Player Diary: California's Joel Stalter (Part 7)
The last two weeks have been pretty hectic for the Golden Bears, competing in the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters and last week in Tucson, Ariz., for the National Invitational Tournament. On top of that, most of us had midterms and projects due, which kept us very busy on the road.
UNLV’s tournament is definitely one of the most prestigious events and arguably one of the best fields we see all year. It is a fantastic test of golf and a great opportunity to compete with some of the best amateurs in the world.
The vibe was a bit different this year as the team finished eighth, which was by far our worst result in my last three years at Cal. In fact, the team had not been outside the top 5 in its last 39 tournaments. Tough weeks happen and this is something we understood early on when we committed to the game. Nothing wrong in getting a good slap in the face sometimes!
If we want to get better and grow as a team, we need to use that experience as a lesson that will help us improve as we move further into the season.
The week after, we managed to bounce back in Arizona, picking up our sixth win of the season, and winning by a large amount over No. 2 Oklahoma State and SMU. This was a big week for us. The team was eager to bounce back and move on from Las Vegas. As a captain, I am really proud of the team’s reaction, which showed what the Golden Bears are made of.
Now is the time for the team to enjoy a sunny spring break with friends and families. I have always loved the fact that Coach Desimone gives us the week off instead of scheduling tournaments. This gives us a chance to relax, spend time with our families and work on our game. Interestingly, I have noticed over the years that it played into team performance, as we are “fresher” to attack the end of the season.