Golf: Bears push Regional lead to 11 strokes

The top-ranked Golden Bears own an 11-stroke lead after Friday’s second round in the NCAA Pullman Regional at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club.

Cal (265-276-541) sits 35 strokes under par after 36 holes, well ahead of runnerup USC (272-280-552).

The third and final round is Saturday and Cal will be trying to win its 11th tournament of the season, which would set a modern NCAA record. The top five finishing teams advance to the NCAA championships, May 28 to June 2 at Alpharetta, Ga. 

“It’s a little bit like a broken record, but we had another great round today,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “I could even make the case that we played better today than we did yesterday when we set a school-record for our lowest round. The separation that we put between ourselves and the rest of the field make that point. It was fun to watch.”

Cal’s Michael Weaver (65-67-132) is alone in second place, six strokes behind USC’s Sam Smith (62-64-126). Joel Stalter (65-68-133) is one stroke behind his teammate in third.

Michael Kim (69-69-137) is tied for sixth, Brandon Hagy (66-73-139) is 12th and Max Homa (70-73-144) is 34th.


Golf: Golden Bears scorch course for record score in first round of NCAA Pullman regional

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.


Golf: Bears earn No. 1 NCAA regional seed

The No. 1-ranked Cal golf team was selected as the top seed in the 54-hole NCAA Pullman Regionals, May 16-18 in Pullman, Wash.

Cal is among 81 teams competing at six regional tournaments. The Pullman event will feature 14 schools, including No. 2 seed TCU. Also headed to Pullman are Saint Mary’s, Pacific, USC, BYU and San Diego State.

The Bears are playing in an NCAA regional for the seventh consecutive season.

“This is always the fun time of the year,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “You start with the conference championship, and we were successful there. As we now get to the NCAA Regional, we’re certainly not going to look past that. It will be very competitive. There are some really good teams in the regional. We’re going to have to be ready, and we’re going to have to play well.”

“We haven’t played the course before, but the one thing I’ve heard is that it’s a good, fair golf course,” Desimone added.

Cal has equaled the unofficial all-time NCAA victory record previously established by Oklahoma State in 1985-86 with victories in 10 of its first 12 tournaments in 2012-13. Most recently, the Bears defended their title at the Pac-12 Championship.


Golf: Three Bears named to play in Palmer Cup

Another big day for the top-ranked Cal golf team.

The Bears learned Monday they will be represented by three players at the Palmer Cup, putting the top collegiage golfers from the U.S. and Europe in a Ryder Cup-style event, June 7-9 at the Wilmington. Country Club in Wilmington, Del.

Michael Kim and Michael Weaver were selected to the 10-man U.S. squad and Joel Stalter, a native of Amneville, France, was chosen to the European team.

Cal coach Steve Desimone called the announcement “a great day for our program and certainly a wonderful day for our three players selected.”

He added, “It’s continued recognition of how well this team has played all year and the great play that all three of these players have produced throughout the season leading to us being the No. 1 team in the country. It’s a dream come true to represent your country.”

All three Cal players selected finished among the top six in the final Palmer Cup Ranking, also released Monday. The top six players for both Team USA and Team Europe in the Palmer Cup Ranking, which is in its first season of existence, automatically qualified for the Palmer Cup.

Kim was the No. 1 ranked player for Team USA, while Stalter and Weaver were both No. 6 for their respective squads. Weaver recently played in the Masters for the first time. Cal’s Brandon Hagy and Max Homa were also ranked on the Team USA list at No. 14 and No. 17, respectively.

Kim, a sophomore from Del Mar, is the nation’s No. 1 player in the latest rankings released by both Golfweek and Golfstat. He has been an individual medalist a school-record four times in 2012-13 and finished in the top 10 in all but one of his 11 regular-season events.

Cal has won a school-record nine tournaments in 11 tries this season, one shy of the unofficial NCAA record of 10 set by Oklahoma State in 1985-86.

The Bears’ next tournament is the Pac-12 Championships, April 29 through May 1 at the Los Angeles Country Club.


Golf: Michael Weaver’s birthday gift from Masters — the weekend off after failing to make cut

Cal junior golfer Michael Weaver told me last week there was just one thing he wanted for his 22nd birthday: A Saturday tee time at the Masters.

Weaver, who turned 22 today, won’t get his wish. He birdied two of the final four holes he played Friday and improved four strokes from the day before — but won’t make the cut.

The first Cal golfer to qualify for the Masters while a student at Berkeley, Weaver shot 78-74-152, finishing eight-over-par for two days. The cut line was being projected as 148.

Weaver needed a near miracle after his rough Thursday debut at Augusta, Ga., but had bogeys on two of the first three holes in round two. He carded two more bogeys through 14 before delivering birdies on Nos. 15 and 18 to finish with a flourish.


Golf: Rough day for Weaver at Masters

Cal junior Michael Weaver struggled to a six-over par 78 in the opening round of the Masters at Augusta National. Weaver is tied for 82nd place and fifth among the event’s six amateurs.

“It was fun being out there,” said Weaver, who will need a strong bounce-back round on his 22nd birthday Friday to make the cut for weekend play. “It was a little frustrating at times, but that’s the way it goes. I got off to a good start, which was nice and helped settle me down.

“But, I had a couple of bad mistakes and hit the ball in a few bad spots and my score added up pretty high in a hurry, unfortunately.”

“It was the first time a current Cal golfer has ever played in the Masters, so it was a special day and I know one that we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “All in all, it was a great day for Michael and a great day for Cal golf.”

Weaver, who qualified for the Masters by finishing second at the U.S. Amateur last summer, had two double-bogeys and only two birdies on Thursday.

He scored 6s on the par-4 third and 11th holes, and also bogeyed the fifth, eighth, 13th and 17th. Weaver already was six over after 13 holes.