No. 25 Cal women’s golf faces daunting challenge at Bruin Wave Invitational

Kailua Kona, HI - October 24, 2016: The Colorado Buffaloes compete at the PAC 12 Preview at Nanea Golf Club.
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Kailua Kona, HI - October 24, 2016: The Colorado Buffaloes compete at the PAC 12 Preview at Nanea Golf Club.

No. 25 Cal heads down the coast this weekend to San Luis Obispo to compete, for the third time, in the annual Bruin Wave Invitational. The Bears are looking to make a statement this week as the field of play will be no less of a challenge than the last tournament where the Bears faced ten top-25 teams. This week they are again facing top-ranked teams such as No. 3 USC, which won the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, and the No. 1 team in the country, Stanford.

The tournament starts Monday with 36 holes of golf, followed by Tuesday’s final round on the par-73, 6,357-yard layout. The Bears are looking to improve from their last tournament, the Northrop Challenge, two weeks ago where they tied for 11th.

Although last year the Bears had an impressive outing on this course with two top-10 finishers, the course may play much differently than last year. The team is facing a particular challenge this year because Southern California has experienced extreme storms in the last few weeks, making the course more difficult to play than in years past. The Bears will have to battle wet greens, muddy lies and virtually no roll on any of the holes throughout the course, something they did not have to contend with two weeks ago in Palos Verdes.

The same five players that competed in the Northop Challenge for the Bears, freshman  Maria Herraez, senior Lucia Gutierrez, junior Marthe Wold, sophomore Amin Wolf aand sophomore Marianne Li will represent the Bears in the 14-team field (Stanford will technically send two teams). Gutierrez and Li competed in the tournament last year with an extremely successful outing from Gutierrez, who finished T-5th and one-over par to help the Bears secure a third-place finish.

Herraez also looks to continue her impressive start to the season, competing in only her second collegiate tournament ever this week. She was the Bearrs’ leading scorer at the Northrop Challenge finishing in a tie for 14th at three-over par (216).

With three new players facing the challenging course and two of the top three teams in the country competing in the tournament, the Bears have no room for error over the next two days. If, however, the team has an impressive performance, the tournament could significantly boost the Bears’ ranking and prove they are a top team in the country. 

Graham Griffin covers women’s golf. Contact her at [email protected].