FAIRFAX, Calif. -- California finished the 54-hole Mackenzie Invitational in first place after a miraculous comeback. The Bears exorcised their opening day demons yet again, when they posted four scores under par.
They headed into the final round 14 strokes behind day one leader Northwestern. After its final round of 273 (-11), Cal finished with a score of 833 (-19), two shots ahead of the Wildcats' 835 (-17). Northwestern had a commanding lead in first place with a score of 546 (-22) but faltered on the final day with a 289 (+5).
This was the second week in a row in which Cal made a substantial final round charge. Last week in Glenview, Ill., at Northwestern's home tournament Cal posted an early 277 (-11) over the final round to climb eight places in the standings and finish in a tie for second.
The momentum began to build for Cal when senior Peter Tomasulo was among the first players in the club house with a 69 (-2). When Michael Wilson followed shortly after with a 68 (-3), the Golden Bear faithful here at the Meadow club could sense a repeat of last Tuesday. Freshman Brandon Beck obliged when he carded a 69 (-2). Cal still needed one more big score to complete the charge.
Thankfully, it saved its best for last. Senior Scott Carlyle was last in. After a five-foot birdie on 18 to the delight of the crowd, Carlyle had finished with his second 67 (-4) of the tournament.
Carlyle placed in a tie for second in the individual tournament with a score of 206 (-7).
'This is how the playboys play,' an ecstatic Carlyle joked in front of his teammates. 'I didn't know everyone was playing well today. I was putting well on the front nine so I just kept it going. We thought Northwestern was out of reach so we just wanted to pass as many teams as we could.'
UCLA's Scott Conway won the individual crown after a final round 68 on Tuesday. His 200 (-13) broke the tournament record established last year.
Conditions were ideal in the morning at the Meadow Club with little wind and temperatures rising to the low 80s and Cal capitalized. Despite the courses straightforward setup, many players commented on how difficult these old greens were to read. The Meadow Club was founded in 1927 and as a course on the short side (6583-yards); its difficulty lies in the size of the greens. Finding the green in regulation does not necessarily translate into birdie opportunities because of the length of putts and severe amounts of break.
Now the Bears can finally relax after three tournaments in three weeks and prepare for the spring season.
Alister MacKenzie Invitational
Meadow Club Fairfax, CA
Dates: 10/13 - 10/14 Par: 71
Top Five Teams
1. California 277, 283, 273= 833 (-19)
2. Northwestern 272, 274, 289= 835 (-17)
UCLA 280, 274, 281= 835 (-17)
4. Oregon State 279, 279, 287= 845 (-7)
5. San Jose State 276, 283, 288= 847 (-5)