No. 24 Men's Golf Set for Spartan Classic Saturday and Sunday
Sept. 17, 2009
BERKELEY - MICHIGAN-BOUND BEARS: The Golden Bears (No. 24 preseason Golfweek) travel to the Midwest for the second straight time to continue the fall 2009 season, heading to Northern Michigan's Grand Traverse County for a three-round weekend competition at the Spartan Golf Classic on Saturday and Sunday. After a hectic and unusual start to the 2009-10 season without traditional qualifying, ending their first event in 4th at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, the California men's golf roster has been finalized and the team has settled into its normal rhythms, eager to continue improving with an even balance of returning veterans and newcomers.
THE EVENT: The second annual Spartan Golf Classic takes place Sat.-Sun., Sept. 19-20, at The Kingsley Club in Kingsley, Mich., hosted by Michigan State University. Kingsley features and par-71, 6,723-yard layout. Teams will play two rounds on Saturday and a final round on Sunday, with early first tee times of 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. (PT), respectively. There will be no live scoring; visit CalBears.com for recaps after both days' action.
DES SAYS: 'We don't know an awful lot,' said Head Coach Steve Desimone about the event and course awaiting the Bears this weekend. 'We have not played a Michigan State-hosted event before, ever.' The collegiate golf world, however, does seem to know something about this year's Cal team, as the Bears have received a No. 24 preseason ranking from Golfweek magazine. Said Desimone: 'We are ranked 24th, which tells you that even with 50 percent turnover, these players are recognized as strong players capable of playing great golf, and we've seen a lot of that already in the first two weeks.'
BEAR LINEUP: Cal's lineup (in order, with 2009-10 Cal statistics)
Player YR RDS STROKES AVG LOW TOP FINISHEric Mina Jr. 3 215 71.6 70 T9Curtis Loop Fr. 0 NA NA NA NAChad Vivolo Jr. 3 226 75.3 73 T47Brandon Hagy Fr. 0 NA NA NA NAStephen Hale Jr. 3 217 72.3 72 T14
LINEUP LOOK: The Bears' lineup is once again bookended by veterans Eric Mina and Stephen Hale, with the three newcomers slotted in the No. 2-4 positions. Curtis Loop will make his first appearance for Cal in event play at No. 2 along with freshman Brandon Hagy in the No. 4 slot. Junior transfer Chad Vivolo, a newcomer from Pepperdine, is No. 3 after playing his first three rounds at the Conference Challenge. Desimone said the order 'isn't reflective on Golfweek or qualifying, it really is my ordering the lineup so as the tournament evolves, I will get opportunities to see both of the freshmen. Oftentimes I don't see No. 5 or 1 because of what's happening on the golf course. This will allow me to keep a close eye on those guys.' The newcomers made some waves over Labor Day Weekend at the 85th California State Fair Champion, where Hagy was a co-medalist with rounds of 68-69-68 for an 11-under performance. Also in the top 10 was Vivolo at 7-under (68-71-70, T9), while Loop ended the event tied for 12th at 6-under with a final-round 66.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: The 15 teams competing in this year's Spartan Golf Classic are, in alphabetical order, California, Charleston Southern, Cleveland State, Columbia, Detroit, Duquesne, Evansville, Jackson State, Michigan State (A and B teams), Northern Illinois, Oakland (Mich.), San Francisco, Santa Clara and UC-Davis.
CAL ROSTER SET FOR 2009-10: Tryouts for the 2009-10 men's golf team ended last week after eight rounds of competition, which Desimone called 'the longest tryout in program history.' Five players ended up vying for the last spot on the team, with sophomore Jeff Hamm filling the slot. The six newcomers who made the roster represent 'probably the largest such group that I can recall,' Desimone said. 'Our reading of this recruiting class was that it may be one of the best in the history of program, and so far that's proving true. No question, the young guys have come in and played very well.' Former members of the team who did not make the 2009-10 roster remain in school with all their scholarship arrangements intact. 'That's a commitment we made to them and their families,' said Desimone. 'We're still overseeing their progress and competition schedules. Golf changes quickly sometimes; you never know when something is going to kick in for a player.But we have a very talented freshman class. They have supplanted some of the players we have had in the past.'
FUNDRAISER FUN: The Bears had a successful fundraiser Sept. 14 at the 30th Annual Cal Golf Tournament, netting over $100,000 in funds with day of golf, a hosted lunch and dinner, and a live auction at Orinda Country Club. 'We've had a long history now of Cal Golf Tournaments as successful and, most importantly, really fun events,' said Desimone. Gratitude was extended to all contributors to and supporters of Cal golf, with special thanks to Operations Manager Curt David, who, Desimone said, 'worked tirelessly over 6-8 weeks with ideas and execution to make this run like clockwork.'
LAST TIME OUT: Cal ended its first competition of the fall 2009 season on a high note at Blue Top Ridge, Iowa, where the Bears climbed from 8th place to 4th on the strength of solid rounds from the entire lineup to end Golfweek's Collegiate Conference Challenge. Junior Eric Mina was Cal's top individual finisher, with his 1-under total putting him in a tie for 9th place, while newcomer Max Homa had the Bears' best final round with a 3-under 69, finishing tied for 30th. Mina's four bogies tilted his scorecard just above par against his three birdies, while fellow junior Stephen Hale had three birdies on the back nine but suffered a double bogey on the par-4 6th hole to set him back to 1-over on the day, good for an overall tie for 14th. Homa cruised through most of his third round today with four birdies. His bogey on the par-4 18th put the only blemish on his final round. Fellow newcomer Michael Weaver ended his first Cal competition also in a tie for 30th with a final-round 70 (-1), while Chad Vivolo (T47) delivered a final-round 74 that did not count toward the team's tally on the day. 'It was a good stepping stone, and now we get a chance to settle into a rhythm,' said Coach Desimone.
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