Top-ranked Cal captures milestone victory at John A. Burns Intercollegiate
KAHUKU, Hawaii -- No. 1 Cal (284-282-284 - 850, -14) picked up a milestone win at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate on Friday. The victory was the team's sixth in seven outings in 2012-13 to tie a school record -- its third in a row at the event and the 50th career win for head coach Steve Desimone. Joel Stalter (67-70-67 - 204, -8) cruised to an eight-stroke victory for his second win in as many events this spring and his fourth top-10 showing in five tournaments this season.
"This was a pretty big day for the program," Desimone said. "You talk about a confluence of different achievements. This was quite a day in a lot of different places, but the most important thing is that we won and we did it in an absolutely dominating fashion. These guys just keep doing it. We played great golf, and it was fun to watch the guys play.
"If you do this long enough and have some success you're going to win some but 50 is quite a number and I'm very pleased," Desimone said about his personal milestone. "A lot of great players have come through the program who have certainly contributed to that in every respect. It's a very special moment."
Cal finished 27 strokes ahead of its nearest competitor New Mexico (287-303-287 - 877, +13), which entered the tournament as the nation's No. 6 team, but were no match for the Golden Bears. Cal had the top team score during each round of the event and finished with its highest margin of victory this season.
Max Homa (71-68-73 - 212, -4) and Michael Weaver (72-70-72 - 214, -2) placed second and third as each recorded their fourth top-10 finish in seven events this season. Homa's showing was his best of the season as he had previously tied for second twice.
Michael Kim (74-75-72 - 221, +5) moved up eight spots on the final day of competition to finish tied for ninth and extended his string of top-10 finishes to all seven events this season. James Yoon (78-74-75 - 227, +11) moved up 10 places in the final round and ended up tied for 33rd in his collegiate debut.
Stalter started the day with a two-stroke lead on Homa and immediately extended it by making birdie on three of his first five holes on the par-four first, par-five third and par-four fifth. He played bogey-free golf and added birdies on the par-five 12th and par-four 16th for his final score. His birdies on both the fifth and 12th holes were his third each on those holes in as many days. Stalter got to his final 12-under par tournament score by making 15 birdies, only three bogeys and 38 pars during his 54 holes.
"I'm really happy about the team victory," Stalter said. "I think it was a great statement and we showed that we're No. 1 for a reason. As for the individual win, it is a pretty special feeling to win back-to-back events. I could not be happier right now, especially with the way I played during the tournament. I'm looking forward to working even harder and keeping up the momentum."
Homa held onto the second-place position he started the third and final round, despite a one-over par 73 that was his worst of the tournament. He started with a bogey but matched Stalter's birdie on the third hole to pull back to even par. But after back-to-back bogeys on the par-four sixth and seventh holes, he was unable to get back to par all day. He birdied the par-five ninth but then bogeyed the par-four 10th to start his back nine. A birdie on the par-five 12th brought him back to one-over before he finished with six consecutive pars.
For a consecutive day, Weaver had a difficult start only to rebound. Bogeys on the par-three fourth and par-four seventh holes left him two-over par through seven holes after he had been three-over following the first seven holes of his second round Thursday. But back-to-back birdies on nine and 10 brought him back to par and another on the par-four 14th put him back in the red. He doubled the par-three 15th before getting one of those strokes back with a birdie on the par-five 18th for the third consecutive day.
Kim started his round with 10 consecutive pars before a bogey on the par-four 11th. Back-to-back birdies on the par-five 12th for the third consecutive day and par-three 13th after bogeying the hole the previous day put him in the red before he fell back to even with a bogey on 18.
Yoon had a double bogey (3) and three bogeys (10, 13, 15) while his score was dropped for the second time in three days in the first tournament of his collegiate career. But he also arguably provided the most excitement of the day when he eagled the 18th hole. Yoon had both Cal eagles in the tournament, also eagling the par-five 12th in Wednesday's first round. He played the 12 par-five holes during the tournament in a combined five-under par.
"I want to salute the guys, all five guys," Desimone said. "They all played great."