Cal Starts Slow, Ends in Fourth at Conference Challenge

Photo: Cal golfer Stephen Hale posted a 1-over 73 on the final day of competition at the Golfweek Challenge.
Victoria Chow/File
Cal golfer Stephen Hale posted a 1-over 73 on the final day of competition at the Golfweek Challenge.

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The Cal men's golf team was catapulted by impressive play Tuesday from eighth place to fourth place in the final round of the Golfweek Collegiate Conference Challenge.

Junior Eric Mina was the Bears' top individual finisher with a 1-under total that put him in a tie for ninth place, while newcomer Max Homa had Cal's best final round with a 3-under 69.

Florida State overcame a five-shot disadvantage and elevated itself to first place with an eight-stroke advantage over the host and second-place finisher Iowa.

"We hung tough early and saved the round with some birdies," Bears coach Steve Desimone said. "It's important to play well in the final round, and all five guys played very respectably today."

For the third day in a row, Mina scored at least three birdies, finishing with a third-round score of 73. Stephen Hale also posted round of 73 after his double-bogey at the par-4 sixth hole, which countered his three birdies on the back nine.

Aside from a bogey on the 18th hole, Homa's 3-under round spoke volumes about his potential to contribute to Cal this coming season. Fellow newcomer Michael Weaver ended his first collegiate competition with a 1-under round of 71, tying for 30th place. Though Chad Vivolo did not play his best throughout the tournament, he finished strong with a round of 74 on Tuesday.

A combined team score of 5-over under intense, pressure-filled circumstances seemed like an impressive feat for the young Cal squad. Hopefully for the Bears, their play on Tuesday will act as a harbinger for the rest of the season.

Cal has a two-and-a-half week window to hone its skills before resuming competition Sept. 19-20 at the Spartan Golf Classic in East Lansing, Mich., hosted by Michigan State.

Contact Will Leivenberg at [email protected]

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