Golf: Bears move into NCAA semifinals

Top-seeded Cal advanced to the semifinal round of the NCAA golf championships on Friday with a 3-2 match play win over Pac-12 rival Arizona State at the Capital City Club in suburban Atlanta.

The Bears, who have won 11 of 13 tournaments this season, face No. 5 Illinois in Saturday’s semifinals. Illinois knocked off fourth-seeded and defending national champion Texas 3-2.

Cal got victories from Max Homa — coming off his NCAA individual title on Thursday — Joel Stalter and Brandon Hagy.

Homa defeated Trey Ka’ahanui 3 and 2, Stalter defeated Max Rottluff 1 up, and Hagy beat John Rahm 2 up.

Michael Weaver lost on the 19th hole to ASU’s Austin Quick, and Michael Kim, the nation’s top-ranked collegiate golfer at season’s end, fell 1 up to Spencer Lawson.

Cal reached the NCAA semifinals last year before losing to Alabama.

In the other quarterfinal matches, No. 2 Georgia Tech beat UNLV 3-2 and No. 3 Alabama handled New Mexico 4-1.


Golf: Max Homa wins NCAA individual title, Golden Bears earn top seed for match play

Max Homa became Cal’s first individual NCAA golf champion and the top-ranked Golden Bears earned the No. 1 seed entering Friday’s quarterfinal round of match play at Capital City Club in suburban Atlanta.

Homa (70-65-66 – 201), a senior from Valencia, birdied three of his first five holes Thursday, led most of the round and finished nine-under par after a bogey-free round.  

Cal (277-272-275 – 824, -16) posted the lowest team score at the end of 54 holes of stroke play and will play No. 8 seed Arizona State in the first of four quarterfinals Friday beginning at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT.

Also advancing to the quarterfinals are No. 2 Georgia Tech, No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Texas, the defending NCAA champion. Match play runs through Sunday, when the national team champion is crowned.

Brandon Hagy (66-69-70 – 205) finished five under and in a tie for eighth place. Sophomore Michael Kim, (72-70-70 – 212) the nation’s top-ranked player entering the NCAAs, and Joel Stalter (69-68-75 – 137) finished in a tie for 75th and Michael Weaver , 



Golf: Top-seeded Bears climb to 2nd at NCAAs

Top-seeded Cal moved from fifth place to second after Day 2 of stroke play at the NCAA championships at the Capital City Club in suburban Atlanta.

The Bears (277-272-549) sit at 11-under par entering Thursday’s final 18 holes of stroke play. Cal trails Georgia Tech by one stroke.

The top eight teams after Thursday’s round qualify for the quarterfinals of match play, beginning Friday. Cal has an 11-stroke margin over the current ninth-place team, Central Florida.

Three Cal players broke par Wednesday, led by Max Homa (70-65-135), whose five-under 65 tied for the best round by a Cal golfer at an NCAA tournament. Homa and Brandon Hagy (66-69-135) are tied for fourth place.

Joel Stalter (69-68-137) is at three under and tied for 16th place.

Top-ranked Michael Kim (72-70-142) is tied for 58th place and Michael Weaver (74-71-145) is tied for 97th place.

“When I woke up this morning if you would have told me we were going to shoot somewhere around seven, eight or nine-under par I would have said that’s the best thing going,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “When we were way up after 13 holes it was party time, but now it’s root canal.

“There’s a lot of golf left with a lot of great teams right behind us. We put ourselves in a real good position but this thing is not a done deal.”



Football: Sonny Dykes’ Aug. 31 opener vs. Northwestern set for 7:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2

New Cal coach Sonny Dykes’ Aug. 31 debut vs. Northwestern at Memorial Stadium has been set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be shown on ESPN2.

The Pac-12 announced TV information on the season’s first four games.

Here’s the rest of what we know about Cal’s dates:

— Sept. 7 vs. Portland State, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

— Sept. 14 vs. Ohio State, 4 p.m., Fox national

— Sept. 28 at Oregon, Pac-12 Networks, time TBA

Television selections and start times for the remainder of the schedule will be announced either six or 12 days in advance of each game.


Golf: Bears fifth after Day 1 at NCAAs

The top-seeded Golden Bears sit in fifth place after the first day of stroke play at the NCAA Championships at the Capital City Club in suburban Atlanta.

Cal shot a three-under par 277 and is seven strokes behind surprise first-round leader Arizona State, which is rated No. 38 nationally by GolfStat. The Sun Devils have a four-stroke lead over second-place Georgia Tech, with Alabama and Illinois five and six strokes back, respectively.

The teams will continue stroke play Wednesday and Thursday with the top eight after 54 holes advancing to the quarter-final round of match play, starting Friday. 

Brandon Hagy led the Bears with a four-under par 66 — the lowest round by a Cal golfer at the NCAAs since Jeff Hood had an opening-round 65 in 2004, the year the Bears won their only national championship.

Joel Stalter had a one-under 69 and Max Homa checked in with an even-par 70. Top-ranked Michael Kim carded a 72 and Michael Weaver, who played at the Masters this spring, had a birdie-free 74.


Football: Cal signee Muhammad blazes in SoCal

Cal football signee Khalfani Muhammad had another spectacular day on the track for Notre Dame HS of Sherman Oaks.

The senior two-sport star won both sprint events at the CIF Southern Section Masters meet at Cerritos College on Friday night in times that were spectacular, albeit wind-aided.

Muhammad, who will play running back for the Bears next fall, repeated as 100-meter champion, running 10.22 seconds, backed by a wind of 2.1 meters per second — barely over the allowable limit of 2.0. His time, while not eligible for record purposes, was faster than the Southern Section mark of 10.25 set by Hawthorne’s Henry Thomas in 1984.

It’s also faster than any wind-legal time run by a prep sprinter in the country this season, according to the website Dyestat.com.  Only five sprinters nationwide have run faster this season under any conditions.

In the 200, Muhammad ran a wind-legal 20.73 to break his own school record. It was the third-fastest legal time in the country this season by a high school runner and the fastest mark by a San Fernando Valley spring since 1987, when future Olympian Quincy Watts ran 20.50.

How fast are his times?

Consider that Muhammad’s 10.22 — if wind-legal — would rank No. 2 on Cal’s all-time career list for the 100. His 20.73 mark in the 200 would sit at No. 3 all-time.  

Muhammad will be the favorite in both events next weekend at the CIF State Meet in Clovis, where he will attempt to defend his titles in the two sprint races.

“I like being the favorite because there’s more pressure and that brings out the best in me,” Muhammad told the Los Angeles Times.

It  will be interesting to see how Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin can utilize the speed that Muhammad and Brendan Bigelow bring to the field.

And whether Dykes will let Muhammad find his way to Edwards Stadium to run track for the Bears.


Track: Bears’ Stewart earns NCAA bid

Senior Ray Stewart breezed to qualification for the NCAA track and field championships, winning his heat and posting the day’s fourth-fastest time at the NCAA West Preliminary meet at Austin, Texas.

Stewart, from James Logan HS and Merritt College, ran 13.65 seconds for the second-fastest wind-legal time of the day.

Senior Amanda Hunter qualified in the women’s triple jump with a wind-aided mark of 42 feet, 8 inches for 10th place. The top 12 qualified for the NCAA championships, June 5-8.  Earlier, Hunter also qualified in the long  jump.

Cal’s 4×100 men’s relay team of Julius Travis, Tom Blocker, Dash Oliver and Stewart ran fourth in 40.58, but moved up to third and a qualifying bid when Texas A&M was disqualified.



Golf: Cal hopes to create legacy at NCAAs

The Cal men’s golf team, seeded No. 1 for the NCAA championships that begin Tuesday in suburban Atlanta, is the overwhelming favorite to win its second title in nine years.

But is there a special legacy awaiting the Golden Bears if they can walk away with the crown next Sunday?

Could they be considered the greatest collegiate golf team ever?

Junior Michael Weaver said winning next week “would put an exclamation point” on the Bears’ season. “There wouldn’t be any doubt we’re the best team they’ve ever seen.”

Perhaps it’s not that clear-cut, but the growing mountain of evidence is compelling:

— The Bears’ 11 tournament victories eclipsed the unofficial NCAA “modern-era” record of 10 since regional qualifying was added in 1988.

 — Their record against NCAA Division I opponents in 13 tournaments is a combined 173-3-1, and they won their 11 titles by an average margin of 14.72 strokes.

— In the two tournaments they didn’t win, the Bears finished second and third, falling short by a total of four strokes.

— All five Cal golfers have won at least once tournament title, topped by sophomore Michael Kim’s four victories.

“I kind of shake my head, like you’ve got to be kidding me,” Steve Desimone, in his 34th year as Cal’s coach, said of his team’s performance.

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Here’s a breakdown of Cal’s top five golfers, with Golf Week national ranking in parenthesis:

— Michael Kim (1): Average 18-hole score 70.1, 4 tournament wins, 6 top-5 finishes.
— Joel Stalter (13): Average 18-hole score 70.7, 2 wins, 4 top-5 finishes.
— Michael Weaver (16): Average 18-hole score 70.9, 1 win, 6 top-5 finishes.
— Max Homa (20): Average 18-hole score 70.8, 1 win, 5 top-5 finishes.
— Brandon Hagy (23): Average 18-hole score 71.0, 1 win, 5 top-5 finishes.


Cal is favored to become the ninth Bay Area team to win the NCAA golf championship. Here are the first eight to do it:
1939: Stanford-x
1942: Stanford-y
1946: Stanford
1948: San Jose State
1953: Stanford
1994: Stanford
2004: Cal
2007: Stanford
x — The first official NCAA golf championship
y — Stanford shared title with LSU