Preview: California computes as the team to beat
There’s no debate about college golf’s top team as this new year begins. The Cal Bears begin 2013 with an unblemished record after winning all five of their fall starts. The Bears won preview tournaments for the NCAA Championship (Ping/Golfweek Preview) and the nation’s strongest conference (Pac-12 Preview), plus the Isleworth Collegiate, Gopher and Alister MacKenzie invitationals.
“I don’t get too excited about stuff very often,” said junior Michael Weaver, the U.S. Amateur runner-up, “but this is pretty sick.”
The Bears returned all five starters from last year’s team that finished sixth in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, and added Weaver, who redshirted last season. Cal has won seven of its past eight tournaments dating to last season. It also won the Pac-12 and West Regional titles before advancing to the NCAA Championship semifinals.
Sophomore Michael Kim is No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarins after winning Isleworth. Four Bears – Kim, senior Max Homa (17), junior Brandon Hagy (22) and Weaver (25) – are in the top 25. Their incredible fall won’t be remembered quite as fondly if it doesn’t result in an NCAA championship, though.
“We want to improve every day,” said head coach Steve Desimone, whose 2004 Bears won the NCAAs, “and if we do that, then we’ve got a real shot at a second NCAA Championship. We’ve played all the best teams in the country, and we’ve beaten them all at least once.”