Another Strong Round Lifts Cal Men's Golf to Top Finish of the Year

March 11, 2008

FRESNO, Calif. - The California men's golf team used a total team effort to post its top finish of the year, tying for second place at the Fresno Lexus Classic on Tuesday at Fort Washington Country Club. The Golden Bears fired a final-round 279, the top round of the day, led by senior Brandon Beck, who closed the event with a 68.

Beck's 68, a season-best round for the veteran, gave him an overall 211 (-5), matching the three-round totals of teammates George Gandranata and Evan Derian, as all three were tied for sixth place in the tournament. Beck's four under-par final round, included four birdies and no bogeys. For the full tournament, he had 11 birdies and just five bogeys. Derian also had 11 birdies and added an eagle on the par-five 531-yard 12th hole on Tuesday. The steady Gandranata had just four bogeys in the event, including one bogey and one birdie on Tuesday, following a stellar second round of 66.

'I am really proud of the kids,' Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. 'When you compete like this, good things happen. You always want to have a chance going into the final nine and we did. We put ourselves in a good spot; give San Diego State credit, they made some great shots, but we charged all afternoon. We played great.'

San Diego State, which had opened the tournament red-hot, held off the Golden Bears in the final round to win with an 841 (-23). Cal's final score of 844 (-20) was tied with Texas for second place. Oregon (855, -9) and Pacific (862, -2) rounded out the top five in the event.

'Anytime you see Texas, TCU, Oregon, San Diego State, you know you have some strong opposition,' Desimone said. 'On the back nine was great theater, any of us could have come out on top. I am really proud of the kids; we really competed hard.'

Cal opened the event with a 287, followed with a 278, then closed with the 279, climbing in the standings each round. In fact, it was the fourth straight tournament that Cal climbed in the standings with each round.

'It's our fourth tournament of the spring, our fourth great final round, and the fourth tournament that we didn't back-up,' Desimone added. 'Every round this spring, we have improved our position. We keep improving and playing well. We have really come together quickly.'

In addition to the three players finishing in the top six, freshmen Eric Mina and Stephen Hale were also very strong. Mina tallied a three-round 214 (-2) with 12 birdies to finish in 20th place, while Hale had a 215 (-1) to finish in 27th place (of 104 golfers). Hale led the team with 13 birdies in the event. It is the first time this year that all five Cal golfers finished below par in an event.

'If we had played five-count-five, I think we would have won this tournament, which is really important,' Desimone said. 'It shows the total team effort; we threw out a 74 and a pair of 72's; all five guys are playing really good golf.'

The typical college golf format is five golfers play with the top four scores counting in each round. If this tournament had featured five golfers with all five scores counting, Cal would have won the event at -18, with Texas and San Diego State taking second place at -16. The Pac-10 Championships use six golfers with the top five scorers counting.

The Golden Bears, who have now finished seventh, sixth, fifth and second in their spring tournaments, will have some time off before playing in the Western Intercollegiate on March 26-27 at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz.

'We've been playing a lot,' Desimone said. 'We need a little break, although when you're playing well, you like to keep going. The guys will have a chance to re-group, catch up on studies and catch up on sleep; plus we can do some work on the things we need to work on.'

Fresno Lexus Classic (Hosted by Fresno State)
Fort Washington Country Club (Par 72, 6,729 yards)
Fresno, Calif.
Team Place: 2nd (of 20 teams)

Score: 287-278-279 - 844 (-20)

T6. Brandon Beck: 71-72-68 - 211 (-5)
T6. Evan Derian: 70-71-70 - 211 (-5)
T6. George Gandranata: 73-66-72 - 211 (-5)
T20. Eric Mina: 73-70-71 - 214 (-2)
T27. Stephen Hale: 74-71-70 - 215 (-1)

Team Standings (through two rounds):
1. San Diego State: 275-277-289 - 841 (-23)
T2. California: 287-278-279 - 844 (-20)
T2. Texas: 281-276-286 - 844 (-20)
4. Oregon: 286-285-284 - 855 (-9)
5. Pacific: 286-293-282 - 862 (-2)
T6. TCU: 288-282-293 - 863 (-1)
T6. CSU-Bakersfield: 286-293-284 - 863 (-1)
8. Boise State: 295-281-288 - 864 (E)
9. Loyola Marymount: 287-290-288 - 865 (+1)
T10. Portland: 290-285-291 - 867 (+3)
T10. Nevada: 283-289-295 - 867 (+3)
12. CSU-Northridge: 286-291-293 - 870 (+6)
T13. Kansas State: 295-283-294 - 872 (+8)
T13. BYU: 291-289-292 - 872 (+8)
15. Santa Clara: 287-296-297 - 880 (+16)
16. Fresno State: 295-293-293 - 881 (+17)
17. Idaho: 303-295-285 - 882 (+18)
18. Long Beach State: 297-294-296 - 885 (+21)
19. Sacramento State: 307-292-292 - 891 (+27)
20. Wyoming: 306-309-299 - 914 (+50)

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