Men's Golf Tries to Rekindle NCAA Hopes at Trysting Tree





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What's long, mostly green, very difficult and one of the most respected courses in collegiate golf?

Answer-the Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore., where the Cal men's golf team will battle with nine of its most familiar foes at the Pac-10 Championships.

Play will begin with 36 holes tomorrow, followed by 18 holes Friday and Saturday.

The Bears come into the championship on a sour note, having finished 11th at last weekend's U.S. Intercollegiate. It was only the second time this season they did not finish in the top 10 of a tournament.

"We put our NCAA regional berth in jeopardy with our finish," said Cal coach Steve Desimone, who has led his teams to the NCAA regionals each of the last five years.

Nevertheless, Desimone has faith in his squad.

"We know that we're a lot better than what we showed last weekend," he said.

That claim will be tested tomorrow at Trysting Tree, not exactly a course for the faint of heart. At 7,022 yards, it is one of the longest courses the Bears have played all year.

Adding to its difficulty is the four-inch rough that will penalize errant tee-shots and give players fits on shots around the greens.

When Trysting Tree hosted last year's NCAA men's and women's regionals, the rough was cut as high as three feet in some places.

Though three-foot rough might have sounded unfair last year, Trysting Tree is one of the more hallowed collegiate courses in the nation. In 1998, it was rated the third best collegiate golf facility on the West Coast.

Three Cal players, senior Walter Chun, junior Scott Carlyle, and sophomore Peter Tomasulo have played at Trysting Tree before.

"Peter said that he knows all of the ins and outs of the course, so we'll see how he does," Desimone said.

In last year's NCAA regional, Tomasulo fired a 12-over-par 228 on the same course, finishing in a tie for 85th place.

Peter Tomasulo

But Tomasulo has recently been the Bears' hottest player, recording fourth and eighth place finishes in his last two tournaments. He has seven top-10 finishes on the year, by far the most on the team.

It will likely be up to him to post a score his teammates can try to match. Carlyle and Chun are struggling coming into the tournament, after both finished out of the top 50 at Stanford last weekend.

Though Chun has seen Trysting Tree before, he hopes that he can do better than his last competitive outing there. He shot an 85 in the first round of last year's regional en route to a tie for 112th place.

With USC, Washington, Arizona Washington State and Oregon all but assured regional berths by virtue of their top-40 rankings, Cal will have to grapple with Arizona State, UCLA, and Stanford in order to assure itself a berth in next month's NCAA regional in Albuquerque, N.M.

A committee of college coaches uses a complicated selection process to decide what teams qualify for the NCAA. Desimone is on that committee.

"If the season ended right now, I'm not sure if we'd make it," he said.

Steve Desimone

USC and Washington are considered the favorites this week. Each team boasts one of the best players in the nation-Kevin Stadler, son of Craig "The Walrus" Stadler, leads USC, while Brock Mackenzie powers the Huskies.

But each team in the Pac-10, including the Bears, has shown it is capable of high finishes this season. Desimone knows that his squad has yet to hit its stride this spring.

"Hopefully, it will be our turn to do some damage this week," he said.

Huarte's solid play has women's golf in fifth

The No. 17 Cal women's golf team finds itself in fifth place after two rounds of the Pac-10 Championships in Walla Wall, Wash.

The Bears fired a 299 Monday at the 6,199 yard, par 72 Walla Walla Country Club, good enough for third place.

Tuesday saw Cal's score rise by nine shots to 308 and a two-round total of 30-over-par.

Leading the way is Arizona at 21-under. UCLA is three shots back, followed by USC, Arizona State and Cal.

Bears sophomore Sarah Huarte continued her stellar play. After shooting a 73 to lead Cal and tie for fifth overall Monday, Huarte finds herself in seventh heading into today's action. Huarte has finished in the top 25 in her last eight tournaments.

Ria Quiazon is the only other Bears golfer in the top 10 with a 7-over-par.

UCLA's Yvonne Choe sits atop the individual leaderboard with a 1-under-par total of 143. Lorena Ochoa from Arizona, Mikaela Parmlid from USC, Jimin Kang from ASU and Laura Myerscough of the Wildcats round out the top five.

The final round begins today at 9 a.m.

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