Cal women’s golf heads to Silverado Showdown

Lucia Gutierrez
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The Cal women’s golf team heads into the Silverado Showdown from Friday to Sunday looking to ignite the fire it’s been missing all season. With no first-place victories and wavering results throughout the spring, the Bears will have to see this tournament as their final chance to gain any traction heading into the upcoming Pac-12 tournament. The tournament is full of tough competition with 10 out of the 18-team field ranking in the top 50 in the country.The Silverado Showdown will take place at the Silverado Resort North Course in Napa, California, over three days.

The course is 6,253 yards and par 72 and was ranked No. 22 in the state of California by Golfweek. The course has hosted multiple PGA tour events, including the Kaiser International, the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic and the Frys.com Open.

In their last tournament two weeks ago, the San Diego State March Mayhem, the Bears won the consolation bracket, placing ninth overall. Although these results were far from what the team had hoped for, it did win three of its four matches, a potential sign of the consistency that the team has been desperately searching for. The Bears have been sitting at the 25th spot in the nation for the majority of the spring season — a testament to the team’s apparent inability to bring all its pieces together at the same time and improve its positioning.

The team will be competing against multiple Pac-12 teams, which could help give it a chance to see how it matches up this late in the season and what it needs to improve on before the postseason. The most important opponent in the lineup next week will be Stanford. The Cardinal are currently ranked fourth in the nation and won the Silverado tournament last year. The Bears have only faced Stanford once this season at the Bruin Wave Invitational, which Stanford won. Other important Pac-12 teams competing include No. 32 Colorado and No. 43 Oregon, which are both teams the Bears will need to look out for in this tournament and in the postseason.

Although at first glance No. 25 overall may seem like it puts the Bears in solid positioning for a top-place finish next week, they will be facing three top-25 teams and Cal has struggled against these strong opponents this season, going 7-22 against top-25 teams. If the Bears want a shot at success next week, they will not only need to continue their consistency from last tournament — they will need to play nearly perfectly.

The team could once again be battling rough conditions with rain predicted throughout the weekend, making the greens slow and creating rough lies, but fortunately the Bears are used to this as they have had to face rough weather all season. Additionally, the length of the tournament means that the Bears will also be battling fatigue by the end, something their coaching staff said factored into their results last tournament. They Bears will have experience on their side as three of the same five players that competed in the tournament last year are expected to do so again this time around, including junior Marthe Wold, senior Lucia Gutierrez and sophomore Marianne Li. Gutierrez and Li tied for 18th overall last year. This veteran presence combined with the recent outstanding play of freshman Maria Herraez can hopefully lead the team to its first tournament victory.

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