Another Strong Day Not Enough For Cal Men's Golf at Regionals
May 19, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. - Following the second round of the NCAA West Regional Men's Golf Championship, California head coach Steve Desimone said his team may need its best round of the year on the final day in order to advance to nationals due to the strength of the tournament field. Though the Golden Bears responded with another excellent performance, shooting a seven-under 281 on Saturday, it was not enough to advance following day three of the event at Karsten Golf Course.
Cal's three rounds of 280, 282 and 281 are all among its top scores of the season while its final total of 843 is its best tournament of the spring by 21 strokes. However, the Golden Bears were just five strokes from cracking the top 10 to advance to the 2007 NCAA Championships.
'We made some mistakes, some critical mistakes,' Desimone said. 'This is a group of very, very disappointed Golden Bears right now. We were that close. To get this close and get denied, no question, it's a tough afternoon. It will be a tough off-season.
'But, having said that, this was our best tournament of the year; we had excellent decision-making and strong execution. This team has grown by leaps and bounds. I am so proud of them. They worked hard all year. No team could give me more than these guys today. We may not have made it, but this is a day I will never forget. We came in as long shots, but we knew that we had a chance. We really thought we would be heading on and we gave it a heck of a run.'
Michael Jensen was the Golden Bears' top finisher for the fifth time in seven spring tournaments. The junior closed his season with a three-under 69, following up rounds of 66 and 71 for an overall 206 and a chance to advance to nationals as an individual. He had 15 birdies in his three rounds, including four on Saturday with just one bogey.
'Michael's had a great year,' Desimone said. 'He's playing better and better. His confidence keeps increasing and experience is such an important factor. I think we'll see him as one of the top players in the county in the future.'
Brandon Beck may have been the surprise of the tournament. Seeing action in just his second spring event, the junior opened with a 71, then improved to 68 before closing it off with a 69 to finish at minus-eight 208, tied for 27th place. He had a pair of eagles in the tournament, both on the par-five, 500-yard fifth hole, which he also birdied.
In addition, Michael Wilson, the lone senior and holdover from Cal's 2004 National Championship team, fired a 70 on Saturday to finish at an even-par 216 in his final career tournament. The veteran matched a Cal school record this year by winning his third individual tournament.
'I was happy to see Michael Wilson finish at 71-70,' Desimone said. 'He saved his best for last today. If he's going to go out, this is the way to do it. He was already leaving with a great legacy here. He certainly cemented that these last couple of days.'
While there were still teams finishing their rounds as of 2 p.m., South Carolina appeared to have captured the NCAA West Regional Championship with an overall 820 (-44), firing a 10-under 278 on Saturday to overtake UCLA, which finished in second at 822 (-42). UCS (824) and Arizona State tied for third place and Vanderbilt (826) jumped to fifth place with the best round of the day at 267.
Rounding out the qualifiers for the National Championships were Arizona, Stanford, New Mexico, UNLV and East Tennessee State.
NCAA West Regional (Hosted by Arizona State)
Karsten Golf Course (Par 72, 7,033 yards)
Team Place: TBD (final)
Score: 280-282-281 - 843 (-21)
Individuals (placing not final):
T16. Michael Jensen: 66-71-69 - 206 (-10)
T27. Brandon Beck: 71-68-69 - 208 (-8)
T82. Michael Wilson: 75-71-70 - 216 (E)
T96. George Gandranata: 70-75-73 - 218 (+2)
T96. Chris Jensen: 73-72-73 - 218 (+2)
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