(photo by Stan Liu Photography: The group that got the Bears back to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2004 (from left): Associate head coach Walter Chun, Eric Mina, Michael Weaver, Stephen Hale, Brandon Hagy, Max Homa, head coach Steve Desimone.)
Cal has advanced to the NCAA Championships in men's golf for the first time since the Golden Bears won their lone national title in the sport by finishing in a three-way tie for third place at the 2010 NCAA San Diego Regional that concluded on Saturday. The Bears, who have never won an NCAA Regional title in 15 appearance, did record their best finish in an NCAA Regional ever by placing one spot higher than fourth-place showings in both 1998 and 1999.
Cal started Saturday's third and final round of action in sole possession of second-place and just two shots behind eventual winning Oregon, and moved into a tie for first-place at nine-over par early in Saturday's third and final round at the par-72, 7,360-yard Carlton Oaks Golf Club. However, the Bears quickly fell well off the pace and finished 22-over par for the tournament (+12 for the day) and in a three-way tie with Tennessee and UNLV for third-place. All three teams finished seven spots ahead of sixth-place Central Florida to gain spots in the NCAA Championships to be played June 1-6 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Augusta State was second at +16 over par for the tournament after a three-over par effort on Saturday that was the day's second-best behind Oregon's two-under round of 286.
Michael Weaver was Cal's top individual finisher with an eighth-place showing that was the best NCAA Regional finish by a Cal player since Peter Tomasulo was tied for sixth in 2004, scoring a 54-hole total of one-over par 217 and firing a one-over par 73 on Saturday. Weaver was four shots behind winner Nick Delio of Cal State Northridge (71-69-73 - 213, -3), who earned a spot as an individual in the NCAA Championships by shooting the lowest score by a member of a non-NCAA qualifying team.
Other Cal players participating in the event included Brandon Hagy (T-21st, 74-74-75 - 223, +7), Stephen Hale (T-28th, 75-72-77 - 224, +8), Max Homa (T-28th, 75-72-77 - 224, +8) and Pac-10 individual medalist Eric Mina (T-39th, 76-75-75 - 226, +10).
Visit CalBears.com for a complete recap.