The top-seeded Cal golf team set a course record to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the NCAA Pullman (Wash.) Regional at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
The Bears shot a 23-under par score of 265 and lead Saint Mary’s, which checked in at 267. The top five finishers qualify for the NCAA championships, May 28 through June 2 at Alpharetta, Ga.
“Yes, we want to win this tournament,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “But let’s not forget what the real goal is here, and that real goal is to finish in the top five and get to the NCAA Championship in Atlanta.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot for that, and if we can continue to do what we’ve done I like our chances. If we win even better, but let’s get to Atlanta. That’s the rallying cry.”
Cal, which has won 10 tournaments this season, got seven-under par scores of 65 from Joel Stalter and Michael Weaver. They are tied for third place.
The first-round leader is USC’s Sam Smith, who broke the course record with a 10-under par 62. Mac McClung of Saint Mary’s is second at 63.
Brandon Hagy shot a 66 for the Bears, Michael Kim had a 69 and Max Homa a 70.