Tilly Tied For First After Opening Round of Western Intercollegiate
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – California men's golf got off to a hot start at the Western Intercollegiate, as they are currently sitting in second place after shooting a collective 353 (+3) on Monday. The Bears are just three strokes back of Washington (350, E) who leads the 13-team field.
Leading the way for Cal is senior Finigan Tilly whose 67 (-3) matched the lowest score of the day, placing him in a two-way tie for first with Hawaii's Justin Ngan. Tilly finished his front nine on a high note with an eagle on the ninth hole to put him two under par. Then, after a bogey on hole 10, he recorded back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 to ultimately finish three under par. Tilly finished the round with four birdies and is tied for the lowest score out of all individuals on par fives (-4).
"I was able to miss the ball in the right places today which is extremely important at Pasatiempo," Tilly said. "I also hit the driver well and was able to give myself plenty of birdie looks especially on par fives. I am also trusting my putter right now, so I'm excited to finish the season strong."
Three Bears follow in a tie for 18th after James Song, Sampson Zheng and Costas Panay each shot a 71 (+1) in the first round. Song and Zheng each had four birdies while Panay tallied three. Zheng was the second Bear to record an eagle on Monday, but ran into trouble to begin the back nine, moving as far as four strokes above par. However, the freshman birdied three of his last five holes to finish +1. The final Bear to score was freshman Aaron Du. The Beijing, China native finished the first 18 holes with 73 (+3) strokes and is currently tied for 41st.
As a team, Cal leads the tournament on par fives with an average score of 4.33. They are -12 overall on such holes – an impressive five strokes ahead of any other team. The Bears are also tied for the lead with two eagles and they tied for the second-most birdies in the first round with 21.
"It means a lot to see the team near the top of the leaderboard," Tilly said. "I think this was the best day for our team all semester and it's very encouraging for all of us."
Cal will return to Pasatiempo Golf Course on Tuesday in a tight three-way race for the lead: Washington currently holds a three-stroke lead over the Bears and Cal is one stroke ahead of Pepperdine. Live stats will be available here. The event will also be broadcast on Golf Channel live from 4pm-7pm PT.
To follow Cal men's golf this season, visit calbears.com, or follow the team on Twitter, and Instagram.