Cal Men's Golf Has Best Pac-10 Finish Since 2000

April 30, 2008

FAIRFAX, Calif. - Junior George Gandranata led the California men's golf team to its best Pac-10 Championship finish in eight years as the Golden Bears earned third place at the league championship on Wednesday at the Meadow Club. However, the tournament team and individual championships were both decided by playoffs.

USC and Arizona State were tied at 1435 (+15) after 72 holes; the Sun Devils emerged victorious after a one-hole playoff, 23-21. Cal took third place with a 1438 (+18), followed closely by UCLA (1439, +19) and Stanford (1444, +24).

The individual championship for the event came down to a playoff, with Arizona's Creighton Honeck defeating UCLA's Kevin Chappell in a one-hole playoff, 4-3.

'It was not only exciting, but historic, the first time the Pac-10 Championship has had a team and an individual playoff,' Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. 'The combination of the golf course and the conditions made for a great event and brought a lot of the teams together. We had some of the top teams in the country and the quality teams rose to the top. Our goal was to be in position last night to play for championship and we were. We were very close; I'm disappointed, but very proud of the kids, they played their hearts out.'

Gandranata was Cal's top individual finisher with a four-round score of 283 (-1), an average of 70.7, to tie for third place. The junior connected on a 73 in Wednesday's final round and finished the event with 12 birdies.

Sophomore Evan Derian and freshman Stephen Hale matched each other for Cal's best round of the final day, both shooting 69's. Derian finished the event tied for sixth place with an even-par 284, including 16 birdies and an eagle. Hale tied for 18th with a 289 (+5) while playing in his first collegiate postseason event.

'As it's been all spring, we had contributions across the lineup,' Desimone said. 'If you look at our overall results, we had great balance and that's what really good teams do. These guys are competitors.'

A pleasant surprise for the Golden Bears was Andrey Mindirgasov, who shot a 295 (+11) to tie for 35th. The sophomore had played in just two events this spring as most competitions are of the five-count-four format (five players compete with the top four scores counting). The Pac-10 Championship is six-count-five.

'Andrey was in the lineup in the fall,' Desimone said. ''He struggled with some swing issues, but has really straightened himself out. We needed his contributions and he came up real big.'

Mindirgasov was tied with Cal senior Brandon Beck for 35th place with a 295. Freshman Eric Mina rounded out the scoring for the Bears with a 297 (+13).

'We thought this team would improve as season wore on,' Desimone said. 'We had a tremendous spring; if you look at the finishes, it's the best set of finishes since 1993. I think the most impressive thing to me is the fact that in every tournament this spring, we never lost ground in the final rounds. It tells you the guys play some great golf under pressure.'

Cal had three players collect all-conference honors - Hale earned second team recognition while Gandranata and Derian were both honorable mention selections.

'It's very exciting to get three players honored,' Desimone said. 'It's even more exciting because all three will be back for next year. We have a lot to build on. It's a very deserving honor for all three.'

'Now that the event is over and we take an overview, it's very clear that we had phenomenal support from the Meadow Club,' Desimone said. 'I want to thank the pro shot staff, Jim O'Neill, the general manager, the food and beverage staff; everything worked like clockwork. We also want to give a pat on the back to the Northern California Golf Association. It made for a great partnership, the Meadow Club, the NCGA and Cal Golf. And lastly, I want to thank our departmental staff, because this event could not have been as successful without their great work. Put it all together and we wound up with a historic tournament that ran like clockwork.'

Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship (Hosted by Cal)
The Meadow Club (Par 71, 6,686 yards)
Fairfax, Calif.

Team Place: 3rd (of 10 teams)
Score: 346-362-371-359 - 1438 (+18)

T3. George Gandranata: 69-70-71-73 - 283 (-1)
T6. Evan Derian: 68-73-74-69 - 284 (E)
T18. Stephen Hale: 68-74-78-69 - 289 (+5)
T35. Andrey Mindirgasov: 73-76-73-73 - 295 (+11)
T35. Brandon Beck: 68-74-77-76 - 295 (+11)
T40. Eric Mina: 75-71-76-75 - 297 (+13)

Team Standings:
1. USC: 338-374-357 - 1069 (+4)
2. Arizona State: 354-361-356 - 1071 (+6)
3. California: 346-362-371-359 - 1438 (+18)
4. UCLA: 348-361-372-358 - 1439 (+19)
5. Stanford: 350-357-380-357 - 1444 (+24)
6. Arizona: 354-360-381-351 - 1446 (+26)
7. Washington: 357-367-370-365 - 1459 (+39)
8. Oregon State: 354-366-374-367 - 1461 (+41)
9. Oregon: 359-363-374-366 - 1462 (+42)
10. Washington State: 369-380-377-376 - 1502 (+82)

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