KAHUKU, Hawaii (Feb. 15, 2012) --- Cal has jumped out to a four-stroke lead at the end of the first round Wednesday at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate. Cal is attempting to defend the team title they won at the event last season and also tie a school record with a third victory of the 2011-12 regular season. Max Homa and Joël Stalter are tied for second place after shooting opening-round scores of 66, one shot off the lead of Duke's Julian Suri following his first-round seven-under par 65.
The performances of Homa and Salter led a team effort that includes all five Golden Bears shooting under-par rounds at the event hosted by Hawai'i at the par-72, 7,218 yard Arnold Palmer Course at the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore. Homa is a defending individual medalist at the event, having reached a playoff at the 2011 Burns before being defeated on the first hole of the extra session.
"It was a real solid start today," head coach Steve Desimone said. "It's nice to be in the lead. We were in a similar position a couple of weeks ago [at the Arizona Intercollegiate] and couldn't hold it, but I like our chances here. There was obviously tremendous play today right across the board. We got off to a pretty good start and just kept right on going."
"The team played really well and has been doing so since this semester started so it's not too surprising," Homa said. "I like our chances this week, and I really hope we get the job done. I'm confident about the way everyone is playing."
Playing from the team's No. 5 spot and with the first tee time of the day, Homa fired seven birdies and 10 pars, with his only blemish a bogey four on the par-three 224-yard fourth hole. He spread out his first three birdies on the front nine evenly on the first, fifth and nine holes. His final four birdies on his back nine score of 32 came in a rash with three in a row on holes 12-14 and another on 16.
"Today I really kept the ball in play nicely off the tee and then took advantage of some pretty good approach shots, and made a good number of putts from 10-15 feet," Homa said.
Stalter matched Homa's six-under par round with an identical round of seven birdies, 10 pars and one bogey, as well as a 34 on the front nine and a 32 on the back. His birdies were also spread evenly on the front nine on the third, sixth and ninth holes. His back nine birdies came on 12, 14, 16 and 17.
"We are looking forward to tomorrow," Desimone said. "New Mexico and UNLV are both highly ranked teams and they aren't going to roll over for us. We're going to have to go out and win this. We're going to have to keep pushing on and making birdies."
The 54-hole tournament continues with 18 holes of action scheduled for both Thursday and Friday. The first tee times are scheduled each day for 7:30 a.m. HT/9:30 a.m. PT.
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