Reigning Pac-12 Men’s Golfer of the Month KK Limbhasut (67-68-66 – 201, -12) won for the second time this fall and fourth time in his career by capturing individual medalist honors Sunday at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic Invitational hosted by Hawai’i. Limbhasut also won previously this fall at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational as well once each during his 2014-15 freshman and 2015-16 sophomore seasons at the Aggie Invitational and John A. Burns Intercollegiate (shared title) before redshirting in 2016-17.
“I couldn’t ask for a better way to finish my fall season,” Limbhasut said. “I feel like my game is trending in the right direction. I had a really good fall and played really well in the last three events, but I still have some parts of my game that I want to sharpen up for spring.”
“KK played extremely well given the pressure of the final round as well as in the difficult, windy conditions,” Alex and Marie Shipman Director of Men’s Golf Walter Chun said. “I couldn’t be more happy than to see KK get another win today.”
Cal (266-280-283 – 829, -23) was looking for its third straight team win but ended up third behind LSU (268-275-278 – 821, -31) and South Carolina (268-279-281 – 828, -24) in its final event of the 2017 fall season.
“Finishing third isn’t exactly what we wanted but you can’t win everything,” Chun said. “There’s a lot we learned about our games this tournament.”
“We had a good fall season but there is still a lot of room to improve in the spring,” Limbhasut added. “We know what we have to work on in order to compete for a national title.”
Limbhasut started Sunday’s third and final round at the par-71, 6700-yard Royal Ka’anapali Course at the Ka’anapali Golf Resort three shots off the pace of second-round leader and teammate Collin Morikawa (64-68-73 – 205, -8) but shot a blistering five-under par 32 on the front nine to get into the mix. Limbhasut capped his front nine with an eagle on the par-five ninth after earlier birdies on the par-three second, par-four third and par-five sixth.
Limbhasut made par on every hole on the back nine for an-even par 34 but was still two shots behind eventual third-place finisher Andy Spencer of Kansas (68-65-70 – 203, -10) before Spencer had back-to-back bogeys and a double bogey on his final three holes.
Morikawa wound up tied for fifth after losing the lead early in Sunday’s round with bogeys on three of his first four holes on the par-five first, par-three second and par-four fourth. He got two of the strokes back with birdies on a pair of front-nine par-fives (6, 9) but never got back into the mix for the top spot. Morikawa eventually ended two-over for the day after a one-over back nine with bogeys on the par-four 12th and 18th as well as a birdie on the par-three 17th.
“It was a solid fall for me despite not winning an event,” said Morikawa, who had three top-10 finishes in the fall and was tied for 13th or better in all four starts to increase his career totals to 18 top-10 and 25 top-20 finishes in 29 collegiate starts 18th. “I gave myself some good chances the last couple of events but couldn’t close. I’m look forward to preparing for the spring and getting more titles both for the team and individually.”
Kaiwen Liu (67-75-71 – 213, E), Ben Doyle (69-71-73 – 213, E) and Sebastian Crampton (68-73-73 – 214, +1) were also in the Cal lineup with Liu and Doyle tying for 27th while Crampton tied for 31st. Clayton Madey (69-76-78 – 223, +10) tied for 72nd while playing as an individual.
Cal finished the fall with a pair of team victories at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational and Tavistock Collegiate Invitational as well as the third-place finish at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic Invitational in its last three events after starting with a ninth-place showing at the Carpet Capital Collegiate and a tied for ninth-place finish at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational.
“Our team has had a complete turnaround from last season,” Morikawa said. “Although we started off a little rough, we finished the fall on a good note. However, our goal is to come out on top and win, so we now have this offseason to prepare for the spring.
Cal returns to action January 29-30 at the Arizona Intercollegiate.