As a member of the Cal women’s golf tournament lineup, Cal’s Lucia Gutierrez is no stranger to competing against challenging foes on the golf course over the years, and she continued to do so this week at the Pan American Games’ first-ever golf competition.
The experience she has acquired abroad while representing Peru has helped her lead the Bears to appearances at both the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Championships. She continued to acquire valuable experience in Markham, located north of Toronto, where her contributions helped Peru place fourth in the golf mixed team event. The national team’s finish, however, doesn’t encapsulate the solid 74-70-76-75=295(+7) score Gutierrez recorded, which led her to a seventh-place finish as an individual competitor at the event’s 72 holes of play.
On Thursday, the lone Cal women’s golfer at the event kicked off her campaign at Angus Glen Golf Club course with Peru in the first round’s 18 holes of stroke play. Gutierrez teed off against several talented golfers, including 16-year-old U.S. representative Andrea Lee, who competed at last year’s U.S. Women’s Open. The NCAA Championships veteran held her own against the pool of challenging adversaries, as she shot par in the final four holes and finished the round with a 74(+2) to tie for seventh with Argentina’s Manuela Carbajo Re.
Gutierrez improved on her first-round efforts with an even better second round Friday. Her 11 straight pars in the eighth to 18th holes helped her finish the round with a 70(-2), tying for third with Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe. The rising junior finished behind the United States’ Lee and Mexico’s Marijose Navarro, who tied for first.
The third round saw Gutierrez encounter a bit of trouble on course, as she couldn’t consistently shoot par or under. She ended the round with a 76(+4), and the score prevented her from staying among the top three on the leaderboard. Gutierrez dropped down into a four-way tie for 15th, while Lee and Uribe remained tied for first in their neck-and-neck battle.
In the fourth and final round, Gutierrez made a final surge to place higher on the leaderboard, but she was unable to regain that strong form that she had displayed in the second round. The Peruvian ended the round with a 75(+3) and placed 15th for the day, which proved to be enough for her to end the tournament in seventh place.
Despite Gutierrez’s team not performing as well at the Pan American Games as she may have hoped, her individual efforts and results at least indicate that Peruvian golfers are beginning to emerge as viable contenders in international competitions. If Gutierrez is a good example of the potential that Peru possesses in golf, it is only a matter of time until she and other Peruvian golfers begin making even bigger waves on the international stage. After having acquired valuable experience on her home country’s team, Gutierrez now seems poised to experience another successful season with Cal as one of the team’s reliable mainstays.