Sampson Zheng (66-66-67 – 199, -11) finished off the top performance of his collegiate career Saturday at the Stanford Golf Course when he placed third at The Goodwin. Zheng’s previous top finish at Cal came in the fall of 2021 when he tied for 18th at the Isleworth Collegiate, while his best tournament score was the one-under par 287 he shot at the 2021 Pac-12 Championships.
“It was a great experience being able to contend for a win,” Zheng said. “I’m really happy to see my work paying off, but I’m hungrier than ever to get out there and grind even harder.”
“Sampson played three fantastic rounds at a tough venue that’s going to host Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Regionals in the next couple of years,” Alex and Marie Shipman Director of Men’s Golf Walter Chun said. “It’s an NCAA Championship type golf course so for Sampson to go out and shoot 11-under par just shows how much he’s grown as a player and how much he’s worked on his game. I really commend him on his good play and am really proud of the effort he has put into his game.”
Zheng had an up-down final round Saturday that started with his second eagle in as many days on the par-five first hole when he hit a seven-iron to within 12 feet of the cup on his second shot and made his putt. He then birdied the par-four second hole by making a 30-foot putt. Zheng also finished strong with birdies on the par-four 13th and 15th, as well the par-four 16th as he played his final seven holes in three-under par. But he played three-over par over the 10 holes in between the strong start and finish with a double bogey on the par-three fourth that he actually saved by making a 30-foot putt, and back-to-back bogeys on the par-four 10th and 11th, while managing only a single birdie during the stretch on the par-three eighth.
“I never gave up even with the bogeys on 10 and 11, and I’m proud of the way I played all three days especially with how I finished,” Zheng said. “I’m very pleased with the way I played today especially with the setbacks of the double bogey and bogeys, but I’m not satisfied and will be back for more. At the same time, it is a good feeling to know that I can still win tournaments even when I’m not playing at my best.”
Zheng finished his third and final round in the morning wave and spent most of the afternoon as the clubhouse leader until individual medalist Peyton Callens (65-67-65 – 197, -13) of Nevada and second-place finisher Lucas Carper (66-65-67 – 198, -12) from UC Davis both passed him over their final four holes. Callens made a birdie on the par-four 18th to break a tie with Carper and record the victory.
Ethan Chung (73-68-72 – 213, +3), Aaron Du (73-74-69 – 216, +6), Tony Chen (71-73-72 – 216, +6) and Finigan Tilly (73-75-72 – 220, +10) were also in the Cal lineup. Chung tied for 65th, Chen and Du tied for 88th, and Tilly tied for 111th in a 147-player field.
Washington (271-277-270 – 818, -22) won the team title after shooting 10-under par Saturday that was the best team round of the day. The Huskies moved up three spots after starting Saturday’s action in fourth place and finished three strokes ahead of second-place Nevada (272-275-274 – 821, -19). Cal (283-281-280 – 844, +4) placed 15th in a 28-team field with the Bears moving up two spots both Friday and Saturday while improving their team score in each of their final two rounds.
Cal returns to action April 11-13 when the Golden Bears play at the 75th Annual Western Intercollegiate presented by Top Golf and hosted by San Jose State at the Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz. Golf Channel will televise three hours of live action from the 54-hole event each day (Monday and Tuesday, 4-7 pm PT; Wednesday, 1-4 pm). First tee times Monday and Tuesday are 9:06 am, while Wednesday’s action begins at 8 am.