For the first time since 2019, Cal men’s golf will play in an NCAA regional tournament, continuing its quest for a second national championship in program history.
The Bears earned an at-large bid to the Morgan Hill regional on May 3, making it the 24th time that the Bears will play in an NCAA regional tournament since 1990. The Bears lucked out earning a bid to Morgan Hill, which is set to be hosted by San Jose State — Cal will now have played the last six tournaments in the state of California.
The tournament will span three days, beginning May 15 and ending May 17. The Bears are seeded 10th in the 13-team tournament, which will also feature four of the nation’s top-25 schools in No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 Florida State, No. 18 Mississippi State and No. 19 Arizona.
The blue and gold have continued to show improvement this season, producing major success as the stakes grow larger. Placing in the top-five five times this season, including a first-place finish in October, Cal has been able to hold its ground against the top programs in the country.
Along with the team, the players have carved out standout solo campaigns this season and now get a chance to experience competition at a higher level. One of the top performers for Cal has been Sampson Zheng. The junior has been the heart and soul of the team throughout the season, producing the best season of his collegiate career. As a staple in the lineup this year, Zheng has finished in the top-five four times this season. He claimed his first collegiate win in February and was selected for the 2023 Arnold Palmer Cup International team. He then earned several accolades, including being named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and as the most valuable player of Cal men’s golf.
Zheng’s list of accolades this season speaks for itself, and he will no doubt look to play a key part in leading the Bears to playoff glory.
Alongside Zheng, his veteran teammates Aaron Du, Simon Kwon and Jeewon Park have been powerhouses in the Cal lineup this spring. The trio have qualified for many tournaments this spring, fueling the Bears’ successful season.
In San Jose next week, this young Bears team will face one of the biggest challenges of their collegiate careers. That said, this group has thrived in high-pressure environments. The Morgan Hill regional will be just another installment in a season marked by the Bears going toe-to-toe with top-25 teams.
For the Bears’ story to continue in their best season since 2019, they must place within the top-five to advance to the NCAA championship tournament in Arizona on May 26. The Bears have used their experience and talent to come alive this season and to create the momentum needed to storm into the postseason.