Sports in Brief — July 22, 2013

Michael Kim falls just short in thriller at US Amateur Public Links Championships

Cal’s Michael Kim fell just short of winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship on Saturday.

Kim went up against Jordan Niebrugge in the finals and immediately birdied the first hole to put himself in the lead. However, Niebrugge took the second hole, and the match was tied.

From then on, Kim fell behind. With 10 holes left, he was four holes back. It looked like a comeback would be impossible.

Then, the impossible began to happen.

The 36-hole match dragged on with Kim trailing. Niebrugge was playing nearly mistake-free; he didn’t hit a bogey in the first 30 holes. But on 13 — and the 31st hole of the match — he hit his first bogey. The race was on.

Kim started to slowly make up ground against Niebrugge, and the margin was soon at just one hole.

When the final hole came around, Kim was just one back. Tension hung in the air.

However, Kim’s fairway shot landed in the water hazard, and he had to take a penalty. Niebrugge, who was playing more conservatively, had no such problems. When he made par, the match was over, and Kim conceded defeat.

Kim was disappointed but not bitter.

“I just have to keep improving, and we’ll see what happens next year,” he said after the match.

Cal women’s basketball releases nonconference schedule

If there was any doubt about it before, let there be none now — the Cal women’s basketball team is an elite squad.

The team recently released its 2013-14 schedule, and the nonconference games are a doozy.

Cal plays both UConn and Duke, the two teams that are projected to start the year ranked at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. And the Huskies are the defending national champions. Other squads, like Georgetown, Pacific and Northwestern, will also not be easy matches.

The schedule reflects the changing identity that the Cal women’s basketball team has, as all the top teams want to play each other. It is now clear that Cal has earned that reputation among colleges across the country, no doubt due in large part to their Final Four appearance last season.

Though the schedule may be tough, it gives the Bears a chance to prove themselves as one of the top teams in the country. After all, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

Muhammad wins Cal-Hi Athlete of the Year for second year in a row

Cal football recruit Khalfani Muhammad just completed a feat that has not been accomplished for 109 years.

Muhammad was named the Cal-Hi Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row, something not done since 1904.

He also was only the third sprinter in state history to win state championships in the 100- and 200-meter sprints for two years running, an achievement that no doubt contributed to the award.

Muhammad will play running back for the Bears in the fall as a freshman.