Cal Men's Golf Opens 2008-09 Season Locally

Sept. 6, 2008

SEASON OPENER: The California men's golf team opens the 2008-09 campaign on Monday with action at the Olympic Club Collegiate. After a solid spring and a summer of improvement, the Golden Bears are excited to tee off the 2008-09 season. Five of the team's top six golfers from last season return while senior Michael Jensen, an all-conference selection in 2005 returns to the lineup after redshirting last year, and junior John Murphy, a talented transfer from Old Dominion, has joined the program.

DEZ SAYS: Head coach Steve Desimone is preparing for his 30th season at the helm of the California men's golf team and is very excited about the overall talent and depth of his 2008-09 squad. 'I am really looking forward to the season. The guys have been playing at a very high level. This team is much improved over where we were at end of spring - and we were playing like a top-25 team. I know they guys are really looking forward to playing.

'The guys have played well all summer, in the last major amateur event - the California State Fair Championship - Stephen Hale tied for second, John Murphy tied for fourth, George Gandranata was ninth, Eric Mina was 16th and Evan Derian and Michael Jensen both made the cut and finished in the 20s.

'We've had a tremendous week of play in practice. We're as ready to play as I've seen us in a long time. This is one heck of a golf team. They're itching to get the opportunity to prove it. The Olympic Club Collegiate should be a very good opening tournament for us. The reality is we are really still a young team. Murphy tranbnsferred in from ODu, some good teams, strong individual. Stronger than what we saw to open the last few years. Then again, I think we have the chance to be pretty good. It will be fun to test these guys.

'Any team with Michael Jensen in the fifth spot is very good. It's a measure of where this team is now. If I look across the board, virtually every player had a tremendous summer and looks as if they built upon last season. I can make a case that every guy has shown tremendous improvement.

'A new addition for us is John Murphy, who transferred in this year. He was all-conference at Old Dominion University and played in a couple of major amateur events this summer and had very good finishes. He's a very solid student with a great work ethic. He loves to comepete and he's fit in very quickly and very nicely.'

BEAR LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order, with final 2007-08 statistics except for Murphy, and Jensen, 2006-07 stats) for the NCAA West Regional Championship is listed below:Player YR RDS STROKES AVG LOW TOP FINISHStephen Hale So. 39 2826 72.5 67 1John Murphy Jr. NAGeorge Gandranata Sr. 37 2681 72.5 66 T3Eric Mina So. 36 2668 74.1 69 T17Michael Jensen Sr. 37 2867 72.1 68 6

Player Cl. 07-08 Rounds Strokes Avg. Low Top Finish
Stephen Hale So. 39 2826 72.5 67 1
John Murphy Jr. NA NA NA NA NA
George Gandranata Sr. 37 2681 72.5 66 T3
Eric Mina Fr. 33 2438 73.9 69 T17
Michael Jensen Sr. 37 2867 72.1 68 6

LINEUP LOOK: Cal will open its 2008-09 season with three stalwarts from last season and two additions, playing in the order they finished at the California State Fair. Sophomore Stephen Hale, who led the team in three events and posted a 72.5 stroke-average last year, is in the No. 1 slot. John Murphy, a transfer who earned all-conference honors at Old Dominion last year, slips into the No. 2 slot, followed by veteran George Gandranata, who has a career average of 73.0 after 102 rounds of action. Sophomore Eric Mina, who had a strong finish in the spring, will be at No. 4 and senior Michael Jensen is No. 5. Jensen was Cal's top golfer two seasons ago and redshirted the 2007-08 campaign.

ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: Cal had three players collect all-conference honors last year - Stephen Hale earned second team recognition while George Gandranata and Evan Derian were both honorable mention selections. It was just the fourth time that the Golden Bears had three players honored in the same year. In 2005, Brandon Beck, Jeff Hood and Michael Jensen were all honorable mention selections; and in 2004, when Cal went on to win the National Championship, Peter Tomasulo (first-team), Jeff Hood (second-team), Scott Carlyle (hon. men.) and Jesse Rudda (hon. men.) were all selected. Following the 1998 Pac-10 Championship, Dan Arroyo (first-team), Dan Coyle (second-team) and Adam Ainbinder (hon. men.) were honored.

ASSISTANT COACH HONORED: Walter Chun, Cal's fourth-year assistant men's golf coach, was named the winner of the 2008 Jan Strickland Award, an honor presented annually to the nation's top assistant coach in men's golf by TaylorMade-adidas Golf. The award is given to the NCAA Division I, II, III or NAIA coach that, among other things, has excelled in working with their student-athletes both on the course and in the classroom. During Chun's four years as an assistant coach, Cal advanced to a pair of NCAA West Regionals while also posting a third-place finish at last year's Pac-10 Championship - the Golden Bears' best finish since 2000 in the event. Chun was a two-time team captain for the Golden Bears and competed in three NCAA West Regional Championships (2000-02), as well as the 2000 NCAA National Championship. In addition to his success on the golf course, Chun was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection and a two-time All-America Scholar for the Bears. He has earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Cal.

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