Men's Golf Ready To Build on Top Finish of the Year

March 23, 2007

QUICK TURNAROUND: The California men's golf team has just a few days off before playing in the Duck Invitational on Monday and Tuesday. The Bears are coming off a strong effort at the Western Intercollegiate and have only five days in between tourneys. In Eugene, teams will play two rounds on Monday and a final 18 Tuesday. The Eugene Country Club course has been stretched to 7,033 yards from the championship tees and will play to a par of 72. Action will begin at 8 a.m. each day with a shotgun start.

FUNKY FORMAT: The format for the Duck Invitational will feature six golfers from each team participating and the best four scores being counted. This is a slight departure from the traditional five-count-four scoring that is the norm in college golf. The main impetus for the six-player format is that the Ducks will be hosting the Pac-10 championships at the end of next month at ECC, where teams will also compete six golfers (with five scores counting).

SECOND PLACE AT THE WESTERN: The Golden Bears jumped all the way from seventh place to second place in the final round of the 61st annual Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Course for their top finish of the season. Junior Michael Jensen registered a round-three 68 to finish with a one-under 209 to climb to fifth place among individuals, the top finish of his collegiate career. Senior Michael Wilson was the second-place finisher for the Bears, sandwiching a 70 between a pair of 73's to finish at 216 and tied for 17th place. Sophomore George Gandranata tied for 36th place with a 200.

DEZ SAYS: After Cal's top performance of the year, a second place finish at the Western Intercollegiate in poor weather conditions, head coach Steve Desimone said, 'It was a really good day today. I have to give the kids credit; we've been working hard. There were tough conditions out there today; but these guys are tough guys. We beat some really good teams here; we're playing well against really good competition. If we keep playing well, and keep up on our momentum, we will keep closing in on a regional bid. We can smell it.'

A LOOK AT THE FIELD: The Duck Invitational will be an excellent preview of the Pac-10 Championship, as all 10 conference schools will be in attendance, as well as San Diego State and Pacific for a 12-team field. The Invitational will feature three of the nations top 10 teams according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, including top-ranked Stanford, No. 6 USC and No. 9 UCLA. Other schools in the top 50 include No. 21 Arizona State, No. 28 Arizona, No. 30 Washington -- which won the Duck Invitational when it was last held at ECC in 2005 -- and No. 46 San Diego State.

BEAR LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order, with 2006-07 statistics) for the Duck Invitational is listed below.

Player Cl. 06-07 Rounds Strokes Avg. Low Top Finish
Michael Jensen Jr. 24 1728 72.0 67 5
Michael Wilson Sr. 21 1536 73.1 65 1
George Gandranata So. 24 1739 72.5 67 T5
Evan Derian Fr. 12 890 74.2 70 T41
Andrey Mindirgasov Fr. 21 1522 72.5 67 T5
Freddy Wolfe Jr. 6 452 75.3 74 54

LINEUP LOOK: After his fifth-place showing at the Western Intercollegiate, junior Michael Jensen will be in the top slot for the Golden Bears in Eugene. His 72.0 average leads the team in 2006-07. Senior Michael Wilson also had a strong performance last week and will be No. 2. Sophomore George Gandranata and freshman Evan Derian are at No. 3 and No. 4 while freshman Andrey Mindirgasov was excellent in qualifying to snag the No. 5 slot. Junior Freddy Wolfe, who saw action as an individual last week, will play in the tweaked format's No. 6 position.

AT THE USC COLLEGIATE: Freshman Andrey Mindirgasov fired a plus-three 216 to tie for 15th place as he led the Golden Bears to a seventh-place finish at the USC Collegiate Invitational on Mar. 5 & 6. Mindirgasov was plus-two after the front nine on Tuesday, but then connected on three birdies with just one bogey on the back nine to come in at even par. In the opening round, the freshman had fired a two-under 69. Sophomore George Gandranata was the next top finisher for the Bears, tallying an eight-over 221 in the three rounds. Junior Kent Yamane had opened the event with a first-round 70, but slipped to a nine-over 222 to finish tied for 39th place.

ISLAND GOLF: Junior Michael Jensen had his fourth career top-10 finish to lead the California men's golf team to an 11th-place finish at the John Burns Intercollegiate men's golf tournament at the Leilehua Golf Course in Hawaii from Feb. 21-23. Freshman Evan Derian and sophomore George Gandranata each finished at 219 for the Bears, tying for 52nd overall. Junior Kent Yamane fired a 72 in the final round to complete his recovery from a tough opening round. His 145 over the final two rounds was tied for the second-best on the team, though his opening 82 dropped him to a final total of 227. Senior Michael Wilson finished with a three-round 225.

OPENING TOURNAMENT: The Golden Bears opened the PING/Arizona Intercollegiate slow, shooting a 301 on day one, but rebounded with rounds of 286 and 278 to climb to 11th place in the 16-team field. Cal's round three score was the second-best round of the day. The 564 over the last two rounds was the fifth-best effort in the tournament. UNLV won the event with an 829.

FALL RECAP: The Golden Bears played five fall tournaments, highlighted by a victory in the Alister MacKenzie Invitational (second year in a row winning the event). George Gandranata led the team with a 12-round average of 71.7 while Michael Jensen was just behind at 72.2. Junior Brandon Beck had a solid fall with a 72.4 over nine rounds and Michael Wilson averaged a 73.0, including the individual title at the MacKenzie. Newcomer Andrey Mindirgasov was impressive in his debut, averaging a 73.1, including a low round of 67 at the MacKenzie.

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