When the California golf team landed in Roanoke, Va., for the NCAA
championships, the Golden Bears could have been forgiven if they
were happy just to be there. The team receives no funding from the
Cal athletic department, so the Bears award only 2 1/2 scholarships
instead of the typical 4 1/2, which might be why they've never
placed better than sixth (in 1995). Coming into the finals, they
ranked 24th in the 30-team field, and they were the sixth best of
six Pac-10 teams to qualify.
This is an article from the June 15, 2004 issue
They didn't realize, however, that getting to the airport meant
their journey had just begun. "We got lost three or four times
going to the hotel," said coach Steve Desimone. "The guys were
saying, 'Coach, I hope this isn't the way this trip is going to
go.' I said, 'It will get better.'"
He was right. Once the Bears arrived at the Homestead Resort's
6,679-yard, par-70 Cascades course, they won it all, though they
took a similarly circuitous route to get there. After holding a
one-shot lead following each of the first two rounds, the Bears
fell to third place after the third, eight shots behind leader
UCLA, whose women's team had upset heavily favored Duke a week
earlier for the national title.
But when Desimone awoke before Friday's final round and got word
that it was cold, windy and rainy outside, he said, "Yes, yes!
Sounds good!" Based in Berkeley, the Bears frequently play in bad
weather, and Desimone knew that an off track would benefit his
team. In the wet, windy conditions, Cal shot a collective one-under
279, completing a 14-over-par total of 1,134 that clinched the
title by six strokes over the Bruins. Led by senior Peter
Tomasulo's 67 and junior Jeff Hood's 69, the Bears were the only
team under par for the day and one of only two teams to break 290.
Another person who didn't mind the rain was UNLV junior Ryan Moore,
a Seattle-area native who said he'd "played in it every day for
about 18 years." The second-ranked player in the country, Moore was
not quite as big a long shot as Cal, but he was a virtual unknown
behind Bill Haas, Wake Forest's star senior. Haas, the son of PGA
Tour player Jay Haas and winner of the Ben Hogan Award as the
player of the year, had won four times this season while breaking
the NCAA record for scoring average (69.00). He'd already announced
plans to turn pro at the Booz Allen Classic outside Washington,
"Ryan sort of has web feet," UNLV coach Dwaine Knight said of
Moore, and, sure enough, his star proved it, shooting a final-round
66, the best round of the day, to win individual honors by six
shots with a 13-under 267. Haas had a 68 to tie for second with
Chris Nallen of Arizona.
With the upsets complete, Desimone summed up the week for everyone.
"Last night, I said, 'This is it, one great round and we're the
national champions.' And, lo and behold, here we are. Dreams do
Shinnecock Hills will separate the pretenders from the contenders,
which means that after six straight first-time major winners, we'll
get a repeat champion this time.
UP & DOWN
He made the cut, and his tournament had a killer Sunday leader
Almost a year after his British Open win, he finally woke up and
made some noise with the second top 10 of his career.
She won for only the second time in two years and revived talk of a
rivalry with Sorenstam.
The defending Farmers Charity champ was busted for driving while
impaired in Michigan.
After 17 years underground, the big bugs made more noise than
David Feherty and Gary McCord combined.
Going for her third straight Kellogg-Keebler Classic, she had to
settle for a second-place tie.