It was a good run, but the Golden Bears just finish a shot behind SMU and Clemson (who has a tiebreaking playoff coming up) for the last spot to advance 2019 NCAA Men’s Golf final 8, when the teams switch from stroke play to match play.
Cal (292-301-306-298 – 1197, +45) ends their very promising season just a stroke short after 72 holes by 5 golfers (the top 4 scores counting in each round). Bears did insert freshman James Song for senior Sebastian Crampton for Monday’s final round and Song shot a 78 (Crampton’s previous best round was 80 in round 2) - which ends up being the score that was dropped but should be a great experience for the freshman.
Cal senior Collin Morikawa (67-72-76-73 – 288, E) ends up shooting par for the 4 rounds to place 6th. Oklahoma State’s Matthew Wolff won with a -10 score. Morikawa’s final round of 73 is the best for the Bears who got 74 from Jamie Cheatham, 75 from Kaiwen Liu, and 76 from KK Limbhasut. Bears put up their score early and had to wait all afternoon for the rest of the teams to finish, holding on to the hope of more golf until the very end.
Top seed Oklahoma State, last years’s champs, dominated the stroke play part of the championship by putting a -16, which was 31 strokes better than 2nd place. I would be rather annoyed if either SMU or Clemson is able to knock Oklahoma State out in match play first round on Tuesday.
Despite losing 3 special seniors, Cal Men’s Golf will be reloaded with some great returning talents including Song, sophomore Kaiwen Liu, and redshirt junior Jamie Cheatham next year.
Best of luck in their pro career (or other career path) to Collin Morikawa, KK Limbhasut, and Sebastian Crampton.
After a brilliant first day, Cal Men’s Golf (292-301-306 – 899, +35) hit two big speed bumps on Rounds 2 and Round 3 to be 14th at +35 after the first 3 rounds. Golden Bears, who played in the morning with the most of the leaders, had to endure a lot of scoreboard watching in the afternoon to see that their first 3 round score was good enough to be in the top 15.
Bears’ good fortune at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas means that they will have one more round of stroke play to save the season. Only the top 8 teams after the 4th round will advance to match play. Bears are 7 shots behind the current 8th place holder in Clemson. Unfortunately, the 7th place right now is Texas A&M, who is 8 shots ahead of Clemson (15 shots ahead of the Bears). This is not to mention the 5 other teams that are between Clemson and Cal right now in SMU (+29, one back of Clemson), TCU (+30), Ohio State (+31), Pepperdine (+32), and Auburn (+34). Also in the mix is USC (+36) who is just a shot behind the Golden Bears.
In great position to advance is Oklahoma State at -12, a solid +25 strokes on 2nd place Texas and Stanford (both at +13). Oklahoma (+16), Wake Forest (+17), Vanderbilt (+18) are 4th through 6th right now.
You've heard about it but here it is— Cal Men's Golf (@CalMensGolf) May 27, 2019
Collin's clutch birdie putt on 18 today pic.twitter.com/i4M8bbKUph
Individually, Cal senior Collin Morikawa, who had the 1st round lead, is now sitting at -1 which is a tie for 8th, 6 shots behind Oklahoma State’s Matthew Wolff. Sophomore Kaiwen Lieu is the next best Cal Bear at +9 thru 3 rounds, in a tie for 60th place. Senior KK Limbhasut had the strongest 3rd round score of +1; he is at +12 in a tie for 83rd place. Senior Sebastian Crampton had struggled the most on the team at +28 through 3 rounds. Crampton tied with Cheatham at +9 on Sunday. I don’t know if Cal head coach Walter Chun will want to sub in freshman James Song for either guy. While Crampton has struggled, he’s also a seasoned vet who’s collegiate career is on the line.
Bears will start at the 10th tee at 9 AM PT. Golf Channel will have live coverage from 1-5 pm PT on Monday. Hopefully, the Golden Bears will be watching the Golf Channel coverage along side their fans hoping that their strong morning of golf will be enough to put them in the top 8 and into match play starting on Tuesday.
HOLE ON YOU BEARS!