The third time’s the charm.
After a pair of third-place finishes in the last two tournaments, the No. 15 Cal women’s golf team is the 2016 Bay Area Intercollegiate Champion. For the first time this season, the Bears were able to win a tournament. This is Cal’s first victory since the BYU Entrada Classic in the 2014-15 season.
“We were really energized as a group leaving Meadow Club yesterday,” said Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel. “It has been a goal of ours to be in the mix in the last round so that we can win and we did just that. It is a very satisfying feeling for one day but I guarantee you the team is looking to improve on this performance.”
Heading into the tournament, the weather was expected to be an issue as it was forecasted to be cold and wet. And it did play a factor because during the first round, there was a weather delay on the course. But that didn’t stop the Bears from finishing 299 (+11), which trailed first place Oregon State by only four strokes after the first day 295 (+7). Cal had placed itself in a good position to win the tournament.
“(The weather) had its effects on everyone but our team obviously was able to see beyond it,” McDaniel said. “We were a little unsettled, like we left some shots out there. The plan was to play better in order to finish on top.”
On the par-72 course, the Bear that stood out the most among all of the competition was senior Hannah Suh. She finished first at the conclusion of the tournament, winning the first individual title of her Cal career. Suh was able to perform well even under the adverse weather conditions by tallying a final score of 71-69=140, -4.
“I think everyone is so happy for Hannah, she is just a wonderful competitor, so happy and so genuine,” McDaniel said. “I think the entire field went out of their way — including the coaches — to congratulate her.”
Another player who was able to step up for Cal was freshman Marianne Li, who played a big role in the Bears’ win. She was able to finish in the top five, placing fourth with a final score of 74-69=143, -1. Cal’s consistency was seen across the board in the rest of the lineup. Sophomore Marthe Wold shot a +4 (76) in the first round, followed by a +2 (74) in the second. Junior Lucia Gutierrez started off with a +7 (79) in the first round only to score even at par in the second. Senior Carly Childs was able to match her +6 (78) from the first round in the second round as well.
The future is only getting brighter if the Bears maintain these type of performances when they face top competition.
“This gives us good confidence and reassurance that we can play with the top 10,” McDaniel said.
Oscar Oxlaj covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected]