Cal Men's Golf Finishes Seventh in Season Opener

Jan. 29, 2008

TUCSON, Ariz. - With four golfers finishing in the top 35, the California men's golf team earned a solid seventh-place finish at its season-opening tournament, the Arizona-PING Intercollegiate Men's Golf Tournament on Tuesday at the Arizona National Golf Club.

George Gandranata, who was red-hot, playing minus-seven golf through the first two rounds, cooled off for the final round to finish at a minus-one 212 to tie for 16th in the event, pacing the Golden Bears.

Tennessee captured the tournament championship with an 832 (-20), followed by UNLV (835, -17) and UCLA (847, -5). Host Arizona (848, -4) and East Tennessee State (855, +3) rounded out the top five. Cal tallied an 864 (+12), eight shots behind San Diego State which finished in sixth place in the 16-team field.

'It was a great field obviously,' Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. 'We knew we would have to play well to be competitive. Overall, it was a pretty solid performance. You're always disappointed when you don't win or finish in the top five. One of the keys today was we played a good solid final round. We didn't do that in the fall. That bodes well for us this spring.'

Cal shot a 286 (+2) for the final round, its top round of the tournament. It is just the second time in their last 12 events that the Bears closed with their best round of the tournament.

In Tuesday's final-round action, sophomore Andrey Mindirgasov and freshman Stephen Hale both had minus-one rounds of 70 to pace the Golden Bears. The pair finished tied for 35th overall at 220 (+7). Freshman Eric Mina was the most consistent Bear in the event, firing three straight 73's to finish at 219 (+6), tied for 31st place. Mina had 10 birdies over his three rounds, matching Gandranata for the team-best total. Senior Brandon Beck closed the tourney with his best round, a sold plus-two 73, tallying 15 pars in the round.

'We definitely had contributions across the board,' Desimone said. 'George's first two rounds really kept us going and the other four guys picked it up this afternoon. We had a good chat afterwards about we need to work on. We're still giving away too many shots in the short game - we're going to wear out our new facility in the next few months.'

Cal opened a state-of-the-art short-game facility last fall and has recently started extensive practice time there, which is expected to improve its scores across the board.

'We're all disappointed we didn't finish in the top five,' Desimone said. 'But hey, this is Eric Mina's fourth tournament; it's Stephen Hale's fifth; and Brandon Beck was out for a long time. Did we do some good things? Yes. Are we satisfied? No. It's a good stepping stone to be where we want to be, which is Purdue for the NCAA Championship.'

Cal returns to action in three weeks, playing in the John Burns Intercollegiate Tournament in Hawaii. The event opens on Feb. 20.

Arizona-PING Intercollegiate (Hosted by Arizona)
Arizona National Golf Club (Par 71, 6,793 yards)
Tucson, Ariz.
Team Place: 7th (of 16 teams)

Score: 288-290-286 - 864 (+12)

Individuals (through one round):
T16. George Gandranata: 69-66-77 - 212 (-1)
T31. Eric Mina: 73-73-73 - 219 (+6)
T35. Stephen Hale: 73-77-70 - 220 (+7)
T35. Andrey Mindirgasov: 73-77-70 - 220 (+7)
T60. Brandon Beck: 78-74-73 - 225 (+12)

Team Standings:
1. Tennessee: 272-277-283 - 832
2. UNLV: 278-282-275 - 835
3. UCLA: 290-285-272 - 847
4. Arizona: 281-275-292 - 848
5. East Tennessee State: 274-299-282 - 855
6. San Diego State: 290-286-280 - 856
7. California: 288-290-286 - 864
8. Texas: 303-284-279 - 866
9. New Mexico: 292-294-290 - 876
9. Washington: 284-301-291 - 876
11. BYU: 294-294-294 - 882
12. Nevada: 290-300-293 - 883
13. Arizona (B): 295-303-288 - 886
14. Georgia Southern: 291-302-294 - 887
14. UC Irvine: 285-293-309 - 887
16. Long Beach State: 302-320-304 - 926

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