Golf: Cal seeded No. 5 for NCAA championships

Cal’s golf team, making its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA championships, was seeded No. 5 among 40 teams for the event that begins Friday at Prairie Dunes Country Club at Hutchinson, Kansas.

Cal will be grouped with No. 4 Georgia Tech and No. 6 Georgia for 54 holes of stroke play, beginning Friday and running though Sunday.

The top 40 individuals and ties at the conclusion of 54 holes of stroke play will move on to a fourth round of stroke play action Monday to determine the NCAA individual medalist title that was won last season by Cal senior and current professional Max Homa.

The top eight teams at the end of 54 holes of stroke play will advance to one of four match-play quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday with seedings based on 54-hole team stroke play scores.


Golf: Bears earn 5th straight NCAA qualification

The Cal golf team has advanced to the NCAA Championships for the fifth straight season.

The top-seeded and No. 4 nationally ranked Bears (305-288-303 – 896, +32) finished tied for fourth at the NCAA Sugar Grove Regional at the par-72, 7,151-yard Rich Harvest Farms.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” coach Steve Desimone said. “I think survive is the right word. This could have ended in a really tough way.”

Brandon Hagy (73-72-74 – 219, +3) led Cal with a fifth-place finish that was the third top-five NCAA Regional finish of his career. He was one of three Cal players to come through with both a birdie on 17 and a par on 18.

Illinois won the regional title with a score of 880.


Golf: Steve Desmione named natl coach of year

Cal coach Steve Desimone was named the winner of the Dave Williams Award as the national men’s golf coach of the year Friday by the Golf Coaches Association of America.  Eaton Golf Pride will present the award December 9 during the Hall of Fame Banquet at the GCAA Convention.

Desimone was also named the Eaton Golf Pride West Region Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Desimone won the national award after his team set a modern-era NCAA record with 12 victories in 14 stroke-play events and finished the season ranked as the No. 1 team nationally in the final Golfstat and Golfweek polls released after the NCAA Championship despite being defeated by Illinois in the match-play semifinals of the NCAA’s.

“I’m honored and humbled to win such a wonderful award,” Desimone said. “This goes directly back to the players for all of their hard work and being such an incredible part of the team. Many people are involved when somebody wins a coach of the year award.

“Our players, associate head coach Walter Chun and the Cal Golf Committee are all a huge part of this award. This is not just an award for me but an award for every one of us involved with our program. This is about as special as it can get, and in many respects, it’s the culmination of the greatest season in the history of college golf.”


Golf: Homa and Kim join Weaver in U.S. Open

Cal will have three players in the June 13-16 U.S. Open at Ardmore, Pa., after Max Homa and Michael Kim earned spots in Monday qualifying. They will join Michael Weaver, who received an exemption for entry into the field following his runnerup finish in the 2012 U.S. Amateur.

“This is a great day for Cal golf,” coach Steve Desimone said. “I don’t know if any school has ever had three players from the same team in the U.S. Open. What a statement. This is such a spectacular achievement.

“It’s a continuation of this great season. I couldn’t be happier for these guys. They’ve worked so hard and earned every bit of this. All I know is we’re going to have another Cal reunion next week at Merion.”

Cal won 11 of 13 tournaments this season to enter last week’s NCAA Championships as the No. 1 seed, then bowed out in the semifinals.

“If we needed something to salve the wounds [from losing in the NCAA semifinals] this does it,” Desimone added.

Kim was the co-medalist at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground, Ga., earning one of three U.S. Open spots in a field of 51.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to qualify for the U.S. Open,” Kim said. “To be playing in the same tournament with players like Tiger (Woods) and Phil (Mickleson) is just awesome,” Kim said. “I can’t wait to get to the tournament. This is a dream come true.”

Homa prevailed in a three-way playoff for the final two spots and ended in a tie for fourth from a field of 102 playing at Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club in Newport Beach.

Golf: No. 1 Bears stunned in NCAA semifinals

Top-seeded Cal’s dreams of a national championship were derailed in semifinals of NCAA tournament match play on Saturday, as 15th-seeded Illinois posted a 3-2 upset victory over the Bears.

Cal had hoped to complete a spectacular season in which it had won 11 of 13 previous tournaments, including both the Pac-12 and NCAA regional events. Instead, the Bears bowed out in the semifinals for the second straight season.

The Illini will meet No. 2-seeded Alabama in the final Sunday morning.

Illinois’ Thomas Pieters clinched a 1-up victory on the 20th hole with a par. Cal’s Max Homa, the tournament medalist, made bogey when his 8-foot par putt missed to the left of the hole.

Michael Weaver got a win for Cal with a 1 up verdict over Thomas Detry. Brandon Hagy also prevailed, beating Alex Burge 4 and 3.

The Illini’s other wins came courtesy of Brian Campbell, who scored a 2 and 1 win over Michael Kim, and Charlie Danielson, who beat Joel Stalter 3 and 2.

Alabama defeated host Georgia Tech 3-0-2 in the other semifinal. Alabama will make its second consecutive trip to the final match; the Crimson Tide lost to Texas in the championship last year.


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: 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.


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



Golf: Cal roars to record victory at NCAA regional, Weaver rallies to share medalist honors

Cal’s top-ranked men’s golf team completed its wire-to-wire victory at the NCAA Pullman Regional, winning a modern NCAA-record 11th tournament this season. Leading the way was junior Michael Weaver, who played the Masters earlier this spring and Saturday rallied to earn a share of medalist honors.

The Bears (265-276-280-821) finished 43 strokes under par and beat runnerup Texas Christian by 20 strokes at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club. Saint Mary’s was third, USC fourth.

Cal previously shared the NCAA record of 10 tournament titles with the 1985-86 Oklahoma State team.

“I’ve been doing this for 34 years and there’s never been a team that’s been close to this,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said about the record. “There are a lot of reasons for it but primarily it has happened because these guys have understood all along what was out there for us and they’ve worked so hard. They are the epitome of a team.”

As one of the top five finishing teams at the Regionals, Cal advances to the NCAA Championships, May 28 through June 2 at Alpharetta, Ga.

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