Nov. 21, 2012
BERKELEY - Sophomore Michael Kim is the second-ranked player in the nation according to the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and therefore the No. 2 player listed on the organization's Watch List for the Haskins Award given annually to the top player in men's collegiate golf.
Kim had a banner fall that included being named the Pac-12 Men's Golfer of the Month for October for the first time in his career and winning his first collegiate tournament at the prestigious Isleworth Collegiate Invitational (67-72-73 - 212, -4) in the team's final event of the fall, pulling off a clutch second shot out of a fairway bunker on the 18th hole of the third and final round to save par and hang on to a one-stroke individual win and two-shot team victory.
Kim finished the fall campaign with a team-low 70.1 stroke average, posted top-10 performances in each of the team's five events, and three times was either the team's top finisher or shared the honor. In addition to his victory at Isleworth, Kim tied for second at the Gopher Invitational (71-72-71 - 214, -2), tied fifth at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational (64-71-69 - 204, -9), tied for sixth at the Pac-12 Preview (71-69-70 - 210, -6) and tied for 10th at the PING/Golfweek Preview (73-68-70 - 211, +1). He was Cal's top player at Isleworth and the Pac-12 Preview, while tying for the team's best score at the Gopher Invitational. Kim also posted the lowest round of his collegiate career with a seven-under 64 in the first round of the MacKenzie.
Kim finished the fall with a 68.48 rating according to Golfweek. His overall record of 331-19-4 against individual opponents gave him more victories than any other player in the country, while he also posted the highest win totals in the nation against top-25 (27-8-1), top-50 (45-13-1) and top-100 (82-15-1) competition.
"He is such a complete player from his great swing to his solid short game and, of course, his tremendous putting," head coach Steve Desimone said. "There just aren't any real weaknesses. A year ago, Michael was a bit short with most of his clubs but he's added distance. He's not going to wow anybody with his length, but it's more than adequate now. His victory at Isleworth is testament to that. The last two key components are his ability to manage both his game and his temperament. He makes very good decisions on the golf course and he never lets a bad shot carry over to the next one. He knows how to play the game and, given his age, should only get better."
The Bears finished the fall as the top-ranked team in all three major national polls - Golf World/Nike Golf, Golfweek and Golfstat - after winning or sharing the title in each of their five fall events for the first time in school history. Cal is already within one victory of the school-record six events won by the 2011-12 team. Dating back through all of the 2011-12 season, Cal has won 11 of its last 19 events and finished in the top five in all 19. The Bears reached the NCAA semifinals a year ago after winning their first Pac-12 Championship and NCAA Regional team titles along the way.
Cal will return to action January 28-29 for the first tournament of the spring portion of its 2012-13 schedule with the Arizona Intercollegiate at Arizona National in Tucson.