Cal Bears win ASU Thunderbird Invitational
TEMPE, Ariz. (April 8, 2012) -- Cal (276-285-274 – 835, -17) set a school record with its fourth regular-season tournament victory of the year Saturday by winning the ASU Thunderbird Invitational for the first time ever in the event’s 40-year history. Cal trailed San Diego State (282-275-286 – 843, -9) by four strokes heading into Saturday’s final round of the 54-hole event hosted by Arizona State, but the Golden Bears quickly erased that deficit and went on to an eight-shot victory over the Aztecs and New Mexico (289-276-278 – 843, -9). Cal shot a final round of 10-under par that was the tournament’s lowest at the par-71, 7,026 ASU Karsten Golf Course.

Cal’s victory followed earlier wins this season at the Wolverine Intercollegiate, Alister MacKenzie Invitational (co-title) and John A. Burns Intercollegiate. The Golden Bears have finished in the top five in each of their 10 tournaments in 2011-12. Cal entered the ASU Thunderbird Invitational ranked No. 3 nationally in both the Golfstat and Golf World/Nike polls. Golfweek had Cal at No. 6.

“It was both relief and joy,” Desimone added about breaking the school record. “We’ve played so well a couple of other times and been so close.”

UNLV’s Derek Ernst (69-67-68 – 204, -9) earned the tournament’s individual medalist honors.Cal’s effort was led by the duo of Brandon Hagy (67-70-70 – 207, -6) and Joël Stalter (68-71-68 – 207, -6) that tied for third place three shots behind Ernst.

Hagy was two-over par on the day after bogeys on the second and fifth holes, both par-fours, before a birdie on the par-five 10th hole to start the back nine got him going. He caught fire by eagling the par-four 13th hole for the second time in three rounds and making birdie on the par-five 14th to get to seven-under par for the tournament and two-under for the day. Hagy gave one shot back when he bogeyed the par-four 15th. Hagy had three eagles in the tournament that included two in the opening round and is now the nation’s leader in that category with 11 on the season.

Stalter played three-under on the back nine with birdies on the par-four 11th and 15th holes, and the par-three 16th, following an even-par front nine with a birdie on the second hole and a bogey on the fifth.Michael Kim (67-73-70 – 210, -3) tied for 13th on the final player leader board. His one-under par final round started with a birdie on the par-four first hole. His bogey on the 10th hole was preceded by eight pars and followed by another three to leave him even through 13 holes. Birdies on the par-five 14th and 17th got him to two-under for the day and four under for the tournament before his bogey on the par-four 18th gave him his final score.

Max Homa (74-71-66 – 145, +3) soared 12 spots into a tie for 16th in the final standings with a five-under par 66 that matched his best round of the year. Homa’s six birdies that were equally split between par-fours (No. 2, No. 8, No. 13) and par-fives (No. 10, No. 14, No. 17) were dampened by only a single bogey on the par-three 12th.Keelan Kilpatrick (77-78-71 – 226, +13) made a tremendous improvement Saturday to move up 14 spots into a tie for 66th. Kilpatrick was steady with 14 pars to go along with two birdies on the par-four third and par-five 14th holes, to go along with bogeys on the 13th and 18th holes, both par-fours.

Pace Johnson (70-67-71 – 208, -5) had finished tied for fifth while playing the tournament as an individual. Johnson had a wild even-par third round that included seven birdies, three bogeys and two double bogeys.Cal will conclude its 2011-12 regular season by playing April 14-15 at the Western Intercollegiate hosted by San Jose State at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz.

“We know Pasatiempo very well and I like our chances there,” Desimone said. “Our guys are ready to play right now.”

ABOUT THE ASU Thunderbird Invite

54 hole men's college tournament hosted by Arizona State University. Team (best four scores out of five players each round) and individual competitions.

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