Cal men’s golf finished in sixth place at the Arizona Intercollegiate after a disappointing third round nixed its chances of placing in the top three.
The Bears started out strong on day one, shooting 20-over par between both the first and second rounds for a second-place finish behind No. 20 Oregon. All the players placed relatively high, especially redshirt freshman William Aldred, who led the Bears with his own second-place finish.
“My first two rounds were very good,” Aldred said. “(My performance) was very encouraging (because it showed me) I have potential to be up there and beating the best — that was my first experience in college golf (getting past) the halfway point.”
But Cal’s meteoric rise to the top of the leaderboard in the Intercollegiate burned out quickly during the third round when Cal fell to sixth after shooting a 12-over par third round. Every player, with the exception of freshman Finigan Tilly, who rose from 57th to 52nd, regressed on the day.
Aldred went from second to 12th, and sophomores Collin Morikawa, who is widely regarded as one of the best collegiate golfers, and Tanner Hughes, who recently won the Saguaro Amateur tournament , dropped four and seven places, respectively. Returning redshirt freshman Sean Yu dropped from 33rd to 64th.
Aldred and Hughes both expressed frustration with their individual performances, but Morikawa seemed to be the most disappointed in his outing.
“In the second round, I struggled the most and had a few putts that really hurt my game,” Morikawa said. “I was just landing shots way out in the field. You can’t do that … you’re playing for a team, and every shot counts.”
Head coach Walter Chun admitted that the Bears didn’t play their best, but that the players could learn from the experience and that the Intercollegiate was a good start to the spring season.
Even though sixth was not the placement the Bears desired, their performances in the Arizona Intercollegiate were still significantly better than most of what they achieved last season. It is clear that the rise to the top of men’s golf is a long, hard road, and if Cal continues to improve, it will be able to make the regional championships.
Maya Rao covers men’s golf. Contact her at [email protected].