While springtime is typically known for relaxation and recitation, the No. 10 Cal men’s golf team was hard at work at The Goodwin tournament in San Francisco for the first week of spring.
Coming off of a first-place finish at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate and a runner-up appearance at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate, the Bears were eager to continue their recent success after cracking into the top 10 for the first time all season.
Despite fighting gallantly and making a late push on Saturday to close the gap on No. 8 Oklahoma, Cal had to ultimately settle for second place. The Bears did, however, find solace in besting the tournament’s host and archrival, No. 18 Stanford, which finished in third just a handful of strokes behind Cal.
On an individual basis, redshirt junior Sebastian Crampton continued his dominant play, turning in an impressive third-place finish en route to shooting a 205 (-8). Crampton’s strong finish was his third top-five performance of the year.
Joining Crampton in the top 10 was junior Collin Morikawa, who ended the tournament in a tie for fifth after shooting 207 (-6). Morikawa started off hot on the first day by shooting a 66 (-5) but cooled down by his standards on the second and third day, shooting a 69 (-2) and 72 (+1) respectively.
On day one of the tournament, all teams struggled against difficult windy conditions. The Bears were unable to get anything going, with the exception of Morikawa and sophomore Finigan Tilly, who were the only two Bears to post red numbers.
Through the first 18 holes, Cal didn’t strike the ball as well as it had in recent weeks, and the team could not get enough putts to drop. But at the conclusion of day one, the Bears stood in a tie for fifth — just five shots behind the lead pace set by Stanford.
Day two saw Cal begin to make its move. Whereas on day one the Bears weren’t able to convert their chances of catching the leaders, day two saw their fortunes change.
Of the five Cal players participating, four shot rounds under par to catapult the team into second place. The Bears were led by Crampton’s 66 (-5), which moved him into a tie for seventh after beginning the day in a tie for 26th.
Redshirt junior KK Limbhasut and redshirt sophomore Jamie Cheatham also responded well by shooting a 67 (-4) and 69 (-2), respectively. At this point, the Bears sat five shots behind the Sooners.
On the final day of play, Cal attempted to rally past Oklahoma, but it was never able to finish the deal. In the final round, Crampton, Tilly and Cheatham all turned in scores in the 60s, but Morikawa and Limbhasut weren’t able to follow suit.
The bright spot for the Bears came on the 17th hole when Cheatham recorded a hole in one — an exciting way to cap off his 21st birthday. In the end, Cal finished three shots behind Oklahoma and five shots ahead of Stanford.
With one more tournament, Western Intercollegiate, before Pac-12 championship play begins, Cal will aim to keep up its strong play in pursuit of a deep postseason run.