Cal sends three golfers to 2013 U.S. Open
It's been a historic year for the Cal men's golf team, winning a team and individual title at the Pac-12 Championships, individual medalist honors at the NCAA championships and now sending three golfers to play in the 2013 U.S. Open field at the Merion Golf Club in Admore, Pa. from June 13-16.
The three playing in "golf's toughest test" are senior Max Homa, junior Michael Weaver and sophomore Michael Kim.
"It's going to be fun getting to go there with guys you know, especially in a different environment," Homa said. "It will be cool for all of us. I think we're all looking forward to it, getting to hang out a little bit and just enjoy the experience as a team."
Homa has had a successful final season to say the least. He claimed an individual title at the Pac-12 and NCAA championships and qualified for the U.S. Open in a playoff at the Newport Beach, Calif. sectional qualifier.
"Winning the national championship, I would call it my biggest accomplishment," Homa said. "Getting into the U.S. Open is probably the biggest dream come true."
Weaver was also excited to see two teammates qualify for the U.S. Open. "Three, I mean, that's pretty cool. I don't really get too excited about stuff like that too often, but when it happened I thought it was pretty awesome...to bounce back like that [after losing the NCAA team championship] meant a lot."
Weaver received an exemption to the event by finishing as the 2012 U.S. Amateur runner-up. Having played in the 2013 Masters Tournament, he already has experience with handling nerves in a major championship.
"I think the U.S. Open will be a similar atmosphere to the Masters as far the pressure, so I think having played the Masters will definitely help a lot, just knowing what to expect," he said.
The youngest of the three, Michael Kim, just finished a whirlwind week. He received the 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award on Sunday as the top national collegiate player and qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday at the sectional qualifier in Ball Ground, Ga.
"I got to meet the greatest golfer of all time...and to top it off with the U.S. Open, it's been a pretty cool week after a disappointing tournament," the sophomore said.
Not only do these teammates get to compete together, but they get the chance to compete with the best in golf.
"Just to be on the same course with and the same range with guys like Tiger [Woods] and Phil [Mickelson] and Rory [McIlroy], that's going to be awesome," Kim said.
As a graduating senior, who is about to pursue a professional career, Homa has a different perspective on the opportunity.
"To be honest, I want to see how my game stacks up against [the world's top golfers] going into my professional career."
He also gave himself a pep talk during the sectional qualifier playoffs that could also help him at the U.S. Open: "You want this moment. You can't be afraid of the main stage, of these opportunities, you need to embrace it."
Cal head coach Steve Desimone also has some advice for his players.
"The key thing is for them to have fun...the golf perspective is to do what they've done all year, really the last couple of years, and that is to make good decisions on the golf course, manage their games and have a good game plan going in. Merion is such a strategic golf course."
"If they can follow what they've done the last couple of years and they have fun, then I think each one of those guys has a chance to make the cut -- and wouldn't that be an incredible story."
In addition to the three golfers from Cal, the Washington men's golf team is sending Cheng-Tsung Pan and Chris Williams to the U.S. Open. Practice rounds run June 10-12, championship rounds 1 and 2 are June 13-14 and championship rounds 3 and 4 are June 15-16.