Cal Golf: Bears slide to seventh, Collin Morikawa now tied for second at NCAAs

Collin Morikawa said he needs to convert more putts on Sunday.Photo by Todd Drexler, SE Sports Media

Bears need to stay among top 15 on Sunday to remain alive in the team competition

Cal took a step in the wrong direction on Day 2 at the NCAA golf championships.

First-day leader Collin Morikawa slipped into a tie for second place and the Bears dropped from a tie for fourth to a tie for seventh in team play.

The top 15 teams among 30 after play Sunday continue on Monday, when the field is cut to eight teams that will begin quarterfinal match play on Tuesday.

"I told the guys after the round that obviously it was a tough finish today but their great round yesterday keeps us alive," Cal head coach Walter Chun said according to the Cal website. "They have to keep in mind that the stroke-play part of this event is a qualifier. We are just trying to get into the top eight. Obviously, the higher the better but they have to keep that in their mind. I wanted to reiterate that yesterday's round was a great round. It put us in a position to make some mistakes like we did today.

"We have another round to go Sunday, and we're capable of playing a lot better than we did today. It's survival. We're just trying to live to fight another day and hopefully move on to match play."

Morikawa, a senior and a finalist for college golf’s top awards, shot a 67 on Friday to lead the field before carding a 72 on Saturday. His 139 is tied for second place with Oklahoma State’s Matthew Wolff. OK State’s Austin Eckroat leads by one stroke at 138 after shooting 69 for the second day in a row.

"This course is a great filter for who's playing some really good golf and who's not," Morikawa said. "At the end of the day you've got to hit some really good shots and you can't give many away. I think that's why you see some of the top guys on top of the leaderboard."

The individual competition is four rounds, with the third round Sunday and the fourth round on Monday.

"Obviously I didn't make as many birdies or as many putts today, but I hung in there and my game still feels good," said Morikawa, who had nine birdies in his opening-round 5-under-par 67 on Friday. "I'm giving myself a lot of looks, but I need to make some more putts."

Morikawa leads the field with 13 birdies through two rounds. 

Here is Morikawa's complete post-round interview.

As a team, Cal was 13 over par on Saturday and is tied with Wake Forest and Ohio State at 593 for seventh place. The Bears posted a 292 and trailed by just two strokes after Friday. They shot a 301 on Saturday and now are 27 strokes behind leader Oklahoma State (566).

The Cowboys have a 12-stroke lead over second-place Stanford (578).

The Bears’ next three golfers are Kaiwen Liu (149), Jamie Cheatham (150) and K.K. Limbhasut (155).