Cal men’s golf fails to capitalize on strong start in Florida

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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After the first day of the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational in Florida, the Bears were tied for second place, and it looked like they just might complete the upset and take home a second straight top-three finish despite the competitive field.

Their luck ran out, however, and a weak second and third round dropped Cal six places to eighth for a disappointing finish.

Cal began the tournament ranked No. 26 by Golfstat, behind seven of its opponents at the Tavistock Invitational, a tournament known for its competitive field. Still, the Bears managed to pull out some strong rounds and challenge their higher-ranked competitors, especially early in the tournament.

In the first round, Cal was led by redshirt senior K.K. Limbhasut, who had a bogeyless round and ended the day tied for third. Senior Collin Morikawa and redshirt senior Sebastian Crampton joined Limbhasut under par for the day and within the top 15.

The Bears looked strong despite the competition, trailing only a Vanderbilt team led by Will Gordon, the tournament’s eventual winner.

“The team played solid today, but we need to make a move to catch Vanderbilt,” Limbhasut said in a press release after finishing the first round. “They played unbelievable golf today.”

The second day, however, proved challenging for Cal, as it was 5 over par as a team. Despite none of the five members on the team having an under-par round, Limbhasut, Morikawa and Crampton maintained their positions in the top 15.

In a press release, Director of Men’s Golf Walter Chun noted that he admired his team’s resilience even on a difficult day.

In the final round, the Bears dropped another spot to eighth place as Limbhasut and Crampton fell out of the top 15.

Redshirt freshman Joseph Chun, despite some trouble early in the tournament, finished with a strong 2 under par in the final round, moving him up more than 20 places into the top 40.

Morikawa also finished strong with 6 under par for the tournament and 4 under par on the last day. He finished in the top five, giving him three straight top-five finishes for the season and nine straight top-10 finishes dating back to last season. He moved up 5 places in the final round to continue this streak, despite not having the strongest first two rounds.

“Honestly, Collin didn’t have his best this week, but he managed himself very well around the course,” Chun said in a press release. “That’s what great players do when their game is off.”

Even after this disappointing finish, Cal maintained its No. 26 position in Golfstat’s latest set of rankings. A strong first round for the team as a whole and a solid final round for Morikawa and Chun served as bright spots in a difficult tournament for the Bears, who hope to come back fighting in their last tournament of the fall in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Akshara Majjiga covers men’s golf. Contact her at [email protected].