The Bears win their first NCAA Regional title -- photo Cal Athletics
STANFORD, Calif. (May 19, 2012) --Cal (276-270-269 – 815, -25) will be going to the NCAA Championship for a school-record-tying third straight season after winning the NCAA Stanford Regional on Saturday at the par-70, 6,727-yard Stanford Golf Course. The victory was Cal’s first ever NCAA Regional win and sixth in 13 events this season, doubling the school’s previous record for wins. Cal had three players – Brandon Hagy (67-66-66 – 199), Michael Kim (67-64-69 – 200, -10) and Max Homa (71-68-67 – 206, -4) – finish in the top 10 to lead the way.
“It was a really awesome day,” Hagy said. “I think we’re all pretty pumped to win Regionals. It feels really good to be the first team from Cal to accomplish that feat.”
“We have won six tournaments this season and not just any tournaments,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “We won the conference championship three weeks ago and now an NCAA Regional, which is all the more special. Now, we head into the NCAA Championship with a great deal of momentum. We have a week to practice, and I think we will really be ready to play when we get to Riviera.”
The 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship will feature a 30-team field, with the top five squads qualifying from each of six NCAA Regionals that took place around the country this Thursday-Saturday. The top individual from each of the six Regionals will also be invited to participate in the event scheduled to take place May 29 – June 3 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. Cal won its lone NCAA title in 2004 and will be playing in the NCAA Championship for the eighth time in school history.
“We’re feeling really good about what’s happening right now and we’re very confident, but we also know there’s more out there for us,” Desimone said. “It’s pretty clear by the way the season has played out that we are right where we should be as one of the top teams in the country.”
“Qualifying for the NCAA’s has been our goal the entire season,” Hagy said. “Our theme the whole year has been ‘Riviera 2012.’ We expected to be there. We’ve played really well all year, but we still have unfinished business. We still want to go and play well at NCAA’s, make match play and really prove to the rest of the country how good we are, and how good we’ll be in match play.”
San Diego State (282-265-274 – 821, -19), Alabama-Birmingham (278-274-278 – 830, -10), Stanford (277-275-280 – 832, -8) and Central Florida (278-279-278 – 835, -5) will be the four other teams from the NCAA Stanford Regional heading to Riviera.
Pepperdine’s Josh Anderson (67-65-64 – 196, -14) won individual medalist honors playing as an individual and will also advance to the NCAA Championship. Anderson’s six-under par round of 64 on Saturday was the best of the day.
Hagy’s third-place solo finish was the highest of his career. His second consecutive four-under par round of 66 on Saturday included a stretch of four straight birdies. Hagy opened his round with a birdie on the par-five first hole before a bogey on the par-four second. After a bogey on the par-four sixth, he went on a tear with the four consecutive birdies. The hot streak started on the par-five seventh and continued on the par-three eighth, and par-four ninth and 10th holes. He would then make seven straight pars before his sixth and final birdie of the round on the par-four 18th.
“I just wanted to go out there and keep the momentum going from the spring season,” Hagy said. “I’ve really played consistent golf. I just stuck to my game plan … The biggest part was my putting. I was really consistent. I made the putts I needed to make and threw some putts in there that were a really big bonus. Overall, it was a really good tournament.”
Kim ended up tying for fourth after having led the tournament entering the final round. He followed his collegiate best six-under par 64 on Friday with a one-under par round of 69 on Saturday. Kim never went lower than one-under on the day during an effort that included 13 pars, three birdies and two bogeys. He birdied the first hole but gave the stroke back with a bogey on the par-three third. He went back into the red with a birdie on the par-four fifth and stayed there with nine consecutive pars before a bogey on the par-four 15th. His birdie on the par-five 16th put him back in the red.
“I didn’t make many mistakes but just didn’t make as many putts as I would have liked today,” Kim said. “I came up a little short individually, but we still came up with the win as a team and that’s the goal.”
Homa and Joël Stalter (72-72-67 – 211, +1) also came up huge for the Bears on Saturday.
Homa moved up 14 spots into a 10th place tie after a three-under par round of 67 that was his best of the tournament. He had three birdies over his first five holes on the first, par-three fourth and fifth to get to three-under in a hurry. He would stay there with two more birdies and two bogeys over his final 13 holes. His fourth and fifth birdies of the round came on the seventh and 15 holes, while his bogeys were on the sixth and 10th.
Stalter jumped up 24 spots into a tie for 27th and matched Homa’s three-under par round of 67. He started on fire with a pair of birdies on the first two holes. He bogeyed the third hole but subsequent birdies on the seventh, par-four 11th and par-three 14th got him to four-under for the day before he bogeyed the 15th.
Pace Johnson (71-77-72 – 220) was the other Cal player to participate in the event and inched up four spots on the day into a tie for 62nd in the final standings. Johnson’s two-over par round on Saturday included three birdies (1, 7, 16) and five bogeys (6, 9, 10, 13, 18).
“We’ve had depth up-and-down the lineup all season,” Desimone said. “You saw evidence of that again here in this tournament with three players in the top 10.”
“It’s been that way all year,” Hagy added about the depth. “Everyone seems to have contributed every tournament. Having three players in the top 10 at this event kind of validates that. Our depth is definitely one of our strengths.”
Cal is the nation’s second-ranked team and was the top seed in the NCAA Stanford Regional. The NCAA Regional title was one of many other firsts for the team this season including the Pac-12 title, six team victories and top-five finishes in each of its first 13 events.
“The key for all of us here is to understand where we are and how we’ve gotten here,” Desimone said.
NCAA Division I Golf Championship - West Regional: Top Finishers