Jan. 30, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas - A record-tying four players from the top-ranked Cal men's golf team have been named to The Ben Hogan Award Watch List for the honor presented annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer. Brandon Hagy, Max Homa, Michael Kim and Michael Weaver are all up for the prestigious award that takes into account amateur competition at all collegiate, amateur and pro tournaments during a 12-month period beginning with the 2012 NCAA Championship and running through the 2013 NCAA Regionals.
"It's a tremendous honor for each of our players, and it's well deserved," head coach Steve Desimone said. "It's also a real honor for our program. It certainly is a confirmation of the quality of depth we have in the program."
The four Golden Bears on the 2013 watch list are among 27 named to the watch list Wednesday and match the previous record of four Oklahoma State players on the watch list in 2010. A list of 10 semifinalists, which could include individuals not on the current list, will be unveiled on Thursday, April 18. On Wednesday, May 8, that group will be pared down to three finalists. The winner will be crowned at a black-tie banquet at Colonial Country Club on Monday, May 20, prior to the start of the PGA TOUR's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
All four are significant contributors to a Cal men's golf team that won all five of its events for the first time in school history last fall. Hagy, Homa and Kim were also earned PING Division I All-American in 2011-12 and in the lineup when Cal reached the semifinals at the 2012 NCAA Championship.
Hagy had several highlights during the period, beginning with the conclusion of a 2012 spring season in which he earned Division I PING honorable mention All-American and All-West region recognition while sharing team MVP honors with Homa and Kim. He also took home the team's Ben Furth Award for academic and athletic excellence and was a first-team Pac-12 All-Academic selection with the team's highest GPA. Hagy followed his collegiate season by reaching the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur and also had a win at the State Fair Amateur before wrapping up 2012 as California's top-ranked amateur, as well being ranked fifth in the U.S. and 16th in the world. In the fall of 2012, he won his first collegiate event at the Cal-hosted Alister MacKenzie Invitational among his three top-10 finishes. He also played at the Australian Master of the Amateur Championships in January of 2013 prior to the beginning of the collegiate spring season.
"This is a huge honor for all of us," Hagy said. "It shows how hard we have worked every year at Cal. We have all pushed each other to get better and that is a main reason we are on the list."
Homa was Cal's top finisher at the 2012 NCAA Championship with a ninth-place finish to cap a season in which he earned 2011-12 third-team PING Division I All-American and All-West recognition and shared team MVP honors with Hagy and Kim after leading the squad with a 71.2 stroke average. He reached the Round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur and finished 2012 ranked fifth in California, 18th in the U.S. and 50th in the world. Homa started the fall of his 2012-13 senior season by tying for second at each of his first two events (Gopher Invitational, PING/Golfweek Preview) to earn Pac-12 Player of the Month honors for September. He came up with his third top-10 fall finish at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational.
"It shows how much potential this team has with so many of us on the watch list with the likelihood of one more (Joël Stalter)," Homa said. "It feels nice to get recognized for all of our hard work."
Kim had an incredible fall 2012 season with the Bears, winning the prestigious Isleworth Collegiate Invitational for his first win at Cal while placing in the top-10 in all five of his events. Kim finished the fall with the nation's No. 2 individual collegiate ranking according to Golfweek and is also listed in the same spot on the organization's list of candidates for the Haskins Award presented annually to the top player in collegiate golf. Kim started his 2013 spring campaign right where he left off by sharing individual medalist honors with teammate Joël Stalter at the Arizona Intercollegiate and has lowered his team-best stroke average to 69.7. He began the 2013 calendar year No. 1 in the Palmer Cup rankings (.9984) after ending 2012 as California's second-ranked amateur behind Hagy, seventh in the U.S. and 20th in the world. He reached the Round of 64 at the U.S. Amateur and had five top-10 amateur finishes in 2012, with his highest finish a second-place showing at the AGC Silicon Valley Am, following a rookie season at Cal in 2011-12 that included honorable mention All-American and All-West region recognition while sharing team MVP honors with Hagy and Homa.
"It's pretty special being named to this watch list," Kim said. "Being on it with three other teammates makes it even better."
Weaver made an incredible run at the 2012 U.S. Amateur before setting for runner-up in a final match that was knotted after 36 holes and needed a playoff hole. His showing gave him an exemption to participate in both the Masters and U.S. Open in 2013. He also had an amateur win at the Alameda Commuters. He ended the 2012 calendar year ranked fourth in California, 23rd in the U.S. and 61st in the world among amateurs. After redshirting the 2011-12 collegiate season to successfully gain admission to the prestigious Haas School of Business, the 2010-11 honorable mention PING Division I All-American is also back on the course for the Bears. He had three top-10 finishes in the fall of 2012, including a tie for second at the PING/Golfweek Preview that equaled the best finish of his collegiate career.
"It's nice to be chosen for the list early in the season," Weaver said. "I hope I can play well for the team and be in the running for the award at the end of the year."
Cal will next play Feb. 20-22 at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate hosted by Hawai'i on the Arnold Palmer Course at the Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku on the North Shore of Oahu. The Bears are the two-time defending champions of the event and have 11 of their last 20 tournaments overall dating back to the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign while finishing in the top five in all 20. Cal remains one victory away in 2012-13 from equaling the school record of six tournament wins set last season.