Nationally-Ranked Cal Heads to Washington for Husky Invite

Sept. 26, 2008

BERKELEY - THE TOURNAMENT: For the third straight year and eighth time overall, the Golden Bears will be in action at the Husky Invitational at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, Wash. Washington will also host the Pac-10 Championship next May, however, that will be played at Seattle Golf Club. Teams will open with 36 holes on Monday and wrap up the tourney with the final round on Tuesday at the par 72, 7,111-yard Olympic Course. It is a five-count-four format. Live stats will be available at

CAL IN WASHINGTON: In addition to playing the Husky Invitational seven times in the last decade, Cal also competed in the NCAA West Regionals at Gold Mountain Golf Course last spring. The Golden Bears top finish in the Husky Invitational was fourth in the 2006 event with then sophomore George Gandranata firing a one-under 215 to tie for 11th overall. Cal's top individual performance at the tournament was in 2001 when Peter Tomasulo shot a 214 (-2) to tie for second place, while Scott Carlyle also tied for second with a 215 (-1) in the 2003 event. Stephen Hale (six rounds), Michael Jensen (three rounds), Eric Mina (six rounds) and Kent Yamane (three rounds) have all seen tournament action at Gold Mountain Golf Course.

DEZ SAYS: California men's golf opened the 2007 fall campaign with back-to-back top-five finishes, but this year's squad has a pair of top-three finishes to open the year. Head coach Steve Desimone hopes the success continues for his team, which debuted at No. 20 in the weekly Golf Week rankings, Cal's first top-25 ranking since 2004. 'It's recognition for what these kids have done in a couple of pretty good fields so far. You can see that it's been a great start. The real question is how much more is this team capable of and how much can we develop between now and the end of May for the NCAA Championship.

'What we've done so far has been no surprise to me. We know we have a good solid golf team. If we continue to develop, we could be a real force to be reckoned with. For this weekend, all of our guys are familiar with the golf course, other than John Murphy. It's not an unknown which is always good.

'Qualifying over the last week was very spirited and we saw some very good play from everyone. We're going with four of the guys who played in the first two tourneys along with Kent Yamane, who played well and grabbed this opportunity to play. I'm really excited, we're playing really good golf and we're looking forward to another successful tournament. I asked Michael Jensen how things were going and he said, `Coach, I'm having a lot of fun, this is great.' I think all of the guys are thinking that and they're believing in themselves, which is a tremendous key in this game.'

BEAR LINE-UP: Cal's lineup (in order with 2008-09 statistics) for the Wolverine Intercollegiate is listed below:

Player Cl. Rounds Strokes Avg. Low Top Finish
John Murphy Jr. 6 423 70.5 68 2
Eric Mina So. 6 429 71.5 68 T3
Stephen Hale So. 6 431 71.8 68 T16
Michael Jensen Sr. 6 431 71.8 70 T1
Kent Yamane Sr. - - - - -

LINEUP LOOK: Coach Desimone has tweaked the lineup a bit for the Husky Invitational. Senior George Gandranata, who has played a team-high 108 career rounds, will get a rest, allowing senior Kent Yamane to step into the rotation for the first time since the 2006-07 season after redshirting last year. Newcomer John Murphy, the red hot transfer from Old Dominion (70.5 stroke-average) is playing No. 1 this week while the sophomore tandem of Eric Mina and Stephen Hale play two and three. Mina had a career-best third-place finish last week in Michigan. Senior Michael Jensen, who opened the year with individual medalist honors at the San Francisco Intercollegiate is playing at No. 4.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD: There will be 11 schools participating in the Husky Invitational: BYU, California, UC Davis, Idaho, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, Portland, San Diego State, Washington and Washington State.LAST WEEK AT THE WOLVERINE INTERCOLLEGIATE: Playing in his second career tournament for Cal, junior transfer John Murphy may have anchored himself in the Golden Bears' talented lineup with a second-place effort at the Wolverine Intercollegiate. Cal finished in third-place overall in the 16-team field, shooting a three-round 846 (-6). The Bears shot a final-round 277 as a team, the best round of the day. Host Michigan won the event with an overall score of 841 (-11). Murphy's final round 68 was matched by sophomores Eric Mina and Stephen Hale. Mina, who had shot a career-best 68 in Saturday's second round, matched that on Sunday to finish in a tie for third. His previous best finish was a tie for 17th last season. Hale's 68 lifted him into 16th place overall. Senior Michael Jensen finished at 218 (+5), tied for 40th place while senior George Gandranata rounded out the Bear rotation with a 224 (+11).

S.F. INTERCOLLEGIATE: Cal opened 2008-09 on a high note behind the efforts of senior Michael Jensen. In the first meet of the campaign, Jensen fired a three-round 213 to share top medalist honors and lead the Bears to an eight-stroke team title at the San Francisco Intercollegiate at the Olympic Club. Cal won the event with a final score of 861 (+9), eight strokes ahead of runner-up Colorado (869, +17). Jensen, a two-time all-conference selection in 2005-06, fired consistent rounds of 71-70-72 to top his previous best finish of fifth place. Senior George Gandranata had a strong tourney as well, finishing in seventh place with a 215 (+2). John Murphy, a transfer from Old Dominion University, also made quite a splash in his Golden Bear debut, connecting on a team-high 11 birdies and notching a 216 (+3) to tie for 10th place overall. Sophomore Stephen Hale logged a 218 (+5) to tie for 16th place in the event. Hale now has nine top 25 finishes in 14 career collegiate tournaments. Sophomore Eric Mina rounded out the Bear lineup with a 221 (+8), tied for 27th place. Junior Evan Derian, playing as an individual, was one of six players to break 70 in the event, shooting a final round 69 to climb to 27th place overall at 221 (+8).

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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