Pullman Regional: Cal claims 11th season title
Team winner: California (43-under 821)
Individual winner: Sam Smith, USC, and Michael Weaver, Cal (14-under 202)
Also moving on: Teams – 2. TCU (841), 3. St. Mary’s, Calif. (842), 4. USC (844), 5. Ball State (856); Individual – Rodolfo Cazaubon, North Texas (7-under 209)
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That makes 11
Cal’s 20-shot victory at Palouse Ridge in Pullman, Wash., is the Golden Bears' 11th season victory. Cal already tied the unofficial NCAA record of 10 with its victory earlier this month at the Pac-12 Championship.
Cal led St. Mary’s (Calif.) by only two shots after the first round, but pulled away in the second round. Cal’s 43-under total ties the team’s second-best total this season. The Golden Bears also were 43 under at the Fresno State Lexus Classic, which was victory No. 7 for Cal and a play-six-count-five tournament. The team shot 46 under to win its own Alister MacKenzie Invitational at the par-71 Meadow Club in Fairfax, Calif.
In Pullman, Cal’s Michael Weaver earned co-medalist honors with USC’s Sam Smith. Both shot 14-under 202. Weaver’s teammate Joel Stalter was third, followed by another teammate, Brandon Hagy, in fifth.
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Ball State advanced to the NCAA Championship courtesy of a playoff victory against San Diego State for the fifth and final qualifying spot. Both teams ended regulation at 8-under 856, then had to return to the course to determine who would move on. It’s the first time Ball State has advanced past regional play since 1986.
Both teams sent all five players back to play the par-5 18th, and Ball State’s Alex Stinson was the only player to record a birdie among nine other pars. That gave the Cardinals a one-shot advantage and a trip to the national finals.
Stinson was in the sand after his third shot, but blasted it out to a foot from the hole then tapped in his putt to send the Cardinals to Atlanta.
Ball State, the No. 10 seed at Palouse Ridge, was making its first NCAA regional appearance since 1991. Head coach Mike Fleck was a member of that team, but didn’t compete in the regional, played in Bartlesville, Okla.
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Four of the five players in the San Diego State lineup were making their regional debuts. The Aztecs advanced to match play at last year’s NCAA Championship, where they fell to Cal in the quarterfinals. . . . North Texas’ Rodolfo Cazaubon qualified for the finals as an individual, the first Mean Green player to do so since North Texas’ last NCAA Championship appearance as a team in 1963.