Four months removed from a disappointing exit from the NCAA Regionals — when the team was only one spot shy from advancing to the Championships — the Cal women’s golf team is back at it again, hoping to start off the season on a winning note at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Going to UNM this weekend is a good start to get the team in their first tourney and see how our work thus far plays out. It will give us some good feedback about where to concentrate for the 3 weeks we have until the next tourney,” said head coach Nancy McDaniel in an email. “We expect as always good course management to set up for scoring. We have two freshman in the line up so that’s exciting for them. They seem ready to go.”
The Bears are going to face steep competition at the invitational, facing top teams such as last year’s No. 10 Arizona State and No. 21 Oregon. Seasoned veterans such as Lucia Gutierrez and Alice Jeong, however, should be able to keep their heads — as well as their shoulders — straight in this early challenge of the fall season.
Sophomore Marianne Li should also play a big role Monday. Wrapping up the spring season as the first Bear ever to advance to the NCAA Championships as an individual and tying for 19th at the event, Li should be a major key to success in the invitational as well as the rest of the season.
Although none of Cal’s current roster has played on this course, competing at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational will give the team experience, which could prove valuable later on in the season.
“This is one of the 4 NCAA Regional courses and so we feel fortunate to be playing it in September!” McDaniel said. “It is a scoring course and when we put ourselves in good positions result will come.”
And even though the season is just getting started, the team does not expect an adjustment period and expects great results following the Invitational.
“We are approaching it with all of our effort and what we have control over in the moment and anticipating top results when we do this,” McDaniel said. “When you have quality hard working players who play smart golf top results will follow.”
Contact Chris Tril at [email protected].