Golf: Cal Falls to Bottom of PAC-10

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Waiting is an accepted facet of golf. Waiting for your playing partners to hit, waiting for your shot to land, and waiting to get to the 19th hole to celebrate a well-played round.

Peter Tomasulo

But the Cal men's golf team must now deal with an excruciatingly difficult wait-whether or not it will qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Until two weeks ago, the Bears were all but assured a bid into the NCAA Regional and a shot at qualifying for the NCAA Championships. A 10th-place finish at the Pac-10 Championship last Saturday puts the bid in serious doubt.

Cal shot a 1501 over four rounds at the Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. USC scored a 15-shot win, shooting a 1-over-par total of 1441.

Trojan Kevin Stadler shot a 3-under 285 to finish second individually, one short behind Stanford's Jim Seki. The Cardinal shot 1456 to place them second as a team, two shots better than host Oregon State.

"It's been a tough week-and-a-half for us," said Cal coach Steve Desimone, referring not only to the Pac-10 Championship but also the U.S. Intercollegiate.

The Bears finished 11th at that tournament, only the second time this season they found themselves out of the top 10.

"Maybe we tried too hard," Desimone said. "We never really got into a good rhythm."

Perhaps the only bright spot for the Bears at Trysting Tree was the performance of sophomore Peter Tomasulo, who finished in 14th place individually with a 3-over-par score of 291.

Tomasulo was also honored as a first-team All-Pac-10 member, the youngest Bear to ever hold that distinction.

Despite Tomasulo's strong play, Cal could not overcome the performances of senior Walter Chun and sophomore George Serra, who finished 58th and 60th out of 60 players, respectively.

The rough at Trysting Tree varied from two to six inches and the course played as long as its 7,022 yards suggest.

"(The course) was difficult," said Chun, who has not been the same player since suffering a foot injury before the Western Intercollegiate earlier this month.

Freshman Chris Ancheta shot a 10-over 298 to tie for 35th, but his health has also been a thorn in the Bears' side for much of this season's home stretch.

A broken wrist sidelined Ancheta for a month after the Bears played in Hawaii in February. At the Western Intercollegiate, he played at a severe disadvantage because of food poisoning.

"The injuries we've had have taken their toll," said Desimone.

Had Ancheta and Chun been healthy, Desimone believed that the Bears would not be on the bubble for making the NCAA Regional. But with lackluster performances in the last two tournaments, Cal will have to play the waiting game.

"We're clearly on the bubble," said Desimone. "We're more likely out than in."

Desimone is one of four coaches from the West region that will use complex statistics and other methods to determine which teams qualify for the regional. Seedings will be announced as early as next Monday, May 6.

"When you look at the whole season, you can make a very strong case that we deserve to go," Desimone said.

Desimone suggests four teams are in contention for the last spot at the West Regional-Cal, Stanford, Arizona State and Pacific. While Stanford and ASU have played well down the stretch, Desimone thinks the Bears have had a stronger season from start to finish.

While Desimone tallies all of the stats, he will have to share his players' burden of waiting to see if they get in to NCAA golf's "Big Dance."

"It's an uncomfortable wait," he said.



The No. 17 Cal women's golf team doesn't have the same question hanging over its head.

After a third-place showing at Pac-10s, the Bears found out yesterday they will compete in their third straight NCAA West Regional beginning May 9 at Stanford. Last year, Cal made it to the NCAA Championships, finishing 19th.


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