Team Effort Lifts Golden Bears to Fifth-Place Finish

March 4, 2008

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. - Senior Brandon Beck tallied a 14th place finish to pace four Cal men's golfers in the top-25 as the Golden Bears earned fifth place in the USC Collegiate Invitational on Tuesday at North Ranch Country Club. The Bears shot a final round 292, the third-best round of the day on Tuesday, to climb three spots for their third top-five effort of the year.

'Most importantly, we continue to improve and play really well in final rounds,' Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. 'Good teams and good players have to put up good numbers in final rounds. This is the third straight time we have. The kids are feeling it; they know they're doing a great job. I challenged them all last night and they all responded. We would have loved to have won, but we're doing a lot of good things.'

Host USC won the event with a three-round total of 885 (+33), followed closely by Tennessee (889, +37). Stanford (890, +38) and Pepperdine (898, +46) were the only other teams ahead of the Golden Bears, who tallied a three-round 899 (+47). Cal finished ahead of Pac-10 rivals Washington, Oregon State and Oregon. The Bears' score over the final two round score of 589 was tied with Pepperdine for the third-best in the tournament

'We gave a very solid effort,' Desimone said. 'Three of the teams that beat us are in the top-10 and Pepperdine was playing one of its home courses. We beat a number of ranked teams and highly respected programs; it was the strongest field we have played in this year.'

Beck improved in each round of the tournament for the third straight time this year, shooting an opening round 77 in extremely windy conditions, followed by a 74 and then a 73, to tie for 14th overall at 224 (+11). Freshman Stephen Hale was just behind Beck, closing the event with a pair of 72's to finish at 225 (+12), tied for 18th place. Hale and Beck both had four birdies in the final round; Hale's nine in the full tournament paced Cal.

Sophomore Evan Derian tied for 20th place overall at 226 (+13), while freshman Eric Mina had another solid performance, shooting a three-round 227 (+14) to tie for 25th place. Junior George Gandranata registered a 232 (+19) to tie for 45th place overall.

'We had everybody contributing once again,' Desimone said. 'The winds were 25-40 miles per hour yesterday; this course was set up really hard, very firm with very hard greens and the rough was up. In those type of conditions, you need all five guys in each round. We went up against a great field and we slugged it out. If you look at our progression: seventh in Arizona, sixth in Hawaii, and now fifth, all against very good fields, we're definitely moving in the right direction; we're gaining confidence. We can see the improvement. When we needed to hit some shots and make putts, we did it.'

Cal returns to action next week, opening the Fresno State Classic on Monday, March 10.

USC Collegiate Invitational (Hosted by USC)
North Ranch Country Club (Par 71, 6,869 yards)
Westlake Village, Calif.
Team Place: 8th (of 14 teams)

Score: 310-297-292 - 899 (+47)

Individuals (through two rounds):
T14. Brandon Beck: 77-74-73 - 224 (+11)
T18. Stephen Hale: 81-72-72 - 225 (+12)
T20. Evan Derian: 72-78-76 - 226 (+13)
T25. Eric Mina: 80-74-73 - 227 (+14)
T45. George Gandranata: 81-77-74 - 232 (+19)

Team Standings (through two rounds):
1. USC: 284-307-294 - 885 (+33)
2. Tennessee: 318-286-285 - 889 (+37)
3. Stanford: 305-297-288 - 890 (+38)
4. Pepperdine: 309-287-302 - 898 (+46)
5. California: 310-297-292 - 899 (+47)
6. BYU: 311-290-301 - 902 (+50)
6. Washington: 305-298-299 - 902 (+50)
8. Loyola Marymount: 307-296-300 - 903 (+51)
9. Oklahoma: 306-302-299 - 907 (+55)
10. Oregon State: 314-303-294 - 911 (+59)
11. Oregon: 318-301-294 - 913 (+61)
12. Notre Dame: 318-302-305 - 925 (+73)
13. UCLA (B): 313-303-316 - 932 (+80)
14. Fresno State: 319-299-316 - 934 (+82)

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