Cal women’s golf faces another tough field at Stanford Intercollegiate

Lucia Gutierrez
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The Cal women’s golf team has never been one to turn down a tough battle. Their past two tournaments have been loaded with top-25 teams, and this week is no exception. The Bears head down to Pebble Beach to conquer the Poppy Hills Golf Course starting Monday at the Stanford Intercollegiate.

It will be a beautiful weekend in Monterey as the Bears take on one of the most iconic courses in the country. The course has been home to many celebrity golfers and beyond, as it held the famous Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tournament from 1991 to 2009.

On the course this week, the Bears look to break the patterns that have defined their season so far. In their first two tournaments, the Bears’ second rounds showed utter brilliance, but their slow starts have cost them any shot at a top finish so far. Not only have the Bears shot themselves in the foot a little, they’ve come up against the best competition in the country. This pattern will continue this week as the tournament includes seven top-25 teams in the nation, three of whom rank in the top-10.

The Bears will be looking to regroup from their last tournament and not dig themselves a hole too deep in the first round.

“We want to play sharp,” said head coach Nancy McDaniel. “We’ve been working on our focus from the get-go, and we don’t want to wait around to play well. We want to be ready before the first tee.”

The Bears will be sending out the same five players as their last tournament, including junior transfer Cindy Oh.

Oh struggled in her first rounds two weeks ago in the Windy City Collegiate, but she proved herself in the last round where she finished +2, the second-best score for the Bears in that round. If Oh is able to bring her A-game, she will provide a huge boost for the Bears, who have not shown any signs of consistency between all five players.

“Cindy has a lot of pride in Cal even though she’s been here a short period of time,” McDaniel said. “She’s only been here a month, but she’s really committed to bringing something to this team.”

Although the Bears are facing some of the best teams in the country, they have the components for a strong showing — it’s all a matter of timing. While three Bears were tied heading into the final round in the Windy City Collegiate two weeks ago, only sophomore Jiyoon Jang who finished T-15th overall, was able to complete a top finish. The two other Bears, sophomore Maria Herraez and senior Marthe Wold, struggled in their last rounds, dropping on the individual leaderboards. This kind of inconsistency has plagued the team all year.

To have a shot at a top finish this week, the Bears need to bring their success as individuals together on a consistent basis throughout the tournament. They cannot continue to have flashes of strong play but then regress back down the leaderboard. If they are able to do this, the Bears could surprise a lot of people and turn their season around — starting with the Stanford Intercollegiate.

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

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