The Tavistock Collegiate Invitational calls itself “college golf’s Major Championship,” and it’s easy to see why. The invitational regularly hosts a slew of top collegiate golf teams and college sports powerhouses.
Despite the competition, however, the Bears came out on top last year, securing two back-to-back victories at invitationals. But this will undoubtedly be a difficult title to defend, as Cal takes on some of its toughest competition of the year from Oct. 21-23 at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Florida.
On Oct. 16, Golfstat released its first set of rankings of the year, placing Cal just outside the top 25, at No. 26. Seven of the other teams competing at the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational outrank the Bears, with the University of Illinois in the top 10 overall.
This will undeniably be some stiff competition, but Cal has been looking strong of late. The Bears were one round away from winning their second straight Alister MacKenzie Invitational last week but fell victim to a record-breaking performance from Pepperdine, which held them off. Coming off of this disappointment, Cal is looking to prove itself to be a team that can close out tournaments, as it did last year.
In last year’s event, the Bears came back on the final day of the tournament to gain 10 strokes on their opponents, propelling them to a one-stroke victory over Florida and Illinois. Both teams are back to the tournament to exact their revenge, but Cal is prepared to take them on.
The Golfstat rankings show senior Collin Morikawa as No. 2 overall among men’s Division I golfers, with redshirt senior Sebastian Crampton within the top 100 and redshirt senior K.K. Limbhasut and sophomore Kaiwen Liu both in the top 200. With redshirt freshman Joseph Chun rounding out the lineup, the team seems to have the depth to challenge for the tournament title once again.
Last year, their depth is what led the Bears to a one-stroke victory, with Limbhasut and Morikawa both placing in the top 20 and finishing under par while Liu and Crampton came close behind. At the time, Morikawa attributed the victory to a strong team performance, which Cal can hopefully replicate this year.
Morikawa outranks all other competitors in the tournament and is looking to upgrade his second-place finish from last year to a first. But his path to victory does not look easy. Arizona State’s Chun An Yu ranks just behind Morikawa at No. 3, and LSU’s Chris Woollam also ranks in the top 20. It will be interesting to see if Morikawa can claim his first victory of the season among such a competitive field.
Cal looks to prove itself as a top collegiate golf team and put up a strong performance against some of the nation’s best this weekend. As Director of Men’s Golf Walter Chun mentioned after their loss last week, the Bears have shown themselves to be resilient and ambitious, but closing out matches against tough competitors continues to be a struggle. This is hopefully something that they can overcome as the Bears look to defend their Tavistock Collegiate Invitational title this weekend in Florida.
Akshara Majjiga covers men’s golf. Contact her at [email protected].