Cal women’s golf maintains poise throughout March Mayhem

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The Cal women’s golf team faced some of the nation’s best teams this week at the SDSU March Mayhem tournament in Rancho Santa Fe, California, finishing eighth out of 12 teams.

The Bears kicked off the tournament Monday looking to qualify for the match play tournament, which would give them a shot at the championship. The tournament was formatted so that the top eight teams participating advanced to a knockout match play bracket, then played based off of seeds determined by which position they finished in overall in the qualifying round.

The first round for the Bears featured the welcome back party for sophomore Jiyoon Jang, who had been battling an injury throughout the early season.

Last season’s break out star picked up right where she left off on Monday; she was the only Bear to end the round under par, finishing with the team’s best overall score at -1 with six birdies to boot. Junior Marianne Li also had a solid round for the Bears, finishing at +2 with three birdies.

While Jang shined, fellow sophomore Maria Herraez struggled throughout the round, finishing +10 overall with three triple bogeys on the front nine.

Despite Herraez’s inconsistent round, the Bears were able to salvage a spot in the match play tournament, finishing eighth overall (+16) on the day and edging out Baylor by two strokes. Qualifying for match play was hard enough, but the Bears were then slotted in as the No. 8 seed against the top seed, USC.

In the first round, the Trojans defeated the Bears by 22 strokes and were the only team to finish under par at -6. The closest team behind USC was at +9.

Although the loss dropped Cal out of championship contention, Jang’s win and senior Marthe Wold’s draw displayed that the Bears can compete with top-ranked teams and proved that Jang is recovered and ready to lead.

The team dropped into the consolation bracket, albeit against a national powerhouse and arguably the toughest team in the field. In their first round, the Bears took on yet another Pac-12 rival and the No. 1 team in the country — UCLA.

The Bears fell to the Bruins by a tally of 4-1, with Wold being the only Bear to win her matchup.

With this loss, the Bears moved on to play No. 21 Colorado and fight for a seventh place finish overall. This final round came down to the wire as the two teams split the match 2-2-1. Jang and Herraez lost their individual battles, but Wold and Li came out on top while junior Amina Wolf tied her round. When it was all said and done, Colorado held the tiebreaker, cementing Cal’s eighth place finish.

While the team lost all three of its match play rounds, the Bears held their own in at least one round in each of their matches, all against top-25 teams.

Cal wraps up its regular season in just more than a week at the Silverado Showdown in Napa, California on April 8.

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