2001-02 Season

Men's Golf signs sought-after freshman

Brian Van Heel, a standout golfer out of Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, will be joining the Wildcats next year on the links.

Van Heel won the 2002 CIF/SCGA Championship in June posting a tournament-best 68 to beat a highly decorated field. His name is now on the trophy with such distinguished past champions as Craig Stadler, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods.
Van Heel sifted through numerous offers before narrowing down his choice to San Diego State, USC, or Chico State.

Needless to say, we are overly excited about signing Brian, said Head Coach Keith Thomas. I've been looking for that strong fifth player all summer and now I got him. He is a wonderful fit to the roster and I expect great things in the near future for Chico State golf. My confidence is high for next season and confidence is contagious.

Van Heel will be joining junior J.J. Jakovac, who won the 2002 Division II National Championship in Florida.

Chico State National Golf Champion
J.J. Jakovac
named CCAA Athlete of the Year

In a conference full of talented and celebrated athletes, Chico State's J.J. Jakovac received the most prestigious honor of them all, being named the 2001-02 CCAA Athlete of the Year.

Jakovac, a sophomore from Napa, won the NCAA Individual Championship in Florida to cap a grand season that included six tournament wins and CCAA Golfer of the Year honors. He overcame a four-stroke deficit in the final round of the national championship with a five-under par 66. Jakovac earned All-CCAA honors with a 5th-place finish at the CCAA Championship to lead the Wildcats to a 4th-place team showing. He then led Chico to a 5th-place finish at the NCAA West Regional.

Jakovac wins!
Division II Individual Golf Title
The best players always find a way to make things happen and Chico State golfer J.J. Jakovac is no exception. Jakovac won the 2002 NCAA Division II individual title, shooting a 5-under-par 66 to overcome a four-shot deficit going into the final round of play at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida.

Jakovac, a sophomore, posted the tournament-low 66 early and had to wait around to see how the leader, Jason Vaughn of North Alabama, would respond to the challenge. Vaughn shot a 2-over 73 to finish all alone in second place, three strokes behind Jakovac.

During the tournament, Jakovac never dropped below second place in the standings. His opening round of 69 left him tied for the lead. His second round total of 76 dropped him into a tie for second place and he held on to that spot in the standings with a third-round score of 74.

According to the Chico State records, no other player has won the national title, though two came close. Kriss Kimbrough, a junior, finished tied for second in the 1975 NCAA Division III Golf Championships and junior Robb Schultz tied for second in the 1966 NCAA Golf Championships. The Championship Tournament began in 1963.

Jakovac remains tied for second place

Chico State's J.J. Jakovac shot a 3-over-par 74 to remain tied for second place after third-round action at the Division II Golf Championship at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida.

Jakovac is now 6-over after three rounds, four shots behind the leader. He is tied with three others golfers. Jason Boyd of UC Davis shot a 69 to jump up to second in the standings and Matt Dura of Francis Marion University and Rob Oppenheim of Rollins College both moved up with a 72 today.

Jakovac was tied for the lead after day one with a 69, but a score of 76 in the second round dropped him into second place.

Jason Vaughn of North Alabama held on to his sole possession of first place, and kept his team tied for the lead with Cal State Stanislaus, with a 1-over 72. He is now 2-over going into the final day. He was tied for 24th place after round one, but a second day total of 68 took him to the top.

The tournament concludes with a final round tomorrow.

Jakovac now tied for second place

Chico State's J.J. Jakovac inched down from a tie for first place into a tie for second place with a five-over 76 today in round two action of the Division II Golf Championship at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida.

Jakovac's two-under 69 in the opening round coupled with today's round leaves him tied with Josh Immordino of Western Washington at three-over-par for the tournament.

Jason Vaughn of North Alabama catapulted himself into first place with a 68 on day two. He was tied for 24th place coming into the second round.

Aaron Black from the University of South Carolina in Aiken was tied with Jakovac after day one, but an 11-over 82 dropped him into a tie for 21st place.

The tournament continues for two more rounds, concluding on Friday.

Jakovac tied for lead after day one

Chico State golfer J.J. Jakovac is tied for first place after round one of the Division II Golf Championship at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida.

Jakovac, the only Wildcat to qualify for the championship, shot a two-under-par 69 to tie Aaron Black from the University of South Carolina in Aiken. 102 players are participating in the tournament.

J.J. is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence right now, said Head Coach Keith Thomas. He's stroking the ball well and putting great. He's doing everything right.

The tournament continues for three more rounds, concluding on Friday.

Jakovac Headed to Nationals

Chico State golfer and CCAA Player of the Year J.J. Jakovac is headed to the 2002 NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships.

Jakovac was one of only two individuals in the entire nation to earn a berth despite not finishing first in the region or participating on an advancing team.

A total of 102 participants will compete in the Championships, to be held May 21-24, at Mission Inn Golf Club, Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, and will be hosted by Rollins College and the Central Florida Sports Commission.

The winner of each region from the Super Regionals received an automatic berth to the finals, as well as eight at-large selections. The top individual from each region not on an advancing team also was selected to compete along with two at-large individuals.

From the Western Regional, UC Davis, Cal State Bakersfield (at-large) and Cal State Stanislaus (at-large) advanced to team championships; Josh Immordino of Western Washington and Jakovac (at-large) advance as individuals.

Wildcats finish fifth at West Regional

The Chico State men's golf team finished in fifth place at the NCAA Division II West/Northwest Super Regional held May 6-8 at Estrella Mountain Golf Ranch in Goodyear, Arizona.

The Wildcats (292-303-290-885) shot their best round of the tournament on the final day, but couldn't overcome a drop into fifth place after round two. Chico State was in third place after the first round.

UC Davis won the tournament with a 5-under-par total on day three (284-289-283-856). The 283 shot by the Aggies was the lowest round by any of 16 teams competing in the Super Regional.

Mark Lawless (70-69-72-211) of Stanislaus State was the top individual medalist.

Brian Benedictson (70-76-70-216) was the top finisher for Chico State, coming in tied for seventh. J.J. Jakovac (71-75-72-218) finished in a tie for 11th place. Andy Barnum (73-76-76-225) finished tied for 28th. Jess Stimack (79-76-72-227) tied for 33rd, and Scott Alward (78-76-77-231) tied for 37th.

The 2002 NCAA Men's Golf Championships will take place May 21-24 with one team from each of the 10 regions, along with 10 low individuals whose teams do not advance. In addition, eight At-Large teams and two At-Large individuals will be selected from a pool consisting of the top five finishers in each region.

Wildcat golfers drop to fifth after day two

The Chico State men's golf team dropped two spots to fifth place after day two of the NCAA Division II Super Regional in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Wildcats entered the day tied for third place, but a low round of a three-over par 75 by J.J. Jakovac and seventy-sixes from the rest of the squad, leaves the Wildcats with plenty of work ahead for the final round on Wednesday.

Chico (292-303-595) sits 22 strokes behind the leader UC Davis (284-289-573). The Wildcats are nine strokes behind fourth-place Western Washington (586), 10 strokes behind Cal State

Wildcats tied for third after first day of West Regional

Buoyed by Brian Benedictson's two-under par 70, the Chico State men's golf team is tied for third place in the NCAA Division II West Regional after the first day of competition. The tournament is taking place at Estrella Mt. Ranch in Goodyear, AZ.

UC Davis shot a four-under 284 to lead the way. Western Washington currently stands in second at three over par, while Chico State and CSU Bakersfield are tied for third at four over in the eight-team field.

Benedictson is one of four golfers one stroke behind individual leader Jason Boyd of UC Davis who carded a 32 on the front nine leading to a three-under 69. Chico State's J.J. Jakovac is currently in a tie for sixth thanks to a one-under 71. Andy Barnum was the only other Chico State golfer to finish in the top 35, carding a one-over par 73 good for a tie for 14th place.

The teams will each player one round Tuesday and another Wednesday to finish out the tournament.

Wildcats heading to Super Regional

The Chico State men's golf program is primed to compete in its first regional under new head coach Keith Thomas. The Wildcats head to the Northwest/West Super Regional, May 6-8, at Estrella Mountain Ranch Golf Club in Goodyear Arizona.

The regional is made up of 16 teams, eight from each region. Representing the West will be UC Davis, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Stanisalus, Western Washington, Chico State, Grand Canyon, UC San Diego, and St. Martin's.

Representing the Northwest will be Colorado-Colorado Springs, Adams State, Nebraska-Kearney, Southern Colorado, Minnesota State-Mankato, Fort Lewis, Colorado School of Mines, and Northern Colorado.

Sophomore standout J.J. Jakovac, who won five individual titles this season and was named CCAA Player of the year, will lead the Wildcats, as well as First Team All-CCAA honoree Andy Barnum. Brian Benedictson and Jess Stimack round out the top four and four other players are battling for the fifth team spot, with a decision coming early Friday.

Wildcats finish fourth in CCAA Championship
Jakovac named CCAA Player of the Year

Cal State Bakersfield and UC Davis battled down to the last hole, with Bakersfield emerging on top by capturing the tiebreaker on the final day of the 2002 CCAA Golf Championship at the par 72 7,068-yard Legends Course at Diable Grande.

Entering the final round with a six-stroke lead over Cal State Stanislaus and a nine-stroke lead over UC Davis, Bakersfield shot a six-over par, 294, while UC Davis finished the round with a three-under par, 285. With the two teams tied for the lead, the tie was broken by the low score of each team's fifth player.

Chico State finished in fourth, nine shots off the lead.

J.J. Jakovac earned CCAA Player of the Year after winning four individual titles this season. Jakovac finished fifth in the CCAA Championship, two strokes behind the leaders at 215, after firing a final round 73. Jakovac and teammate Andy Barnum, who finished tied for eighth, were named to the All-CCAA team

Team Results
1 Bakersfield 290 284 294 868
2 Davis 297 286 285 868
3 Stanislaus 284 296 290 870
4 Chico 289 300 288 877
5 San Diego 295 302 302 899
6 San Bernardino 302 300 303 905
7 Grand Canyon 303 314 294 911
8 Dominguez Hills 331 317 329 977

Chico Results
5 J.J. Jakovac 69 73 73 215
T8 Andy Barnum 74 74 70 218
13 Jess Stimack 71 75 75 221
15 Brian Benedictson 75 78 70 223
T34 Evan Smith 77 80 79 236

Jakovac Continues to Dominate CCAA Golf

Chico State's J.J. Jakovac won his fourth individual title in six starts this spring with a one-under par 215 this weekend at the Stanislaus Invitational Golf Tournament. Jakovac, who shot a pair of one-under 71s before finishing with a 73 Saturday, helped lead the Wildcats team to a second-place finish behind host Cal State Stanislaus.

Chico State stood in seventh place after the first 36 holes, but Andy Barnum carded a 71, Brian Benedictson a 72, and Evan Smith a 73 in the final round to move Chico State all the way up to second. Individually, Benedictson finished with a three-round total of 223, good for a tie for 12th place, and Barnum rallied for a 16th-place finish at 225.

Lesson Learned…

The Chico State golf team learned a lesson the hard way at the Aggie Invitational held at El Macero Country Club this week.

Two Wildcats failed to sign their scorecards at the end of round one (each card requires the signature of the scorer, plus the player). The mistake resulted in both players being disqualified for the round, which in turn disqualified the team, because fewer than four players were left to score.

It is noteworthy to comment that the Wildcats would have had a one-shot lead on CSU Bakersfield, the No. 1 team in the nation, after round one. Also noteworthy is the fact that J.J. Jakovac was four over par through five holes and finished round one birdying seven of his last 11 to shoot 69.

Without the disqualifications in round one, Chico State would have ended up tied for sixth place in the 18-team field with a score of 893 (294-299-300).

Wildcats Win Second Tournament of Spring

The Wildcats traveled to Carson City on March 28-29 for the Hawaii- Hilo Spring Invitational which Chico State won by nine shots over host Hawaii-Hilo.

J.J, Jakovac won his third individual title in four starts this spring.

The golf course, one only a billy goat could love, was night and day from front nine to back nine. The front nine was flat and straight forward. The back nine winded up the mountain and had more elevation change and distance from green to tee than any course Head Coach Keith Thomas had ever seen. Thankfully, the players, who normally walk every course, were allowed to take golf carts.

Wildcats finish fourth in Monterey

The Wildcats finished second among the Division II opposition and tied for fourth overall at the 4th Annual Men's Otter Golf Invitational. Nine NAIA and three D-II teams competed in the 54 hole tournament held at Black Horse golf course.

JJ Jakovac led the Wildcats with a three round total of 222, which was a top ten finish (8th). Finishing right on Jakovac's heals was Brian Benedictson with 224 (T-12). Rounding out the Wildcats were Andy Barnum 227 (T-20) and Scott Alward 238 (T-42). Unfortunately, Jess Stimack was unable to post a tournament total due to a muscle spasm early Monday morning that left him sidelined until the afternoon round on day one. Jess was well enough to post a solid 74 on Tuesday to help the Wildcats to a T-4th overall.

The team's 311 total after round one left the Wildcats in last place. The contest was very bunched up with the leaders after round one shooting 300. The 'Cats made a nice move in the afternoon posting 297. The 608 total after the first day was good enough to pass five teams and pull into a tie with Division II rival Grand Canyon. Chico State proved its strength posting its tournament low 295 in the final round to pass Grand Canyon and capture a tie for fourth overall in the Otter Invitational. .

Wildcats win Coyote Invitational
- Jackovac takes individual title for second straight tournament

The Chico State Men's golf team blew away the field at the 2002 Coyote Invitational. The Wildcats' 903 total was 19 shots better than second place Western Washington and Master's College.

J.J. Jakovac led the Wildcats with his second tournament victory in as many starts with an impressive 223. Jess Stimack 228, Brian Benedictson 229 and Scott Alward 229 all placed in the top 8 individually.

In the opening round, the wind was fierce and the entire golf course was as firm as concrete. The Wildcats finished round one 14 shots out of the lead and in third place alone. At that point the team knew something had to be done and they made their move. The wind calmed and the Wildcats pounced. The 'Cats not only made up the 14 shot deficit, but held a 10 shot lead going into the final 18 holes. Freshman, Jess Stimack, carded a tournament low 71 at a crucial turning point in the tournament.

Validating the second round (294) comeback, Chico State played a flawless final round carding a tournament low 289 to take the 2002 Coyote Invitational by 19 shots. Andy Barnum led the wildcats in the final round carding a 71.

Keith Thomas hired as golf coach

The Chico State athletic department announced today, March 1, that Keith Thomas has accepted the position of head men's and women's golf coach for the university. He is prepared to start immediately.

We are excited that Keith has agreed to accept the position. Our goal at Chico State is to develop a golf program that can compete at the national level, said Athletic Director Don Batie. We think Keith has the skills and youthful energy to help us be the best we can be.

Thomas, a Class-A golf professional, completed his final phase of the Golf Professional Training Program in 1999 and has been working as the head professional at Tuscan Ridge Golf Club in Chico since Nov. 1999. Prior to that he was the PGA professional at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club in Arcadia, Michigan for eight months. During his training (1995-98) he held assistant professional positions at the Kapalua Village and Kapalua Plantation courses in Hawaii.

Being with the team last fall as an instructor gave me the sense of how rewarding coaching and this job can be, said Thomas. I look forward to working with both teams. Our men's program is pretty stable and very competitive right now, but the women's team is new and the only Division II team in our conference, but I see that as an opportunity to be a leader in bringing Division II golf to the West.

Thomas, a graduate of Chico State with a degree in business administration, and his wife, Jennifer, live in Chico.

J.J. Jackovac takes individual title
Team finishes second

It was a great two days for the Wildcats in Bakersfield, as they finished second among the field of 15 teams. Chico State (280-294-291-865) maintained its hold on second place after day one and finished the tournament at one over par. Bakersfield won the event at nine under par (290-279-286).

J.J. Jacovac took top medalist honors, winning by two strokes, at six-under par (67-73-70-210). His opening round of 67 tied for the best round of the 54-hole tournament.

Chico jumped off to an early lead, posting an impressive eight-under 280 in the morning round Monday, much to the dismay of host and the top Division II ranked Roadrunners. In addition to Jackovac's 67, Jess Stimack, a true freshman fired a 68 in his first-ever university tournament, and Brian Benedictson posted an even-par 72, while Andy Barnum added a one-over 73.

The 'Cats second round was a respectable six over 294, but Bakersfield responded with a 279, to take a five-stroke lead into Tuesday. In round two Monday, Garett Dagg and Jacovac both shot 73, while the rest of the squad shot 74. The Tuesday round found Brian, our new transfer from British Columbia, going low with a three-under 69 along with Jackovac's 70, Barnum's 73, and Stimack's 79.