All good things must come to an end.
This past weekend the Bears’ winning streak was snapped, coming in second to UNLV in the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. This was an unexpected result; No. 1 Cal defeated UNLV in the former’s own tournament almost a month ago in Las Vegas.
The Bears finished both Friday and Saturday in the fourth spot, finding it difficult to find any sense of rhythm. The team normally gets off to a slow start, rallying the into the top rank in the subsequent days, but this weekend Cal could not recover in such a fashion.
Max Homa started off Friday shooting four-under par on the first 14 holes. The 15th hole was the beginning of his problems, where he scored a bogey. On the par-three 16th hole, Homa shot a quadruple bogey, accumulating seven strokes. The poor shooting performance damaged the Bears’ scoring; Homa eventually finished with two-over par.
No. 1 Michael Kim ended the first day of the tournament ranked sixth, five shots behind the leader Nick Chianello of Oregon State. He only scored two bogeys, but his six pars and single birdie were not enough to propel him into the top five.
Freshman James Yoon, playing in his first competitive tournament at Cal, ended Friday ranked 28th with a score of one over par. He had two birdies on holes 10 and 14, but his three bogies held him back.
Some of the Bears’ best performances of the weekend came on Saturday, but they were only able to climb to 4th place.
Brandon Hagy showed up for Cal, finishing the day six under-par. This marked the best of the best round of the day for an individual, as well as his second-best career performance. His bogey free execution moved him up a total of nine spots to third place overall, just three shots shy of the leader.
However, Hagy’s glimmer of light was not enough to pull Cal up out of the rut.
Michael Kim fell back two spots from sixth to eighth. His three birdies were cancelled out by an equal amount of bogies, leaving him with an even score. Yoon and Joel Stalter also fell back multiple spots, ending day two on a negative note for the Bears.
Going into Sunday, Cal was tied for fourth with UNLV. Unfortunately, the Bears would not be able to surpass their competitors from Las Vegas. UNLV finished the tournament in first place, Cal trailing by a single point.
UNLV closed the nail-biter tournament with a score of 843. Cal finished just one stroke behind.
No. 30 Brandon Hagy tied for second place with No. 31 Scott Fernandez with a score of 203, just one point behind the constant individual leader Nick Chianello.
Just two victories short of stealing the unofficial NCAA record of 10 tournament wins in a season from Oklahoma State, the Bears were disappointed by their loss. However, they still have four opportunities to claim this title.
Overall, Cal has won 14 of its last 23 tournaments dating back to the 2011-12 season. The Bears have placed in the top five of all 23.
Alexa Cammarano covers men’s golf. Contact her at [email protected]