Cal men’s golf is closing out September by heading to premier golf destination, Scottsdale, Arizona — The West’s Most Western Town — for the Georgia State University-hosted Maui Jim Collegiate Tournament, which will take place Sept. 23-25.
No. 11 Cal will be facing golf powerhouses No. 7 Louisiana State University and No. 17 University of South Carolina. The Tigers placed fourth at their most recent tournament, the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic, beating out strong teams like No. 6 University of Florida, while the Gamecocks had a middling showing at the same tournament. Still, South Carolina has won several regional championships, and the school boasts a strong team.
The Maui Jim Collegiate is also hosting other teams from around the country, such as No. 24 Baylor University, which, despite its low ranking, placed ahead of No. 16 University of Alabama and No. 19 Arizona State University in its most recent tournament, the Fighting Illini Invitational.
Cal certainly has many teams to look out for this tournament. And while the Bears were fairly successful last season, finishing second in the Pac-12 Championships, they started this season off less gracefully with an eighth place finish at the Gopher Invitational two weeks ago. A difficult first round and the players’ rocky short games denied Cal victory at a tournament, in which they placed second a year before.
The Bears took a hit this season with the loss of junior All American KK Limbhasut, who was last season’s star. He is redshirting this season to focus on academics. Without Limbhasut, the team seems off its game — only sophomore Collin Morikawa was able to stay on par in the third round of the Gopher Invitational. The other players posted scores well above par.
But Cal has a host of strong players who can redeem the the team in this tournament. Redshirt senior Walker Huddy posted strong scores in the Gopher Invitational. Redshirt sophomore Ben Doyle, who has a good short game, can raise the Bears’ scores in the par-3 holes. Morikawa, who won the Sunnehanna Tournament earlier this year, is considered one of the best collegiate players in the country and had a good showing at the Gopher Invitational.
And while Cal’s short game may be short of standards, the team is strong in long games, apart from a subpar showing in the Gopher Invitational. Despite some hits and losses, the Bears have a strong team, and they certainly have a shot at winning, or at least placing high, at the Maui Jim Collegiate. Cal’s first match will be on Sept. 23 at the Mirabel Golf Club.
Maya Rao covers men’s golf. Contact her at email@example.com