After one day of play at the Bruin Wave Invitational, the No. 15 Cal women’s golf team was fifth of 16 teams in San Luis Obispo, California. But after finishing 17 strokes behind first place on a 36-hole, two-round Monday, the Bears were able to come back stronger on the second day of the tournament to place third for the second consecutive tournament.
At the San Luis Obispo Country Club, Cal finished with a final team score of 888 (295-298-295, +24) and came in behind No. 14 Arizona State (882, +18) and the winner of the tournament, No. 5 UCLA (868, +4).
“They were prepared, they had good practice and were going for the green going into the tournament,” said Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel. “So they were not surprised by anything, as they felt they could handle what the course handed them.”
It was the performances by junior Lucia Gutierrez and senior Hannah Suh that were able to keep Cal (295+298=593, +17) in the top five after the first day, on the par-72 course.
In a field of 86, Gutierrez was even after the first two rounds on Par 3 holes and stroking a -3 on Par 5. The junior recorded an eagle as well, being one of only eight players to do so on the golf course and finishing Monday tied for fifth individually, with a tallied score of 71-72=143, -1.
The other veteran on the team, Suh, finished eighth (71-73=144, E) after 36-holes. The senior did her part leading the team with seven birdies with the par 4 chances she had (-1, 3.95 average). Another notable performance on the day was sophomore Marthe Wold (73+75=148, +4), who did her best to place in the top 20 individually, tied at 17th.
After trailing No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 18 San Diego State, No. 14 Arizona State and the leader of the day, No. 5 UCLA, the Bears were not going to settle behind these opponents for the final 18 holes. On Tuesday, with the quality at which Suh and Gutierrez were playing they were able to lead the Bears on the final day. Gutierrez and Suh placed individually in a three way tie for fifth place (217, +1).
“They played consistently over the three rounds, and it doesn’t surprise me they finished in the top five,” McDaniel said. “For a good as a performance that is, it’s also within their scope.”
Consistency has always been key for this team, and Cal was able to display it. Wold was able to match her +3 score in the third round. To make things even better for the Bears, freshman Marianne Li kept reducing her strokes after every round. She started off the first round +8 (80) followed by a +6 (78) in the second and finally a team low +1 (73) that matched Suh’s third-round score.
“They are feeling encouraged that third place was a good day,” McDaniel said. “They are climbing the ladder they know they can. Feeling more confident as every tournament passes and they are getting more proof that they are a solid team with these finishes.”
Oscar Oxlaj covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected]