Cal Men's Golf Heads to Seattle for Pac-10 Championship
April 23, 2009
BERKELEY - PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP: The Golden Bears head to the Northwest and the unfamiliar territory of the Seattle Golf Club for the 2009 Pac-10 Championship Mon.-Wed., April 27-29.
THE EVENT: The 50th Annual Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship is a three-day, 72-hole tournament hosted by the University of Washington. It features a unique format of six golfers playing for each school with the top five scores counting in each round. The venue is the Seattle Golf Club, a par-72, 6,806-yard course where all 10 conference institutions will be represented. The weather forecast is for partly cloudy skies with temperatures topping out in the low 60s. A practice round will take place on Sunday, April 26, before the tournament beings on Monday morning. Tee times will be off No. 1 and No. 10 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Monday with the second round teeing off at 12:30 p.m. Tee times for Tuesday and Wednesday will begin at 8 a.m. with pairings decided by order of finish. At the conclusion of each round, results will be posted on Pac-10.org as well as Golfstat.com, which also offers live scoring.
LAST YEAR AT PAC-10s: Then-junior George Gandranata led the California men's golf team to its best Pac-10 Championship finish in eight years as the Golden Bears earned third place at the league championship at the Meadow Club. In what proved to be the most dramatic round of the entire tournament, the 2008 Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship went to Arizona State after a playoff round win over USC at the Cal-hosted event. Creighton Honeck of Arizona took the Individual Pac-10 title after beating Kevin Chappell of UCLA, also in a one-hole playoff round.
DES SAYS: 'We know very little about the Seattle Golf Club,' says Bears Head Coach Steve Desimone. 'It's difficult to really know what's best to prepare as we head into the practice round. We've heard it's a cross between the San Francisco and Eugene Golf Clubs. If it's a hybrid of those, it's going to be a real treat: somewhat hilly, small greens, well bunkered. Ball-striking and hitting it straight will be important. Accuracy and bunker play will also be critical. We've made a real commitment to our short game that continues to reap benefits, and we've struck the ball well as of late. It's an exciting time. It's been a long season and the guys have been grinding. We finished 3rd there last year and made a really good run at it, and the guys are saying, `Let's go have some fun and see if we can match what did last year and maybe do a little better.''
BEAR LINEUP: Cal's lineup (in order, with 2008-09 statistics) for the Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship is listed below:
Player YR RDS STROKES AVG LOW TOP FINISHMichael Jensen Sr. 30 2193 73.1 67 T1George Gandranata Sr. 27 1990 73.7 69 T7John Murphy Jr. 30 2188 72.9 68 2Stephen Hale So. 33 2425 73.4 68 T15Eric Mina So. 33 2415 73.1 67 T3Kent Yamane Sr. 12 895 74.5 70 T8
LINEUP LOOK: A cross section of experience and attitude bodes well for the Bears in Seattle. George Gandranata and Michael Jensen will be competing in their fourth Pac-10 Championship, Eric Mina and Stephen Hale are making their second trip, and junior transfer John Murphy joins senior co-captain Kent Yamane for their first appearance at the Pac-10s. Cal's pairings for the first round put the Bears on the tee starting at 7:50 a.m., with Jensen representing Cal's No. 1 player in a 9 a.m. start.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: Five of the top-25 programs in the country come out of the Pac-10 at the moment, with USC the highest-ranked team entering the event, according to the April 22 Golfstat rankings, at No. 2. Stanford is No. 5, host Washington is No. 6, ASU is No. 14, UCLA is No. 18. California is currently ranked No. 32.
LAST TIME OUT - U.S. INTERCOLLEGIATE: The Golden Bears hung tough and climbed one spot to finish 6th after the final round of the U.S. Intercollegiate at Stanford University Golf Course. Michael Jensen led California with his final score of 209 (-1, T21), but it was a team effort to stay in the hunt with no one golfer in the top 20. 'It was one of the strongest fields we played in all year,' said Desimone. 'Overall we played three good, solid rounds, and did a lot of good things. We also beat a number of excellent teams. It was almost stronger than a regional field, which tells you we have a legitimate shot of advancing beyond the regionals to the finals, and that's exciting.'
THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL: Unable to sustain the momentum created by a scorching second round, the Golden Bears fell seven spots during the final round of the ASU Thunderbird Invitational and finished 13th at Karsten Golf Course. Junior John Murphy shot a 1-under final round to finish in an individual tie for 7th (-1). Murphy's final round included 5 birdies against 3 bogeys on a day when the rest of the lineup - except for Eric Mina, who equaled his second round +2 to finish tied for 68th (+8) - suffered their worst rounds of the 54-hole Thunderbird. Stephen Hale and George Gandranata ended tied for 53rd (+7). Hale's 10th-hole eagle could not erase the 6 bogeys and double bogey that contributed to his 76, while Gandranata was one shot better Saturday but also had 6 bogeys. Michael Jensen's triple bogey inflicted the most damage to his final-round 77 (+6) and he finished at +12 (T79).
WESTERN INTERCOLLEGIATE: Three Golden Bears ended their Western Intercollegiate tournaments in the top 20, led by Eric Mina's 67 (-3) on the final day to finish tied for 6th, as California climbed one spot into a 5th-place finish (+45) at Pasatiempo Golf Course. Mina kicked off his final round on hole 4 with a birdie and followed that two holes later with an eagle on the par 5, 555-yard 6th hole, putting down three more birdies to finish the event at 215 (+5). Michael Jensen also started with a birdie on hole 6 and was under par until a double bogey down the stretch put him +1 on the day and +11 overall (T13). John Murphy had to battle through a triple-bogey 12th hole to end his final round at 77 (+7) and finish tied for 36th (+17). Stephen Hale ended the event in a tie for 20th, bogeying his first hole but righting the ship enough to end Tuesday's round with a 73 (+3).
NATIONAL INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT: California fought its way up to a fifth-place finish at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club as Eric Mina ended as the Bears' golfer in a tie for 5th overall (-3), sinking three birdies in a 1-under final round. 'The guys did a very good job; they were very competitive today. We went in and just played some solid golf all the way through. Anybody that shot par or better really had it going,' said Desimone. 'Overall we got the chance to get back after it and we played a strong final round. It's good to be back on track. But we're glad to give up Bermuda greens and get out of the desert.' John Murphy put down four birdies that were offset by two bogies and a double bogey on the fifth hole, finishing even on the day and in the tournament (T11). Stephen Hale fired an even-par 72 to end in a tie for 25th (+3). Michael Jensen shot a plus-5 final round to end in 43rd (+7) and George Gandranata finished Monday at plus-6 in a tie for 68th (+13).
SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP: California exited the Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship in 15th placey, ending its first visit to the UNLV-hosted event as Michael Jensen delivered the Bears' best individual finish in a tie for 29th with his 76 (+4) on the final 18. Cal's day-three scoring featured a team-best 74 (+2) by Eric Mina, but also included three plus-8 cards turned in by Stephen Hale, George Gandranata and John Murphy. 'We're very disappointed,' said Desimone. 'This trip was a great opportunity squandered. We played the par-fives very poorly. The good news is we get a chance to redeem ourselves in a week. It was a great field, very possibly the best regular-season field we've ever played in, and a very tough golf course. We're disappointed, yes, but in no way does it have any consequences for postseason competition. It does show how much more we have to do to get where we want to be.'
USC COLLEGIATE: Then-No. 29 California looked to solidify its team play entering the second event of the spring and did just that, winding up the USC Collegiate Invitational with a third-place finish at +6, edging the host and No. 4 Trojans by one stroke and finishing ahead of conference foes then-No. 9 Washington, then-No. 19 UCLA, and Oregon State. Each of Cal's top-five golfers shot at or below par in at least one round, with senior Kent Yamane ending tied for 8th overall to lead the Bears.
ARIZONA INTERCOLLEGIATE: With three golfers finishing in the top 15, California ended its first competition of the spring with a seventh-place finish at the Arizona Intercollegiate. John Murphy shot the Golden Bears' best final found with an even-par 71 to end at +3, while George Gandranata's second-round 69 stood as Cal's best round of the event. Similar to how the Bears stumbled out of the gate at The Prestige to end the fall season, Cal was unable to make up ground after a difficult opening day. Cal ended its competition at the Arizona National Golf Club in seventh place for the second straight year.
FALL RECAP: The Bears had an outstanding Fall 2008, winning their opening event at the San Francisco Intercollegiate, with co-captain Michael Jensen in a tie for top individual finish; taking 3rd at the Wolverine Intercollegiate on the strength of a 2nd-place performance from junior transfer John Murphy; and coming in 2nd at the Husky Invitational thanks to a trifecta of 7th-place finishes by Murphy, Jensen and Eric Mina before ending 2008 in 7th at The Prestige, where Mina was the Bears' best golfer in a tie for 15th.
REGIONAL SELECTIONS TO BE ANNOUNCED MAY 4: The NCAA Division I Men's Golf Committee will select the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships participants May 4. The teams will be announced during a telephone press conference at 3 p.m. PT.
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