Cal Opens Spring Season in Arizona

Jan. 25, 2008

SPRING HAS SPRUNG: The California men's golf team opens its spring campaign this Monday and Tuesday at the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson - it is the first college golf event of the spring season. The Bears had a solid fall, despite being without standout senior Brandon Beck, who battled mono. The key to the fall was gaining experience for many of the team's young golfers. After the PING Tournament, the Bears will have two-plus weeks of practice before heading to Hawaii for the John Burns Intercollegiate.

THE EVENT: The PING-Arizona Intercollegiate will be played at the Par 71, 6,900-yard Arizona National Golf Club. Teams will play 36 holes on Monday and then close the event with 18 holes on Tuesday morning. UNLV (829, -23) won the team title at last year's event while Arizona's Brian Prouty took the individual title with a 199 (-14). Cal finished 11th in the event with an 865 after an outstanding final round. George Gandranata (218, +5) and Andrey Mindirgasov (229, +16) are the only Bears who played in last year's tourney who are in action this week. Kent Yamane, who is redshirting this season, was Cal's top finisher with a plus-one 214, including an outstanding 65 in the final round. Live scoring will be available at

DEZ SAYS: Cal head coach Steve Desimone is excited to get action going in the spring campaign and looks forward to the return of Brandon Beck to the lineup. 'We've had really outstanding qualifying rounds this week. Brandon played very well, clearly the mono is a thing of the past. He was very solid and looked like his old self. Eric Mina won the qualifying and looks like he is taking his game to the next level; we'll see Tuesday afternoon. Andrey had a great round and fought his way in. Stephen Hale and George Gandranata have been our two steadiest players. I am excited and optimistic; we have a chance to be very competitive.

WEATHER WOES: With the Bay Area getting hit with some cold, wet weather, the Golden Bears had to practice under less-than-ideal conditions. However, Desimone was pleased with how his team handled the conditions, 'We had two of the toughest days of qualifying because of the weather, cold and windy with rain. It's always better to have practice more difficult than the competition. It is one of the reasons I am optimistic, the guys handled it real well. This was a character check and these guys came through with flying colors.'

BEAR LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order, with 2007-08 statistics) for the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate is listed below.Player YR RDS STROKES AVG LOW TOP FINISHEric Mina Fr. 8 588 73.5 70 T24Brandon Beck Sr. 0 -- -- -- --Andrey Mindirgasov So. 11 815 74.1 68 T13George Gandranata Jr. 9 645 71.7 67 T8Stephen Hale Fr. 11 794 72.2 68 T8

LINEUP LOOK: The Golden Bears welcome senior Brandon Beck back to action on Monday. The veteran missed the fall due to illness and will be playing his first tourney of the year. Freshman Eric Mina was Cal's top qualifier while classmate Stephen Hale gives the Bears quite a young look. Sophomore Andrey Mindirgasov and junior George Gandranata will round out the lineup. Gandaranata was Cal's top scorer in the fall at 71.7, while Hale was just behind him at 72.2.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD: The PING-Arizona Intercollegiate features a 16-team field, including natioanlly-ranked UCLA (4) and Tennessee (23). Other squads comepting are Brigham Young, UC-Irvine, East Tennessee State, Georgia Southern, Long Beach State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, Texas, UNLV, Washington and host Arizona (two squads).

LAST YEAR: The young California men's golf team posted a minus-six 278 in the final round of the 2007 Ping/Arizona Intercollegiate. The Golden Bears' strong round was the second-best team score of the day and lifted Cal to 11th place in the 16-team tournament. Junior Kent Yamane, a junior-college transfer, was the top performer on Tuesday for the Bears, firing a minus-6 65, matching the best Cal round of the 2006-07 season, despite battling rain throughout the round. His previous best was a 68 at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational in the fall. Yamane's round was the second-best individual round of the day as well. He finished the tournament with a plus-one 214 to tie for 30th place. Junior Michael Jensen tied for 39th place with a plus-four 217, while freshman Evan Derian, playing in his first collegiate tournament was just behind at 218. Derian, who did not play in the fall due to a back injury, logged a plus-seven 78 in his opening round on Monday, but came back to connect on back-to-back 70's. Sophomore George Gandranata also recovered well from a slow start. After shooting a 76 in the first round, the product of Indonesia logged a pair of par-71's in the final two rounds to finish at 218, matching Derien. Freshman Andrey Mindirgasov rounded out the Bears' rotation with a 229.

FALL RECAP: Cal played in four fall events with fifth-place finishes in both the Falcon Invitational (Air Force) and the Husky Invitational (Washington). George Gandaranata was the top fall golfer for the Golden Bears with a 71.7 over nine rounds. Sophomore Evan Derian tallied an even 72.0 in the fall, including a pair of 67's at Cal's own MacKenzie Invitational. Freshman Stephen Hale had an excellent debut, shooting 72.2 over 11 rounds. Sophomore Andrey Mindirgasov (74.1) and freshman Eric Mina (73.5) were the other top contributors during the fall. The Bears' played without Brandon Beck, who missed the four events due to a bout with mononucleosis.

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