Sophomore Cameron Shaw hits Cal men’s golf’s first albatross as Bears finish 3rd

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Rod Commons/Courtesy

Two hundred fifty-eight yards out with a 2-iron club in hand, sophomore Cameron Shaw faced a blind shot with biting winds soaring to more than 30 miles per hour. It was the 10th hole of the third and final round, and the Bears were closing in on Oregon, which was sitting on top of the leaderboard. Shaw swung and saw the ball disappear.

Moments later, he discovered that he had made the first double eagle — an albatross — in Cal golf history. The rare shot propelled him to a tie for first place in the tournament, and Shaw (68-65-71 – 204, -6), who was named GolfChannel.com’s Player of the Week, earned individual medalist honors for the first time in his collegiate career.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was a good shot, but I had no idea where it was,” Shaw said. “A guy told me it was in the hole, and I couldn’t really believe it. It was a bit of a surprise and a lucky shot but helped both myself and the team gain a bit of momentum as a whole in the round.”

Despite Shaw’s outstanding overall play, the Bears still lost by three shots to place third behind first-place Oregon and second-place USC in the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate, hosted by Washington State. The tournament featured the strongest field the Bears have competed against this year, serving as a valuable learning experience for the young team and providing them with a better idea of where they stand in the wide-open Pac-12. A sloppy first round of play and a spike in mental errors from last week’s tournament ultimately held the Bears back from performing better.

“We’re growing as a team, and, in all honesty, we were in position to win this thing had we been more disciplined in our play,” said head coach Steve Desimone. “Overall, we are way ahead of where we thought we would be, and the fact that we have finished in the top three of three events with one of those being a win shows that this team is growing quickly and gaining some confidence.”

After the first round, however, the Bears remained in contention at fourth place and picked up their game. Freshman Sebastian Crampton finished tied for seventh overall, while junior Keelan Kilpatrick tied for 30th, and freshman KK Limbhasut and sophomore Walker Huddy finished tied for 34th and 39th, respectively. As an individual competitor, freshman Ben Doyle struggled through the final round and placed 62nd.

Shaw’s play was the main bright spot for the Bears, as his albatross, combined with an eagle from Kilpatrick, resulted in five under par on two shots that lifted the team to third place.

“[Shaw’s] ball-striking continues to get better and better, along with this short game and putting,” Desimone said. “All of these components are coming together, and we’re seeing the development of a really good player.”

Shaw attributes his improved performance to fewer mental mistakes, which his teammates struggled with. Desimone understands that such mistakes are natural for a young team and has made the elimination of these errors a point of emphasis. As for Shaw, this proved to be the difference between finishing second last week and first this week.

“As long as we control our emotions as best as we can, we will eliminate those mistakes,” Shaw said. “In this tournament, I did not have as many mental mistakes, so that has made me realize that if I can do that and if the whole team does, then we have a good chance of doing very well.”

Vik Waghary covers men’s golf. Contact him at vwaghray@dailycal.org.

Read more here: http://www.dailycal.org/2014/10/02/sophomore-cameron-shaw-hits-cal-mens-golfs-first-albatross/
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