Cal Men's Golf In Action at NCAA West Regional
May 16, 2007
BACK TO THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: The Golden Bear men's golf team is making its return to the NCAA Team Championship this weekend as Cal has been selected for the NCAA West Regional in Tempe, Ariz. This is Cal's ninth NCAA appearance in the last 11 years as well as the 12th overall regional appearance for the Golden Bears who are making their return to the NCAAs after not being selected the last two years.
THE EVENT: The NCAA West Regional is being hosted by Arizona State at Karsten Golf Course (par-72, 7,057 yards) in Tempe, Ariz., from May 17-19 (Thursday-Saturday). The teams will play three rounds each day with five golfers competing and the top four scores counting from each round. The top 10 teams and top two individuals not on those teams will advance to the 2007 NCAA Championships held in Williamsburg, Va., May 30-June 2 at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (hosted by Virginia Commonwealth). The Golden Bears already played one tournament at Karsten, competing in the Thunderbird Invitational from April 13-15. Live stats will be available at www.golfstat.com.
DEZ SAYS: After a long wait last Monday during the NCAA Selection announcement, head coach Steve Desimone was pleased with the good news: 'They read off the three regionals and the west was last and being seeded 21st, it wasn't comfortable waiting. But we're in and it sure feels good! I liked our chances when looking at districts and conference. We clearly have strongest conference in the country. Our first goal is to make the finals and then we'd like to play for it all again. When you look at how strong the west is, it will be a challenge, but we have three rounds to play and it feels great. I am so proud of the kids. They worked so hard all year; it's a great reward for them. I have no idea what will happen next week, but this team is definitely a group that deserved a real positive reward.'
BEAR LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order, with 2006-07 statistics) for the NCAA Western Regional is listed below.
|Player||Cl.||06-07 Rounds||Strokes||Avg.||Low||Top Finish|
LINEUP LOOK: The Golden Bear lineup for the NCAA Regionals will be anchored by the Jensen brothers as junior Michael Jensen, an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention selection, and freshman Chris Jensen, are in the top two slots. Junior Brandon Beck, who debuited this spring at the Pac-10 Championships, remains in the lineup, while senior Michael Wilson, the lone holdover from Cal's 2004 National Championship squad, will also be in action. Roudning out the lineup is sophomore George Gandranata, a tremendous all-around competitor.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: The NCAA West Regional field features 27 teams, including four squads (Stanford, USC, UCLA, UNLV) ranked in the top nine in the country and seven ranked in the top 20. The Golden Bears are the 21st seed in the event. Stanford has the top seed, despite losing to USC in the Pac-10 Championship. Other conference champions in the field are: East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), BYU (Mountain West), UC Irvine (Big West), Pepperdine (West Coast Conference), Nevada (WAC), Penn (Ivy), Detroit (Horizon), Bucknell (Patriot) and Monmouth (Northeast).
FAMILIAR FACES: Cal is making its second trip to Karsten Golf Course this weekend. The Golden Bears finished 10th in the Thunderbird Invitational at Karsten from Apr. 13-15. Freshman Chris Jensen (72-71-73 - 219) paced the Golden Bears with a 219 (72-71-73) as he tied for 23rd place. Junior Michael Jensen (70-71-78) and sophomore George Gandranata (72-72-75) both tied for 44th place at 219.
FULL FIELD WITH NOTES: Here is the look at the full field by seed:
1. Stanford, #2 ranked by Golfweek, 6-time NCAA champion with last coming in 1994
2. UCLA, #8, 1988 national champion
3. UNLV, #9, 1998 national champion
4. USC, #5, 2007 Pacific-10 Conference champion
5. East Tennessee State, #13, 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference
6. Brigham Young, #15, 2007 Mountain West Conference
7. Arizona State, #19, 1990 and 1996 national champion
8. Wake Forest, #21, 1974, 1975 and 1986 national champion
9. Arizona, #22, 1992 national champion
10. UC Irvine, #38, 2007 Big West Conference champion
11. South Carolina, #33, best NCAA championship finish was eighth in 1988
12. Washington, #35, finished third at 2005 NCAA Championship
13. Vanderbilt, #46, advanced to NCAA championship twice (2003 and 2004)
14. Augusta State, #40
15. Pepperdine, #41, 2007 West Coast Conference, 1997 national champion
16. San Diego State, #48, last NCAA championship appearance was in 2005
17. New Mexico, #52, 39 appearances in NCAA championship
18. Oregon State, #60, last made NCAA championship in 2001
19. Colorado State, #65, only NCAA championship was in 1999
20. Oregon, #57, last NCAA championship was in 2003
21. California, #54, 2004 NCAA champion, ninth NCAA appearance in last 11 years
22. Nevada, #83, 2007 Western Athletic Conference champion, made NCAA championships in 1989, 1990 and 2006
23. Denver #81, trying for first NCAA championship since 1960
24. Pennsylvania, #165, 2007 Ivy Group champion, three NCAA championship appearances (1947, 1948 and 1965)
25. Detroit, #179, 2007 Horizon League champion, three NCAA championship appearances (1947, 1951, 1955)
26. Bucknell, #229, 2007 Patriot League champion, two NCAA championship appearances (1957 and 1961)
27. Monmouth, #249, 2007 Northeast Conference champion, trying for first NCAA championship
PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP: Playing in one the top conference championship fields in the nation, the California men's golf team slipped to ninth place after the final round of action at the Pac-10 Championships at Eugene Country Club. Junior Michael Jensen was the Golden Bears' top finisher in the tournament, while senior Michael Wilson recorded Wednesday's top round with a two-under 70.
USC captured the team title with a dominant performance, recording a scorching score of 1389, 51 shots below par. The Trojans had the top three rounds of the tournament at 342, 344 and 345, the only team to shoot better than 353 all week. UCLA had a strong effort as well, taking second place with a 1425 (-15). Arizona State (1433, -7), Stanford (1436, -4) and Washington (1453, +13) rounded out the top five.
'This was a microcosm of the season,' Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. 'The last five holes, we couldn't keep the ball out of the water, we didn't take advantage of the par fives. We were looking at possibly sixth and fell to ninth in an hour and 15 minutes. I challenged the kids last night; we all felt we were up to the task. At some point, we have to play a final round. Coming up short in a situation like that in another final round, this is as somber as this group's been.'
Michael Jensen, who had a team-best 68 in the second round, logged a three-over 75 in Wednesday's final round to finish at 291 overall (+3), tied for 28th place. Freshman Chris Jensen, Michael's younger brother, also tallied a 75 on Wednesday, as he finished tied for 31st place with a 293 (+5).
Andrey Mindirgasov, the third freshman in the lineup for the young Golden Bears, posted Cal's fourth 75 of the day on Wednesday to finish at 298 (+10). Wilson, meanwhile, paced the Bears in the final round with a minus-two 70, despite a pair of double bogeys. The lone senior on the roster, Wilson finished his final Pac-10 Tournament with a 300 (+12).
THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL: Freshman Chris Jensen, playing in his first spring tournament for the California men's golf team, led the Golden Bears with an even-par 216 as Cal placed 10th in the 16-team field at the 35th annual Thunderbird Invitational hosted by Arizona State University at Karsten Golf Course. Jensen shot a one-over 73 in Sunday's final round to follow up a 72 and a 71 in the opening two rounds as he finished in a tie for 23rd overall. Junior Michael Jensen, the older brother of Chris, and sophomore George Gandranata each finished with 219's (tied for 44th). Jensen was leading the Bears after two rounds at 141, but slid to a 78 in Sunday's final round. Gandranata shot a 75 on Sunday after opening the tourney with back-to-back par rounds. Freshman Andrey Mindirgasov and senior Michael Wilson both tied for 69th place with 225's, Wilson fired a 74 on Sunday to climb up a few slots, while Mindirgasov had a 77.
SECOND PLACE AT THE WESTERN: The Golden Bears jumped all the way from seventh place to second place in the final round of the 61st annual Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Course for their top finish of the season. Junior Michael Jensen registered a round-three 68 to finish with a one-under 209 to climb to fifth place among individuals, the top finish of his collegiate career. Senior Michael Wilson was the second-place finisher for the Bears, sandwiching a 70 between a pair of 73's to finish at 216 and tied for 17th place. Sophomore George Gandranata tied for 36th place with a 200.
AT THE USC COLLEGIATE: Freshman Andrey Mindirgasov fired a plus-three 216 to tie for 15th place as he led the Golden Bears to a seventh-place finish at the USC Collegiate Invitational on Mar. 5 & 6. Mindirgasov was plus-two after the front nine on Tuesday, but then connected on three birdies with just one bogey on the back nine to come in at even par. In the opening round, the freshman had fired a two-under 69. Sophomore George Gandranata was the next top finisher for the Bears, tallying an eight-over 221 in the three rounds. Junior Kent Yamane had opened the event with a first-round 70, but slipped to a nine-over 222 to finish tied for 39th place.
ISLAND GOLF: Junior Michael Jensen had his fourth career top-10 finish to lead the California men's golf team to an 11th-place finish at the John Burns Intercollegiate men's golf tournament at the Leilehua Golf Course in Hawaii from Feb. 21-23. Freshman Evan Derian and sophomore George Gandranata each finished at 219 for the Bears, tying for 52nd overall. Junior Kent Yamane fired a 72 in the final round to complete his recovery from a tough opening round. His 145 over the final two rounds was tied for the second-best on the team, though his opening round 82 dropped him to a final total of 227. Senior Michael Wilson finished with a three-round 225.
SPRING OPENER: The Golden Bears opened the PING/Arizona Intercollegiate slow, shooting a 301 on day one, but rebounded with rounds of 286 and 278 to climb to 11th place in the 16-team field. Cal's round three score was the second-best round of the day. The 564 over the last two rounds was the fifth-best effort in the tournament. UNLV won the event with an 829.
FALL RECAP: The Golden Bears played five fall tournaments, highlighted by a victory in the Alister MacKenzie Invitational (second year in a row winning the event). George Gandranata led the team with a 12-round average of 71.7 while Michael Jensen was just behind at 72.2. Junior Brandon Beck had a solid fall with a 72.4 over nine rounds and Michael Wilson averaged a 73.0, including the individual title at the MacKenzie. Newcomer Andrey Mindirgasov was impressive in his debut, averaging a 73.1, including a low round of 67 at the MacKenzie.