Cal Men's Golf Travels to Michigan for Second Tourney
Sept. 17, 2008
THE TOURNAMENT: The California men's golf team returns to action this weekend, competing in the Wolverine Intercollegiate at the University of Michigan. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday at the U-M Golf Course. There will be 16 teams in the 2008 field, playing 54 holes in the two-day event. The tournament will begin with 36 holes on Saturday. California will be paired with host Michigan and Virginia Tech on the first day of play. The event will close with a final 18 holes on Sunday. Scoring for the Wolverine Intercollegiate will be five players; count the low four scores each round. The U-M Golf Course will be set up for a par 71 and 6,704 yards. There will NOT be live scoring for the event.
MICHIGAN MILES: Ann Arbor is located 2,043 miles from Berkeley, the longest trip East for the Bears since playing in the Hooters Match Play Championship in Florida (4,552 miles) in November of 2004. It is not even the longest trip this year for the Bears, however, as the John Burns Collegiate last spring in Hawaii was 2,406 miles away.
DEZ SAYS: After a victory to open its season, the Cal men's golf team is looking to continue its success this weekend. Head coach Steve Desimone pointed out that the last season-opening tournament victory came in 2003, leading into Cal's 2004 NCAA Championship season. 'Usually winning a tournament to open the season sets the tone. It's a great way to start, it gives everyone confidence and speeds up experience. I'm also pleased because we've had a really good week since. We played great at Lake Merced, which is one of the regional courses and we definitely look like we're ready to play a tournament again.
'There's a little sour taste for our guys because we didn't play that well in final round last week. They all know if we're going to move in direction we want, we need to play a better final rounds. I did give them pats on the back because we did make some birdies when we needed them, but going in with the lead and three guys at the top of the leader board, we came out slow. It's part of the growing process.
'This will be our first time in this Michigan tournament. It has a strong field, plus 2500 miles and three time zones away from home, which presents challenges. It will be a good test. The Pac-10/Big Ten rivalry is always fun too, we'll see both Michigan schools and Wisconsin. Those are some good teams. It's always nice to play in your back yard, but we're on the road for most of our tournaments and we need this learning process. The other reason to go to Michigan is that [Michigan coach] Andy Sapp is a good friend of mine. They have come to the MacKenzie two or three times so it worked out with the schedule for us to make the return trip.'
BEAR LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order with 2008-09 statistics) for the Wolverine Intercollegiate is listed below:Player YR RDS STROKES AVG LOW TOP FINISHMichael Jensen Sr. 3 213 71.0 70 T1George Gandranata Sr. 3 215 71.7 70 T7John Murphy Jr. 3 216 72.0 71 T10Stephen Hale So. 3 218 72.7 70 T16Eric Mina So. 3 221 73.7 72 T27
LINEUP LOOK: Cal is using the same lineup as last week's tournament-winning quintet from the San Francisco Intercollegiate. Senior Michael Jensen, who redshirted the 2007-08 season and then returned to the scene with a bang by tying for top medalist honors last week, will play No. 1. George Gandranata, another senior, is at No. 2 after his seventh-place effort last time out. Newcomer John Murphy, a transfer from Old Dominion where he was a two-time all-conference selection, is at No. 3. The sophomore tandem of Stephen Hale and Eric Mina will play at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: There will be 16 schools participating in the Wolverine Intercollegiate: California, Colorado State, Columbia, Eastern Michigan, Gardner Webb, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Oakland, San Diego, Toledo, UC-Davis, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and Xavier.
LAST WEEK AT THE S.F. INTERCOLLEGIATE: Cal opened 2008-09 on a high note behind the efforts of senior Michael Jensen. In the first meet of the campaign, Jensen fired a three-round 213 to share top medalist honors and lead the Bears to an eight-stroke team title at the San Francisco Intercollegiate at the Olympic Club. Cal won the event with a final score of 861 (+9), eight strokes ahead of runner-up Colorado (869, +17). Jensen, a two-time all-conference selection in 2005-06, fired consistent rounds of 71-70-72 to top his previous best finish of fifth place. Senior George Gandranata had a strong tourney as well, finishing in seventh place with a 215 (+2). John Murphy, a transfer from Old Dominion University, also made quite a splash in his Golden Bear debut, connecting on a team-high 11 birdies and notching a 216 (+3) to tie for 10th place overall. Sophomore Stephen Hale logged a 218 (+5) to tie for 16th place in the event. Hale now has nine top 25 finishes in 14 career collegiate tournaments. Sophomore Eric Mina rounded out the Bear lineup with a 221 (+8), tied for 27th place. Junior Evan Derian, playing as an individual, was one of six players to break 70 in the event, shooting a final round 69 to climb to 27th place overall at 221 (+8).
ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: Cal had three players collect all-conference honors last year - Stephen Hale earned second team recognition while George Gandranata and Evan Derian were both honorable mention selections. It was just the fourth time that the Golden Bears had three players honored in the same year. In 2005, Brandon Beck, Jeff Hood and Michael Jensen were all honorable mention selections; and in 2004, when Cal went on to win the National Championship, Peter Tomasulo (first-team), Jeff Hood (second-team), Scott Carlyle (hon. men.) and Jesse Rudda (hon. men.) were all selected. Following the 1998 Pac-10 Championship, Dan Arroyo (first-team), Dan Coyle (second-team) and Adam Ainbinder (hon. men.) were honored.
ASSISTANT COACH HONORED: Walter Chun, Cal's fourth-year assistant men's golf coach, was named the winner of the 2008 Jan Strickland Award, an honor presented annually to the nation's top assistant coach in men's golf by TaylorMade-adidas Golf. The award is given to the NCAA Division I, II, III or NAIA coach that, among other things, has excelled in working with their student-athletes both on the course and in the classroom. During Chun's four years as an assistant coach, Cal advanced to a pair of NCAA West Regionals while also posting a third-place finish at last year's Pac-10 Championship - the Golden Bears' best finish since 2000 in the event. Chun was a two-time team captain for the Golden Bears and competed in three NCAA West Regional Championships (2000-02), as well as the 2000 NCAA National Championship. In addition to his success on the golf course, Chun was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection and a two-time All-America Scholar for the Bears. He has earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Cal.