DUBLIN, Ohio – Cal (281-280-281 – 842, -10) closed out a second consecutive dominating victory Monday at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational. Brandon Hagy (71-67-69 – 207, -6) led the way by winning individual medalist honors for the second time in his collegiate career and the first time in three events this season after previous second and third-place finishes at the Gopher Invitational and Saint Mary’s Invitational.
The Golden Bears finished 19 strokes ahead of second-place Oklahoma (291-282-288 – 861, +9) following 54 holes of action during the two-day event at the par-71, 7,455-yard Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club. Cal won by 30 strokes in its previous tournament at the Saint Mary’s Invitational last Monday-Tuesday.
“It’s been a heck of a week,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “There were a number of good teams here at this event. I’m very pleased and proud of the way the guys played.”
Cal has now won 20 of its last 31 stroke-play events overall since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign and finished in the top five in all 31.
“Success breeds success,” Desimone said. “When you’ve got four of the five guys back from the best team in the history of college golf it’s hard to establish a new identity. I would be happy to continue the identity we’ve had here the last couple of years, especially last year. That tradition is winning golf tournaments. It always feels good. It never gets old. These guys like to win, they know how to win and they’re showing it again.”
“It was a really solid performance by our team and a really solid win,” Hagy said. “I told the guys last night that great teams extend leads in the final round and that’s exactly what we did. Everyone contributed.”
Hagy started Monday’s third and final round with a one-stroke lead and found himself two shots ahead going into the final two holes in the last group of the day. Hagy bogeyed the par-three 17th but was able to make par on the par-four 18th to secure the victory.
“I felt confident going into today,” Hagy said. “I’ve been close in my last three tournaments going back to my last tournament of the summer. I used the experience of those events to my advantage today.”
Hagy started the round strong with the first of his four birdies on the par-four first hole. He also had birdies on the par-three eighth and par-four 10th and 15th. His other bogey came on the par-three fifth.
“In the final round you usually have to make a couple of clutch putts to win, and I definitely did that today,” Hagy said.
“It was a well-deserved victory,” Desimone added.
Pace Johnson (71-68-70 – 209, -4) and Shotaro Ban (68-72-72 – 212, -1) posted their best collegiate finishes with third and sixth-place showings.
“Both Pace and Shotaro played well in their previous event at Saint Mary’s and have been playing well in qualifying,” Desimone said. “Typically when guys are playing well and with confidence that run keeps going and that’s exactly what’s going on with both of those guys. They are both really playing well and hitting lots of good golf shots. Both guys are contributing in a major way.”
Michael Weaver (71-73-73 – 217, +4) finished 10th and Michael Kim (72-76-70 – 218, +5) tied for 11th in the 60-player field.
Johnson was also in the running for individual medalist honors and reached six-under par for the tournament after his fourth birdie during a nine-hole stretch on the par-five 12th before bogeys on the final two holes dropped him into third place. He also had birdies during his run on the par-five fourth, par-four seventh and par-three eighth. He had three bogeys on the day with his other on the par-four second.
“I would consider this the most solid college tournament I have played so far in my career,” Johnson said. “Since school started this year, I have never worked so hard to get better and improve the talents God gave me as an individual. It’s such a special opportunity to get to play for this team, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds.”
Ban posted another solid round with three birdies (7, 10, 12) and four bogeys (2, 5, 11, 14).
“I played consistent today,” Ban said. “Even though I missed a few putts from inside 10 feet, I told myself to be patient because these are final-round pins. I knew the team was playing well so I just tried to grind every shot out to keep the team in front.”
Weaver had two birdies (4, 18) and four bogeys (1, 7, 9, 11) during his two-over par round, moving up two spots in the standings although his score was the one dropped from the team’s total.
Kim jumped up 11 spots and was one-under par despite hitting seven bunkers, making pars on six of those holes. He finished with three birdies (7, 13, 16) and two bogeys (3, 14).
Cal returns to action October 14-15 when the Bears host the Alister MacKenzie Invitational at the Sonoma Golf Club in Sonoma.
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