Cal men’s golf star looks to shine among big names

Fairfax, CA - OCTOBER 11, 2016: Cal Men's Golf During the Alister MacKenzie Invitational at the Meadow Club.
Fairfax, CA - OCTOBER 11, 2016: Cal Men's Golf During the Alister MacKenzie Invitational at the Meadow Club.

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This weekend, a very special event is taking place: the Walker Cup. One of the most prestigious tournaments in the entire world, the Walker Cup is an amateur competition between the best from the United States and from Great Britain and Ireland. A competition that dates back to 1921 and has seen names like Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, this competition is no joke. And this weekend, Cal standout junior Collin Morikawa will be one of the representatives for the United States.

“ It’s a tremendous honor for Collin to be in the Walker Cup,” Cal head coach Walter Chun said. “It’s the ultimate dream of every amateur golfer growing up in the United States to represent Team USA in the Walker Cup. I’m so proud of Collin, and I want him to know just how proud I am of him. That’s why I want to be at Los Angeles Country Club.”

The Walker Cup will consist of singles and foursome matches, beginning early Saturday morning and ending Sunday evening. With the United States having lost the last Walker Cup in 2015 in England, the team will certainly look to get revenge and defend home soil.

While Chun and Morikawa will be in Los Angeles, the rest of the team will be across the country in Georgia for the Carpet Capital Collegiate Tournament. Although this presents a bit of a challenge timing-wise, the Bears will have to make do and overcome this obstacle. Especially considering that this is the first tournament of the year, Cal will be looking to get off to a strong start to its season.

With eight of the fifteen teams in the competition ranked inside of the NCAA Top 25, the Carpet Capital Collegiate Tournament will be a good early-season indication as to how the Bears stack up against some of the top competition in the country. While the team will certainly miss Morikawa and its coach, this presents a great opportunity for other players to step up and prove their worth.

“The message is that we’re the only West Coast team playing this weekend,” Chun said. “The only team traveling cross-country. No polls have us ranked in the preseason Top 25. We have a lot to prove to ourselves and to our East Coast competitors, but I rather we compete with our backs against the wall early on this season and test what kind of character and resiliency these golfers have.”

With the team on opposite sides of the country, Cal golf fans will have a busy weekend keeping track of both competitions. Both are certainly important in their respective ways — one has national pride involved, and the other has the opportunity to provide an early-season confidence boost. Hopefully for the Bears, both competitions go according to plan and things get off to a bright start.

Praveen Kuruppu covers men’s golf. Contact him at [email protected].

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