The Daily Californian Online

Cal Misfires At Pac-10s As Murphy Claims Fifth

By Will Leivenberg
Contributing Writer
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Category: Sports > Spring > Golf (Men's)

Junior John Murphy knew exactly what the Cal men's golf team needed to do in the final round of the Pac-10 Championship at the Seattle Golf Club in Seattle in order to snag a top-three finish.

"We would need to go low, very low," Murphy said prior to Wednesday's round. "If we could go six to eight under as a team, which I know we can do, we will finish where we planned."

Though the game plan seemed within their reach, the Bears ultimately struggled down the stretch, finishing seventh in the tournament. Cal posted its second consecutive 9-over par in the final round for an overall total of 27-over.

Host Washington won the event as the only team under par at 16-under, with Huskies junior Darren Wallace the individual champion at 11-under.

"We had our fate in our hands and we didn't execute," coach Steve Desimone said. "It was tough stuff the last four or five holes out there, no doubt. It was primarily ball-striking, with a couple into the trees, a couple in the water."

Senior Michael Jensen had an eagle on the 18th hole en route to his 1-under 71 to end the event tied for 31st, but three Bears bogeyed the final hole, including Murphy, who missed a 5-foot putt for par.

Still, Murphy joined PGA pro Charlie Wi and Cal Hall of Famer Ben Furth among a group of only five Bears golfers to accomplish a top-five finish in the conference championships.

"That's outstanding company and certainly a great job," Desimone said. "Murphy had an absolutely fabulous tournament."

Murphy's meticulous nature was perfect for the layout of the par-72 course, which requires precision on almost every hole.

His success was mainly due to his ability to determine yardages well enough to execute on the par-5 holes, on which he was 7-under over the course of the event.

Eric Mina ended in 23rd with an even-par final round and an overall 5-over.

Stephen Hale tied Jensen after finishing the tourney with a 3-over round, and George Gandranata went 4-over on Wednesday to end up in 48th at 13-over.

Senior co-captain Kent Yamane delivered his best round of the tournament with a 1-over 73 to end the event 55th.

"We putted pretty well and overall we did a lot of good things, but we needed to hit the ball better down the stretch and just didn't execute," Desimone said.

Though Murphy had the strongest finish in the event, attention should be given to Mina, who had four of the most consistent rounds among the Bears.

Though Mina, a sophomore at 5-foot-6, 140 pounds, may not intimidate you at first glance, his stats might.

An All-American candidate as a freshman, Mina shot the team-low average of 72.4 in the fall 2008 season and has played consistently throughout the spring.

In the conference tournament, Mina once more demonstrated his talents against the Pac-10 with a top-25 finish in the most competitive field Cal has seen all year.

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