No. 21 Golden Bears to Finish Fall at The Prestige
Oct. 10, 2008
BEARING DOWN AFTER TWO-WEEK BREAK: The California men's golf team closes its 2008 fall campaign next week, playing at The Prestige on Monday and Tuesday following a two-week layoff after the Husky Invitational.
THE EVENT: Now in its ninth year, The Prestige at PGA WEST draws 16 teams on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 13-14, to compete on the par-72, 7,156-yard Greg Norman Course in La Quinta, Calif. It is co-hosted by UC Davis and Stanford University. The 54-hole tournament - with 36 holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday, both with 7:30 a.m. shotgun starts - features some of the top academic and golf-playing team's in the college game, including three teams, No. 4 Washington, No. 12 Stanford and No. 17 Michigan State, currently ranked higher by Golfweek than the No. 21 Golden Bears. Live stats will be available at www.GolfStat.com.
DEZ SAYS: Going into the final tournament of the fall campaign, Cal head coach Steve Desimone is hoping for a big finish to a strong autumn as the team goes into the offseason of preparation for the spring. 'This course has been a difficult one for us, but I believe this a much better ball-striking team than what we've had the last two years, and I think that will be in evidence by next Tuesday afternoon. These guys are used to playing in the final round, playing for a team championship, and I wouldn't be surprised if we're knocking on the door again.'
BEAR LINEUP: Cal's lineup (in order, with 2008-09 statistics) for The Prestige is listed below.
Player Cl. 08-09 Rounds Strokes Avg. Low Top FinishJohn Murphy Jr. 9 640 71.1 68 2Eric Mina So. 9 646 71.8 68 T3Michael Jensen Sr.. 9 648 72.0 69 T1Stephen Hale So. 9 659 73.2 68 T16George Gandranata Sr. 6 439 73.2 70 T7
LINEUP LOOK: Three spirited rounds of qualifying this week resulted in Stephen Hale and George Gandranata's inclusion on the Cal's team for Monday's action. While the top three - John Murphy, Eric Mina and Michael Jensen - got their exemptions based on their performance at the Husky, all three of them have played well all autumn. Murphy has finished in the top 10 in all three events this fall, Jensen has a win and a seventh, and Mina has a third and a seventh. After qualifying rounds at the Meadow Club, Ruby Hill and Diablo Country Club, Hale and Gandranata finished dead even at 11-under par, 203. Kent Yamane missed the cut with a 4-under 210, which Desimone points out, 'Any of the last four years, that would have qualified easily, and that tells you one, that Kent's playing some very good golf, and two, it's just a measure of how strong this team is.'
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: The PGA West field features some of the top collegiate golfers in the country, with nine teams in this year's 16-school field currently ranked in the top 50 by Golfweek. Washington comes in as the highest-ranked squad at No. 4, followed by Stanford at No.12, Michigan State at No. 17, Cal at No. 21, Pepperdine at No. 25, Michigan at No. 28, Colorado at No. 30, UC Davis at No. 40 and Central Florida at No. 49. Other teams competing are Kentucky, Pacific, Rice, TCU, Northwestern, Notre Dame and the top-ranked team in Division II, Florida Southern.
LAST YEAR AT LA QUINTA: The California men's golf team finished 11th at The Prestige in 2007, shooting a three-round score of 882 (286-297-299, +18). The Golden Bears' best finisher was then-junior George Gandranata, who tied for 11th, shooting an even 216 with rounds of 72, 75 and 69, with his three-under final round standing as the best individual performance for Cal at the event. Gandranata had four birdies and just one bogey while parring the remainder of holes en route to his 69. Charlotte won the tournament with an 854 (-10), followed by Stanford at 862 (-2), Central Florida at 869 (+5) and a tie between. Pepperdine and TCU for fourth place 876 (+12). Other Cal competitors included Stephen Hale, who closed the tourney with a 74 to finish at 219 (+3) in a tie for 23rd with a 15 pars and four birdies in the first two rounds; Evan Derian and Eric Mina, who tied for 41st overall at 224 (+8). Derian opened the tournament with a 71 on Monday, while Mina had an opening-round 70, but both slipped over the final two rounds. Sophomore Andrey Mindirgasov tallied a 228 (+12) in the event.
LAST TIME OUT - BEARS HOST YOUNG GOLF HEROES FROM CHINA: Ten of the top amateur/junior players from China comprising the Young Golf Heroes completed a six-day cultural exchange in the Bay Area with events hosted by the California men's golf program Oct. 3-4. The visiting delegation, with its select group of players age 15-21 from around China, was welcomed Friday with a round of golf at the Mira Vista Golf & Country Club, with head-to-head competition that saw the Bears take the team title and sophomore Eric Mina come away with the lowest score of 69, followed by a ceremony and banquet. Saturday's events included another round of golf and camaraderie at Orinda Country Club. Desimone is optimistic that his team could make a reciprocal trip to Asia in the near future.
TWO WEEKS AGO AT HUSKY INVITATIONAL: The Golden Bears notched their third straight top-three finish of the 2008-09 campaign, ending the event with a three-round 870 (+6) to take second place. Three members of the team shot identical three-round scores to tie for seventh place overall, with sophomore Eric Mina, junior John Murphy and senior Michael Jensen all finishing at 217 (+1). After shooting back-to-back below-par rounds, the Bears tallied a 298 (+10) on Tuesday to leave them 13 shots behind host Washington, which won the event at 857 (-7) on its home course. San Diego State finished in third place (879, +15), followed b BYU (885, +21) and Oregon (887, +23). BYU had the best round of the day on Tuesday, shooting a 283. Mina shot a plus-two 74 on Tuesday and finished his three rounds with 11 birdies. Murphy played very consistent golf, collecting just seven birdies and eight bogeys en route to his 217. Jensen, who was tied for second after the opening rounds of the tournament, slipped to 217 on Tuesday, still finishing one-over. He had a team-best 13 birdies in the event, but was hurt by a pair of double bogeys on Tuesday. Kent Yamane had a solid finish to his first tournament since 2006-07 after redshirting a year ago, shooting Cal's best round of the day at 73 and finished the event at 222 (+6), tied for 16th place. Sophomore Stephen Hale registered a 228 (+12) overall to tie for 41st place. Junior Evan Derian, who played the event as an individual, also posted a 228.
SEPT. 20-21 AT THE WOLVERINE INTERCOLLEGIATE: The Bears shot a final-round 277 as a team, the best round of the day, as Cal finished third overall in the 16-team field, shooting a three-round 846 (-6). Junior transfer John Murphy delivered a strong performance for a second-place finish at U-M Golf Course. Murphy's final round 68 was matched by sophomores Eric Mina and Stephen Hale. Mina, who had shot a career-best 68 in Saturday's second round, matched that on Sunday to finish in a tie for third. Hale's 68 lifted him into 16th place overall. Senior Michael Jensen finished at 218 (+5), tied for 40th place while senior George Gandranata rounded out the Bear rotation with a 224 (+11). Host Michigan won the event with an overall score of 841 (-11). UC Davis earned second with an 843 (-9), with the Bears just behind at 846. Michigan State (848, -4) and Colorado State (851, -1) rounded out the top five.
BEARS CAPTURE SAN FRANCISCO INTERCOLLEGIATE IN FALL OPENER: Senior Michael Jensen fired a three-round 213 to share top medalist honors and lead the Bears to an eight-stroke team title at the Olympic Club. Cal won the event with a final score of 861 (+9), eight strokes ahead of runner-up Colorado (869, +17). UAV took third place with an 873 (+21) with Xavier (876, +24) in fourth place. Oregon State and San Diego tied for fifth place at 877 (+25). Jensen put together consistent rounds of 71-70-72 to match Colorado's Derek Tolan for the title. 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. Sophomore Eric Mina rounded out the Bear lineup with a 221 (+8), tied for 27th place. Mina had 10 birdies, joining Jensen and Gandranata for second on the team. 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).