Depth was supposed to be the strength of Cal’s lineup this year. The Bears showed that is the case with an impressive season-opening performance at the Gopher Invitational.
Cal, No. 2 in Golfweek’s preseason rankings, shot 2-under 862 (274-290-298) to win the Gopher Invitational on Monday at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn. The Bears finished 14 shots ahead of second-place SMU (876). Arkansas (888) finished third.
Cal had three of the top four players on the leaderboard. Sophomore Michael Kim (71-72-71) and senior Max Homa (67-70-77) tied for second at 2-under 214. Redshirt junior Brandon Hagy, a semifinalist at the recent U.S. Amateur, was fourth at even-par 216 (66-75-75).
Kent State junior Corey Conners won the individual title with a 3-under 213 total (75-70-68). He began the final round in seventh place, eight shots behind Homa, the 36-hole leader. Conners was the only player to shoot in the 60s Monday, and one of just four players to break par. Spring Hill played to a 79.65 scoring average in the final round.
Conners was an honorable mention Golfweek All-American last season, finishing 49th in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. He had six birdies and two bogeys Monday, and was the only Kent State player to break 80. Kent State finished fourth as a team at 30-over 894.
SMU was led by freshman Bryson Dechambeau, who finished fifth at 2-over 218 (76-69-73).
Cal, which won the 2012 Pac-12 and NCAA West Regional titles and advanced to the NCAA Championship semifinals, returned all five starters from last year’s team and added U.S. Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver. Weaver, who redshirted last season, tied for ninth at the Gopher with a 5-over 221 total (70-73-78).