Spring break in San Diego was hardly a vacation for the Cal women’s golf team. Instead of soaking up the sun on warm, beautiful beaches like most of their peers, the Bears were fighting on the fairway against some of the toughest teams in the nation at the SDSU Farms Invitational in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Cal finished the three-day, 54-hole tournament Wednesday in sixth place at 30 over par, 33 strokes behind first place No. 1 USC (298-281-282, -3).
The Bears were up against the best teams in women’s collegiate golf this week as they went head-to-head with Pac-12 rivals No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Stanford and No. 6 Arizona State. All four teams outperformed the Bears on the par-72, 6,237-yard course, placing first through fourth, while host San Diego State finished out of the top four in fifth.
Cal’s middle-tier finish in the 17-team field was expected for a young squad that, despite strokes of excellence, has been fighting off consistency problems throughout most of the season. The Bears’ highest individual finish for the tournament came in a tie for 19th between sophomore Hannah Suh (75-73-73) and sole senior Nicola Rossler (74-73-74). Suh and Rossler both finished at a total round score of 221 and five over par. The pair performed steadily enough in the last 18 holes to stay in-range of the top competitors and combined to score 11 birdies in their three rounds of play.
Rossler was on her way to an even better individual finish — perhaps as low as 13th — after going even for most of Wednesday. However, on a tough, par-5 18th hole, the usually steady senior faltered and scored a double bogey to end the third round at two over par.
Freshman Lucia Gutierrez (74-71-77) was right behind her two teammates, finishing one stroke behind at 222, and tied for 21st individually. Gutierrez, who has emerged as one of the the Bears’ key players this season, came back in the second round Tuesday to card a superb, one-under-par round at 71. Gutierrez even managed to score a rare eagle on the 18th, but it wasn’t enough to offset the freshmen’s five bogeys in the last round of play, including a triple bogey on the third hole.
The two remaining Bears, junior Jo Ee Kok (80-77-78) and sophomore Carly Childs (83-80-73), finished in the rough behind their teammates at 58th and 63rd, respectively. Jo Ee Kok, who had her career-best performance only a week ago at the BYU Entrada Classic in Utah, couldn’t carry her momentum into San Diego, where she totaled a 236 score going 19 over par.
Christine Menchaca covers women’s golf. Contact her at [email protected]