BERKELEY, Calif. -- The University of California men's golf team will compete in the inaugural Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge this Monday and Tuesday, Oct 25-26, at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort near the Oregon coastal town of Bandon, Ore. It will mark the first time a collegiate tournament has been played at Bandon Dunes, ranked as one of the nation's top public courses.
Seven teams from both the Pac-10 and Big Ten comprise the field, which boasts the defending NCAA champion Golden Bears, 2002 NCAA champ Minnesota and 2004 Pac-10 champion Arizona. Also playing will be 2003 NCAA medalist Alejandro Canizares of Arizona State, as well as 2004 Pac-10 individual champion Henry Liaw of Arizona.
Five of the 14 teams are currently ranked among the top 25 in the most recent Golfweek poll. Representing the Pac-10 will be Arizona, No. 17 Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, No. 19 UCLA, No. 10 USC and Washington. The Big Ten will be represented by Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, No. 20 Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State and No. 21 Purdue.
Teams will play 36 holes Monday and 18 Tuesday on the par-72, 6,980-yard Bandon Dunes course. Pairings will be determined by a blind draw Saturday night, and the groups of three will consist of either two Pac-10 teams and one Big Ten, or two from the Big Ten and one Pac-10. There will be a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Monday. For Tuesday's final round, which will also start at 8 a.m., teams will be assigned tee times according to score off either the first or 10th hole.
In addition to the normal tournament scoring, in which teams play five golfers and count the low four scores, the conference challenge winner will be determined by counting a league's best six team scores from each round.
The Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge was the idea of KemperSports Management of Northbrook, Ill., Northwestern golf coach Pat Goss and Oregon coach Steve Nosler. KemperSports manages the Bandon property and owns the Glen Club, in Glenview, Ill., which is where the 2005 Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge will be played.
Cal, ranked 19th in Golf World's College Preseason Coaches' Poll, recently had its best showing of the 2004 fall season, placing third at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, hosted by Cal and played at The Meadow Club in Fairfax, Calif., Oct. 11-12. The Bears shot rounds of 281, 288 and 287 to conclude the tournament at 856. Redshirt freshman Kyle Dowden had Cal's top individual finish, tying for fifth with a score of 211 (68, 72, 71). Oregon State captured the third annual Alister MacKenzie Invitational with a score of 848 (282, 283, 283). Purdue was second in the team standings with an 855 (288, 280, 287).
The 2004-05 Cal men's golf team is led by senior Jeff Hood, who placed 10th individually with former Bear teammate Peter Tomasulo at the 2004 NCAA championships. Cal is coached by Steve Desimone, Golfweek's 2003-04 College Coach of the Year, who is in his 26th season directing the Bears' men's golf program.
In Cal's first competition of the fall, the Bears finished tied for 12th with Pac-10 rivals Arizona and UCLA at the Ping/Golfweek Preview, played at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md Sept. 26-27. Cal shot rounds of 305, 294 and 285 for a total of 884. At the Windon Memorial Classic, played at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. Oct. 4-5, the Bears placed 13th with a team score of 905.