17-under par team score of 267 in the second round was the best of the day as the Bears began where they left off at the end of the first round following a difficult front nine that had Cal mired in ninth or 10th place for much of the early part of the day.
"We got off to a terrible start," Desimone said. "I was afraid we dug ourselves a hole we couldn't get out of but we played a great afternoon round, and then put us back in position to win."
Oregon's Eugene Wong (65-63 - 128, -14) holds a four-shot lead on UC Irvine's Pete Fernandez (64-68 - 132, -10) and Cal's Max Homa (66-66 - 132, -10) heading into Tuesday's final round. Wong carded 16 birdies and only two bogeys on the day. Fernandez had 15 birdies and five bogeys, while Homa had an eagle, 13 birdies and five bogeys.
"Max is on an incredible roll since we've been back in school, both in team qualifying and tournament play," Desimone said. "Over his last 12-14 rounds, he is probably playing the best stretch of golf in the history of the program. It's really tremendous and fun to see what he's doing. He keeps getting better and gaining confidence, and hopefully tomorrow he'll come up with a real low number and win this thing."
Michael Kim (70-65 - 135, -7) had Cal's best round of the day with a six-under 65 over his final 18 holes and is tied for ninth overall. Kim's round was sparked by a three-hole stretch (13-15) in which he was five-under par with an eagle, birdie, eagle. He finished his day with two eagles, seven birdies and four bogeys.
Brandon Hagy (70-68 - 138, -4) was next for the Bears and is in a tie for 18th. Hagy had a steady day with eight birdies, four in each round, and four bogeys.
Joël Stalter (72-68 - 140, -2) had one hot stretch during his second round in which he was four-under over six holes (10-15) that helped negate his two-over par play on his other 30 holes. He will begin Tuesday's action tied for 26th.
Jeff Hamm (67-74 - 141, -1) posted a strong first round that had him tied for eighth at Monday's midway point, but a tough stretch on the back nine of his second round in which he played an eight-hole stretch (10-17) five-over par with a double bogey, three bogeys and a birdie dropped him into a tie for 34th.
Cal has won the event each of the last two seasons, four of the past five campaigns and five times in the previous eight years of the tournament that began in 2002. Both of the last two non-Cal winners - Oregon State (2004), San Diego State (2007) - are in the 2011 MacKenzie field.
"There is always extra motivation when you're the host and you have a lot of people watching and rooting you on," Desimone said. "It was really fun to see lots of people today, family and friends, out here and Meadow Club has really embraced this event over the years, so yes there is extra motivation. We've won this thing each of the last two years, and we'd like to keep it going and make it three in a row."
"As the host you want to put on good show for everybody, and from what I could tell everything went really smoothly," Desimone added. "Mother Nature cooperated because it was about as perfect of a day for golf as you're ever going to get. There was little to no wind all day, which made for great scoring conditions."
The 54-hole tournament concludes Tuesday with the final 18 holes of action beginning at 7:45 a.m. PT.
Alister MacKenzie Invitational (hosted by Cal)
TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 1 of 2 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD (after 1 of 2 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD - CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)