Cal Returns to Action in Hawaii

Feb. 18, 2008

2008 Season Outlook
Q&A With Cal Coach Steve Desimone

ALOHA STATE ADVENTURE: The California men's golf team returns to action this week, playing at the John Burns Intercollegiate - the third straight year that the Golden Bears have ventured to the island of Oahu for the event. Sophomores George Gandranata and Evan Derian both saw action last season in Hawaii, tying for 52nd place with matching 219's.

THE EVENT: The John Burns Intercollegiate will be played at the Par 72, 6,916-yard Leilehua Golf Course in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. The 54-hole format will be broken up into 18 holes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the 22-team field. Live scoring will be available at

DEZ SAYS: As the Golden Bears enjoy their annual trip to Hawaii for the John Burns Intercollegiate, head coach Steve Desimone has a more long-term look at the season on his mind. 'This is a tremendous national event. Any time you have a great national field, its both a challenge and an opportunity. It's important to us to get in and play well and keep building some confidence as we head towards April and May. We had an outstanding qualiying, probably our best of the year. The guys played well thgroughout the entire four or five rounds. This golf course sets up well for us. It's going to depend on our short game and if we make a few putts. If we do, we'll be very competitive. Obviously Hawaii is a wonderful place, one of the things we like is that it's 18 holes a day, which allows the guys to not just compete, but practice and relax a bit. The extra time gives us the opportunity to do some different things and have some fun as a team - such as a pilgrimage to the Arizona Memorial.'

BEAR LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order, with 2007-08 statistics) for the John Burns Intercollegiate is listed below.

Player Cl. 07-08 Rounds Strokes Avg. Low Top Finish
George Gandranata Jr. 12 857 71.4 66 T8
Eric Mina Fr. 11 807 73.4 70 T24
Stephen Hale Fr. 14 1014 72.4 68 T8
Brandon Beck Sr. 3 225 75.0 73 T60
Evan Derian So. 8 576 72.0 67 T8

LINEUP LOOK: The Golden Bears will be led into this week's event by sophomore George Gandranata, who leads the team with a 71.4 stroke-average this year. Gandranata led the team in their last outing at Arizona, firing a 212 to take 16th place. Freshmen Eric Mina (73.4) and Stephen Hale (72.4) placed second and third in qualifying and will be making their first appearances in Hawaii for the Bears. Senior Brandon Beck's Arizona outing was his first tournament since last spring and he worked out the rust, improving his score in each round (78-74-73). Another youngester, Evan Derian, rounds out the rotation for this week. Derian played in three fall tournaments and tallied a 72.0 stroke-average.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD: Competing in the John Burns Intercollegiate along with the Bears will be Arkansas, Arizona, No. 15 Auburn, BYU, Colorado State, Denver, Fresno State, Hawaii, Hawaii-Hilo, Long Beach State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego, San Diego State, San Jose State, SMU, Utah, Texas A&M, UC Santa Barbara, No. 24 UNLV, and UTEP.

LAST YEAR: 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 in 2007. Jensen completed his tournament with a six-under 210 to tie for eighth place. Freshman Evan Derian and sophomore George Gandranata each finished at 219 for the Bears, tying for 52nd overall. Gandranata shot an even 72 on Friday while Derian slipped to a 74. Junior Kent Yamane also 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. SMU's Frank Wrenn won the individual tournament title with a 203 (-13). UNLV was seemingly in control of the event entering Friday, but BYU shot an astonishing 270 (-18) to capture the title with an 834 (-30) total. The Cougars had all five of their players shoot below 70 in the final round. UNLV finished second at 842 while Texas A&M (855), San Diego State (856) and Colorado State (858) rounded out the top five.

LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BEARS: With four golfers finishing in the top 35, the California men's golf team earned a solid seventh-place finish at its season-opening tournament, the Arizona-PING Intercollegiate Men's Golf Tournament at the Arizona National Golf Club. George Gandranata, who was red-hot, playing minus-seven golf through the first two rounds, cooled off for the final round to finish at a minus-one 212 to tie for 16th in the event, pacing the Golden Bears. Cal shot a 286 (+2) for the final round, its top round of the tournament. It is just the second time in their last 12 events that the Bears closed with their best round of the tournament. Sophomore Andrey Mindirgasov and freshman Stephen Hale both had minus-one rounds of 70 in the final round to pace the Golden Bears. The pair finished tied for 35th overall at 220 (+7). Freshman Eric Mina was the most consistent Bear in the event, firing three straight 73's to finish at 219 (+6), tied for 31st place. Mina had 10 birdies over his three rounds, matching Gandranata for the team-best total. Senior Brandon Beck closed the tourney with his best round, a sold plus-two 73, tallying 15 pars in the round. Tennessee captured the tournament championship with an 832 (-20), followed by UNLV (835, -17) and UCLA (847, -5). Host Arizona (848, -4) and East Tennessee State (855, +3) rounded out the top five. Cal tallied an 864 (+12), eight shots behind San Diego State which finished in sixth place in the 16-team field.

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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