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Golden Medals: Cal M. Golf dominates spring opener and has high ambition; M. Tennis bests USC

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Also updates on Swim, Gymnastics, Softball, Lacrosse, and Women’s Water Polo

Signs of more things to come this spring for Cal Men’s Golf?
Cal Men’s Golf Twitter

Cal Men’s Golf dominated at The Farms Invitational to open spring season

I have been pretty excited about Cal Men’s Golf for the last few years given the talent level on the team. Bears suffered a rare down year two years ago (first year after program alum Walter Chun was promoted to be the new head coach) when they were an one man show led by Collin Morikawa when KK Limbhasut, Sebastian Crampton, as well as Jamie Cheatham all simultaneously took a redshirt season to focus on academics. Then last year, the strong on paper squad never really gelled by the NCAA and the Bears missed the postseason yet again. In the spring of 2019, this special group of seniors will try to leave a lasting legacy and win the program’s 2nd NCAA championship this semester before graduating.

The foursome of Collin Morikawa, KK Limbhasut, Sebastian Crampton, and Ben Doyle will likely take a spot in the official Cal lineup of 5 going forward. Cal actually have quite a number of excellent choices (freshman James Song was the choice this past week, redshirt junior Cheatham is also an option) to be the 5th player - reminder, only the top 4 scores each round will count toward the team total. Head Coach Walter Chun has so much faith in this group that he’s almost not joking when he said that he’s expecting the Golden Bears to go undefeated the rest of spring. I agree that that is a realistic goal.

Led by Morikawa, Ben Hogan award finalist last year as one of the top 3 Amateur Golfer and again on the Ben Hogan watch list for this year, the Bears were playing at a different level than all the other teams at The Farm Invitational earlier this week. Morikawa was the best individual, winning by a career best 11 stroke in the 3 round event. Cal as a team won by 36 strokes.

THE FARMS INVITATIONAL – FINAL LEADERBOARDS (after 3 of 3 rounds, 2 of 2 days, 54 of 54 holes)

The Farms Golf Club (Par 72, 6947 Yards)

TEAM

1. California (283-286-274 – 843, -21); 2. Loyola Marymount (297-291-291 – 879, +15); 3. Long Beach State (290-304-290 – 884, +20); 4. California Baptist (300-302-288 – 890, +26); 5. New Mexico State (308-302-299 – 909, +45); 6. Sacramento State (306-308-304 – 918, +54); 7. UC Riverside (308-317-296 – 921, +57); 8. Idaho (309-311-306 – 926, +62); 9. Wichita State (313-314-156 – 783, +63); 10. San Diego (322-317-317 – 956, +92)

PLAYER –

INDVIDUAL MEDALIST AND CAL INDIVIDUALS

1. Collin Morikawa (67-71-65 – 203, -13); T3. Sebastian Crampton (72-73-70 – 215, -1); T3. KK Limbhasut (71-74-70 – 215, -1); ^T5. Jamie Cheatham (76-73-68 – 217, +1); 11. James Song (82-68-69 – 219, +3); ^T16. Kaiwen Liu (76-73-74 – 223, +7); T18. Ben Doyle(73-76-75 – 224, +8)^played as individual

Three of the Cal seniors are the best 4 finisher at this event. Bears also had 2 players playing as individuals in redshirt junior Cheatham and sophomore Liu that have done quite well. That depth gives the Bears a nice safety net should one of the top guys get hurt.

The fall season was a mixed bag of results for the Bears but that had to do with the team allowing their players to go play a variety of events - Bears did not always have their best 5 golfers at an event. Bears only won the closing Ka’anapali Classic Collegiate Invitational in Hawaii.

With the back-to-back tournament wins, Cal will look to run the table by winning the Southwestern Invitational (hosted by Pepperdine) next week, Southern Highlands Collegiate (hosted by UNLV) in two weeks, The Goodwin (hosted by Stanford) in late March, Western Intercollegiate in mid-April, Pac-12 Championship (in Oregon) in late April, and then the NCAA Regionals and Championships.

Cal has a special group of guys right now, many of whom will likely be playing golf on your TV in the future. It is the perfect storm for the Cal Bears to win the program’s 2nd NCAA championship after 2004 (even if the NCAA format that requires the final 8 teams to switch from stroke to match play will make it tough).


Cal Men’s Tennis upset No.5 USC down in LA

Given some top teams allowing their players to go play pro events at this time of the year, I am not completely certain as to how to read this result. Nonetheless, it was an exciting moment when the young Golden Bears were able to pull off a 4-3 win over the Trojans down in LA.

Sophomore Jack Molloy came through in the clutch to win his singles match in the deciding 3rd set.

Check out how excited the team were to get this W.

Bears took the doubles point to start this one. With two pairs ranked in the top 20 in the country, the doubles is the strength of this year’s squad. In this case, the top ranked pair for the Bears actually lost their doubles match.

All three Cal singles win came in 3 sets and showcased the Bears’ depth. Bears improve to 2-3 in dual meets on the season.

Cal (2-3) defeated No. 5 USC (5-2), 4-3

Feb. 9, 2019, in Los Angeles

Marks Tennis Stadium

DOUBLES

(1) Holt/R. Smith (USC) def. #8 Brumm/Kikuchi (Cal) - 6-4

(2) #17 Baretto/Kaya (Cal) def. Jaede/Verboven (USC) - 7-6(5)*

(3) Molloy/Zincirli (Cal) def. #21 Cukierman/T. Smith - 6-3

Cal wins doubles point

*Clinched the doubles point

Order of finish: 1, 3, 2

SINGLES

(1) #56 Brandon Holt (USC) def. Jacob Brumm (Cal) - 6-1, 6-3

(2) #4 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. Paul Barretto (Cal) - 6-2, 6-3

(3) Yuta Kikuchi (Cal) def. Jack Jaede (USC) - 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4

(4) Jack Molloy (Cal) def. Riley Smith (USC) - 7-6(3), 6-7(6), 6-3^

(5) Jake Sands (USC) def. Bjorn Hoffman (Cal) - 6-3, 6-2

(6) Ben Draper (Cal) def. #50 Tanner Smith (USC) - 6-4, 2-6, 6-2

Order of Finish: 5, 1, 2, 6, 3, 4^

The Golden Bears will look to build on this big non-conference (the official Pac-12 match is later this spring) win. Bears will travel to Stockton to face UNLV and Pacific on Saturday.


Cal Men’s Swim wins 15 of 16 events vs. USC

The final score of 156-126 doesn’t tell the whole story as Cal Men’s Swimming and Diving did the polite thing and conceded the last 5 events (swimming and “winning” only as exhibition) to USC after clinching the victory last weekend from Berkeley. Senior Andrew Seliskar led the way with 3 victories - in 200 Breast, 200 Free, and 200 IM which earned him the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Week honor. I will also shout out diver Conor Callahan for winning both of the diving springboard events.

Golden Bears improve to 5-0 in dual meet season with the showdown against rival Stanford scheduled for next Saturday.

By the way, the Cal women will host rival Stanford tomorrow in their regular season finale. Check back tomorrow morning for a post/open thread on that meet between the Bears and the defending champs.


Freshmen led the way for Cal Women’s Gymnastics at Utah

The impossible did not happen as the Utes continue their ridiculous home dominance last weekend in winning yet another meet. After upsetting the Utes last year from Haas, the Golden Bears put up a decent fight but it was not enough to beat the 4th ranked Utes on consecutive years.

Freshmen Maya Bordas and hometown girl Milan Clausi (her parents’ are both Utah Utes legends) highlighted the Cal effort.

Bordas as the anchor had this clutch bars routine that earned 9.875. Bears need that score to erase a fall by another gymnast.

Hometown girl Clausi had a 9.90 floor routine. Clausi’s mother Missy Marlowe was a former US Olympian and one of the best gymnast to come through the legendary Utes program.

Cal senior Toni-Ann Williams is still ramping up her training as she recovers from a bad elbow injury last fall. I believe that the Calympian is still on track to compete in the all-around by the end of the season.

Bears will next visit Oregon State on Sunday afternoon in another matchup of two ranked teams. Both the Beavers and the Bears are in that 10-15th range in the rankings, and that is expected to be a close meet.


Cal Men’s Gymnastics posted 5th consecutive season best team total

Trending in the right direction is Cal Men’s Gymnastics.

Bears improved their season total for the 5th straight week, but also finished behind No.2 Stanford for the 5th straight week.


Cal Softball - just what was expected (both good and bad)

Cal Softball are 3-3 to start the year between last weekend and this weekend. Bears were dominant in beating Fordham 9-0 (4 homers, 2 by senior Lindsay Rood in the opener), Incarnate Word (7-0, dominant pitching debut by freshman Alex Perez), and 4-1 over Texas A&M Corpus Cristi.

However, against the 7th ranked (and host) Louisiana Lafayette, the Bears lost 7-1 and 7-3 as Zoe Conley and Kamalani Dung were both hit hard. Conley and the Bears also dropped the Thursday opening game to Texas 10-0 (in 5 innings as the Bears were run-ruled) to start this weekend’s play from St. Petersburg, Florida. Bears will face more major conference opponents this weekend in Notre Dame, Minnesota, and Oklahoma State (also a game against James Madison). This weekend’s action is on ESPNU or ESPN3.

Still, the very early results indicate that the Bears are firmly in that 20th to 30th best team in the country range yet again.


Cal Lacrosse is still searching for defense in season opening losses

That’s a pair of tough home losses for the Golden Bears to open the 2019 season.

Cal lost 15-10 to Michigan (falling behind early then only able to trade goals) and then 13-4 to Denver last weekend from Memorial Stadium. Cal had some defensive issues last year with 3 senior defenders (they typically play 4 in a game) and predictably the defense is still an issue so far.

Bears will play Fresno State and San Diego State from Vegas this weekend. In 2018, Cal lost by one goal to both of these schools - so they should be competitive in these games.


Cal Women’s Water Polo - firmly entrenched as that No.4 team again?

4th ranked Cal Women’s Water Polo are 6-1 on the young season. After some closer matches without star Emma Wright (away with the Canadian team), the Bears had a solid Stanford Invitational two weekends ago.

Bears defeated Indiana 16-7 and Pacific 9-7 before losing badly to host Stanford 17-10.

Bears defeated Pacific again 15-11 from Berkeley last weekend and will travel to UC Davis this weekend.

Next weekend from Santa Barbara in the annual Barbara Kalbus Invitational is when the Bears will test themselves again against the best in the country - UCLA, USC, and Stanford AKA the only three schools to have won the NCAA women’s water polo championships.

The early results show that the Cal Bears still have a way to go to close that gap between themselves and the top 3.

GO BEARS!