Cal men’s golf hosted and participated in a three-round tournament over just two days Monday and Tuesday. Understandably, the Bears were a little tired heading into Wednesday’s Big Match with Stanford.
That is, until they took one look at the Cardinal men’s golf team.
“After the MacKenzie … I was a little burnt out driving to the Big Match this morning. I thought, ‘OK, it’s just kind of an exhibition.’ But then I pulled into the parking lot and saw the Stanford guys walk to the range, and all of a sudden, the juices started flowing. Then it’s like, let’s go!” said assistant coach Chris Massoletti.
Massoletti said he relayed that story immediately to his Bears, who waited on the range before the round. He said they responded with the same sentiment.
“That’s the best thing about having a rivalry right down the road — these guys are such competitors. And the coolest part about this match is the girls feel the same way. It’s really special,” Massoletti said.
Cal made it a particularly special outing, as it snatched the coed, six foursome best ball tournament behind a 3-2-1 victory, which went right down to the wire.
After Cal’s pairing of Connor Golembeski and Elena Arias logged the first Cal victory of the afternoon, Kento Yamawaki and Kristine Tran followed it up with a triumph of their own to put pressure on Cooper Hunt and Sofia Lundell. Hunt and Lundell capitalized by parring the 18th hole, while their Stanford competitor left an 8-foot putt about half an inch short to give Cal its second straight Big Match victory.
“I think it was a really good team effort. I spent a lot of time with that final group of Sofia and Cooper, and it seemed that whenever Cooper was in the hole, Sofia could help him get out and vice versa. Also, they didn’t put pressure on each other, so it was more relaxed,” Massoletti said.
The rivalry win was exhilarating for the Bears and provides fuel to a steadily burning fire. Cal men’s golf will look to keep the spark alive as it heads to Windermere, Florida for the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational next weekend.
Ethan Waters covers men’s golf. Contact him at [email protected].