Hale Moves Up To First for Cal Men's Golf

Feb. 21, 2008

HONOLULU - California's Stephen Hale proved his personal-best 67 was no fluke on Wednesday as the freshman matched that score on Thursday to move up to a tie for first-place after the second round of the John Burns Intercollegiate at Leilelua Golf Course on the island of Oahu. The Golden Bears moved up two spots into a tie for seventh place. The event wraps up on Friday with the final round of action beginning at 8 a.m.

Auburn leads the tournament with a 551 (-25), followed by UNLV (554, -22) and Texas A&M (555, -21). SMU (556, -20) and San Diego State (560, -16) round out the top five, while Arizona is at 561 (-15). Cal and Fresno State are tied for seventh at 562 (-14).

'We wanted to improve on where we were and we met that goal,' Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. 'Our short games were pretty good today, but we didn't make a lot of putts; if we hit some putts tomorrow, anything is possible. Overall, it's a great field and it was an impressive round for us. Everybody was playing well all day. The guys did a great job. We played the par fives really well; that went a long way towards a great round.'

Hale, playing in his sixth career collegiate tournament, continued his outstanding rookie season. He actually went into his final hole with the overall lead, but a bogey dropped him into a tie for first. In addition, another freshman, Eric Mina, notched his personal-best round, firing a minus-three 69 to climb to 61st place overall.

'Stephen had a great round,' Desimone said. 'He bogeyed his last hole, but he had good shots, just some bad luck. He was very close to a perfect round. Any time you're tied for the lead in a field like this, you know you're playing well. Eric hit the ball pretty well yesterday but had a couple of bad breaks. He was solid all day today, hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens.'

Junior George Gandranata tallied his seventh below-par round of the year with a minus-two 70 to improve to a 142 overall, tied for 41st place. Senior Brandon Beck had his best round of the spring with a 72 and sophomore Evan Derian notched a 74.

'All five guys were in the running until the last two holes when we had a couple of bogeys,' Desimone said. 'We were hanbing around 8, 9, 10, 11 under-par throughout. The wind picked up so it wasn't as easy coming in. If you told me we would be 10-under before the day started, I would have said, `let's go for it.''

Hale's overall score of 134 puts him in a tie with Johann Carlsson from San Diego State, who followed Wednesday's 66 with a 68 on Thursday.

'Tomorrow, I'd like to build on what we've been doing,' Desimone said. 'If we're going to move up, we'll have to shot 10, 11, 12 under. There are too many good teams and too many good players to improve without being at your best. We'll have to match what we did today and that will be a challenge.'

CALIFORNIA SCORING
John Burns Intercollegiate (Hosted by Hawaii)
Leilulua Golf Course (Par 72, 6,916 yards)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Team Place: T7th (of 21 teams)

Score: 284-278 - 562 (-14)

Individuals (through one round):
T1. Stephen Hale: 67-67 - 134 (-10)
T41. George Gandranata: 72-70 - 142 (-2)
T52. Evan Derian: 70-74 - 144 (E)
T61. Eric Mina: 76-69 - 145 (+1)
T72. Brandon Beck: 75-72 - 147 (+3)

Team Standings:
1. Auburn: 278 (-10)
2. UNLV: 279 (-9)
3. Texas A&M: 281 (-7)
4. SMU: 279 (-9)
5. San Diego State: 278 (-10)
6. Arizona: 278 (-10)
7. California: 284 (-4)
7. Fresno State: 283 (-5)
9. Arkansas: 286 (-2)
10. BYU: 291 (+3)
11. UC Santa Barbara: 288 (E)
11. UTEP: 281 (-7)
13. Denver: 286 (-2)
14. Long Beach State: 289 (+1)
15. Nevada: 292 (+4)
15. San Diego: 295 (+7)
17. San Jose State: 288 (E)
18. Hawaii: 292 (+4)
18. New Mexico: 290 (+2)
20. Nagoya: 287 (-1)
21. Utah: 291 (+3)

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