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Max Homa, Cal golf move on to NCAA semifinals

Posted: May 31, 2013 7:24 p.m.
Updated: May 31, 2013 7:24 p.m.

Valencia graduate Max Homa, right, celebrates with his University of California, Berkeley teammate Brandon Hagy on Friday at Capital City Golf Club in Milton, Ga.

 

The Max Homa-led University of California golf team was pushed to the limit on Friday in the first round of match play at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Milton, Ga.

Ultimately the top-seeded Golden Bears fended off pesky Arizona State to advance to the final four for the second straight year.

Cal defeated the Sun Devils 3-2, as the 2009 Valencia High graduate and 2013 NCAA Division I men’s golf champion won his match-play match.

Homa defeated Arizona State’s Trey Ka’ahanui 3 and 2.

They were all square after seven holes until Homa made a par to Ka’ahanui’s bogey on No. 8.

Homa finished him off in 16 holes the day after winning the individual national championship and 30 days since winning the Pac-12 championship.

“He will find a way to get in a rhythm and a zone,” said Cal golf coach Steve Desimone of Homa. “He hits the ball so well and is so confident with his irons, and obviously he’s a great putter. He’s been in this zone for a while now — for the last five, six weeks. ... Max has been the best player in the country for the last six weeks, and it’s not even close. And I suspect we’re going to see it on through the next couple of days.”

But it almost didn’t get to that point.

With both teams neck and neck, Cal golfer Brandon Hagy had a chance to close out ASU’s Jon Rahm for the team win, but missed on a par putt.

On the other side, Cal’s Michael Kim was defeated by ASU’s Spencer Lawson.

On 18, Hagy sank a birdie to give Cal the win.

“That was the first time I exhaled for a half an hour,” Desimone said.

Cal now faces fifth-seeded Illinois in today’s semifinal, while Georgia Tech faces Alabama in the other semifinal.

Alabama ended Cal’s season at this point in the tournament last year.

“I think we mostly know what we’re going to feel. We’re going to feel the emotions that go into (today), understanding how nervous we’ll be, but understanding how to handle those nerves will be a big benefit to us,” Homa said on having the experience of last year. “And also understanding what it feels like to lose. I think everyone understands how much they want to win this thing because of what we went through last year.”

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