California Men's Golf Earns Bid to 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championship
May 5, 2008
BERKELEY - The University of California has earned a bid to the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championship, it was announced Monday by the NCAA Men's Golf Selection Committee. It will be Cal's 10th NCAA appearance in the last 12 years as well as the 13th overall regional appearance for the Golden Bears who placed third in the Pac-10 Championships last week, their best finish since 2000.
'It's always good to hear your name called,' Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. 'We were confident that over the last two weeks we put ourselves in good position. There was a lot less stress the last few days than a year ago. It's good to be in the west. We played the course in the fall; we're familiar with it and we played pretty well there. Everybody's even now. So let's go play.'
Cal will be in action at the NCAA West Regional, which will be hosted by Washington at Gold Mountain Golf Course (par-72, 7,061 yards) in Bremerton, Wash., from May 15-17 (Thursday-Saturday). The teams will play three rounds each day with five golfers competing and the top four scores counting from each round. The Golden Bears already played one tournament at Gold Mountain Golf Course this year, competing in the Husky Invitational in the fall (Oct. 1-2), finishing in fifth-place in the 13-team field. Four other teams in this year's West Regional Field also played in that tournament.
'[Having played the course in a tournament already this year] could be a significant advantage,' Desimone said. 'It's a great golf course. Each team gets one practice round, but we played under multiple conditions, from good weather to miserable weather. We have a very good feel for the golf course. Knowing that, I think the guys will be comfortable going back.'
In addition to earning 12 regional bids prior to this year, California has advanced from the regionals to the nationals five times, winning the NCAA Division I Championship in 2004.
The NCAA Championship consists of three regional sites (West, Central, East) with 27 teams and six individuals competing in each regional championship. The top 10 teams and top two individuals not on those teams from each regional will advance to the National Championship (May 28-31), hosted by Purdue University on the Kampen Course at Birck Boilermaker Golf Course in West Lafayette, Ind.
'One of the great things about this team this spring is how consistent all five of our players have been,' Desimone said. 'A great course like this will test how strong you are one through five; you cant have one, two or three good players. Gold Mountain forces you to hit shots and make putts. There's a lot of trouble out there. You need all five guys in the rounds or you could implode very quickly. That's one of the reasons I feel confident about advancing.'
California is led by freshman Stephen Hale, an All-Pac-10 Second Team selection who paces the team in stroke-average at 72.1. Junior George Gandranata and sophomore Evan Derian were both honorable mention All-Pac-10 selections. Gandranata has been Cal's top finisher in seven events this year, including a third-place effort at the Pac-10 Championship last weekend. Derian finished sixth at the Pac-10's and has four top-10 finishes this year.
Senior Brandon Beck, freshman Eric Mina and sophomore Andrey Mindirgasov have rounded out he Bear rotation this spring - a season in which Cal has finished eighth or better in eight straight tournaments, its best stretch of sustained success since the 1993 season.
NCAA WEST REGIONAL - May 15-17
Gold Mountain Golf Course - Bremerton, Wash.
Hosted by the University of Washington
Teams (seeded in the following order):
3. Florida State
7. North Carolina
8. Texas Tech
10. Arizona State
11. San Diego State
13. Louisiana State
14. Oregon State
18. St. Mary's
23. Kansas State
24. San Diego
1. Troy Merritt, Boise State
2. Brian Locke, Loyola Marymount
3. Tarquin Macmanus, Arizona
4. Jason D'Amore, Loyola Marymount
5. Nathan Stamey, North Carolina-Greensboro
6. Jimmy Lytle, Elon