Bears Fend Off Pesky Aztecs, Win MacKenzie Invitational

Cal Survives San Diego State's Final Round Rally, Wins Second Straight Tournament

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The No. 17 Cal men's golf team eked out a win at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational in Fairfax, Calif., after a final round in which the Bears nearly squandered a 10-shot lead.

What seemed like a runaway victory for Cal turned into a dogfight down the stretch, as No. 15 San Diego State surged in yesterday's round by shooting a 16-under par 268. The Aztecs eventually finished at second place with a total team score of 46-under par.

San Diego State did find some consolation, as Aztecs junior Alex Kang captured the individual title with a 3-round score of 16-under par. Pac-10 rival Oregon State finished a distant third at 27-under par.

The Bears, who cruised comfortably into the final round after running the show with scores of 262 and 266 in the first two rounds, found themselves fighting for their lives over the final 18 holes. As they headed into the final round, coach Steve Desimone predicted the battle that would ensue during the final day of play.

"We have another round to go tomorrow," Desimone said after Monday's round. "It was great to play this way for two rounds but San Diego State is also a great golf team and is not going way. Hopefully we can keep it going tomorrow."

Cal did keep it going, but found itself unable to keep up with the play of San Diego State, as birdie after birdie dropped for the Aztecs.

However, led by outstanding rounds from freshman sensation Ben An and senior Stephen Hale, Cal managed to close the door on a remarkable San Diego State comeback by mustering a final round 8-under par 276.

The Bears finished at 48-under par for 54 holes, just two ahead of San Diego State. Hale, who finished by himself at fourth, fired an electric 14-under par 199 over the three rounds, building off of his excellent play last week at the Prestige at PGA West. An, who led all individuals heading into the final 18 holes of play, finished tied for second at 15-under par for the tournament.

In just his fourth tournament as a collegiate player, An nearly left Fairfax with the individual title, but was bested by the red-hot Kang. Sophomore Max Homa, who has been the core of Cal's lineup this season, sputtered on the final day with a 74 and finished tied for 16th, along with senior Eric Mina, at 5-under par.

Sophomore Michael Weaver rounded out scoring for the Bears with a score of 3-under par for the tournament, good enough for a share of 29th place.

In a tournament where scores were low as ever, Cal did just enough to capture its second consecutive victory, and second overall this season.

The Bears, who captured the Prestige at PGA West in La Quinta, last week, have looked sharp all season, and their results are finally meeting their expectations.

"We go into every tournament thinking we have a shot to win," Desimonesaid at the beginning of the season. "We have the ability to do it, we just have to perform."


Aaron Lee covers men's golf. Contact him at [email protected]

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