Cal women’s golf bounces back with 2nd place finish in Gunrock Classic

Gold player swings her club.
Karen Chow /File

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After a struggling spring season debut tournament at the Bruin Wave Invitational, Cal women’s golf flourished in the Gunrock Classic tournament hosted by UC Davis and claimed second place.

An undeniable boost to team morale, Cal’s success at the Gunrock Classic was much-needed. Going into the tournament as the top-ranked team, the Bears fulfilled their expectations while dissipating any lingering feelings of disappointment from the Bruin Wave Invitational, where they finished 10th out of 15 teams.

Playing 36 holes of golf Monday, the Bears finished the first day strongly at the inaugural Gunrock Classic at Del Paso Country Club. After the Bears’ collective, solid performances, Cal claimed fourth place — shooting a 12-over 588 with two rounds of play.

Monday’s gameplay was highlighted by the top-10 performances of three Cal players: freshman Elena Arias, senior Cindy Oh and fellow freshman Katherine Zhu. Sitting on a tie for third place was Arias, who shot 2-under 142 across the two rounds, complemented by four birdies in total. Oh continued her hot streak, as the veteran finished the first round of the day with a 1-over 73 — overcoming a tough triple bogey on the ninth hole with a bounce-back effort in the second round with four birdies. Zhu paralleled her teammates’ successes, sitting 2-over par at the end of Monday’s rounds.

On Tuesday, the Bears continued their hot start — they moved from fourth place to second place by being the only team to shoot under par. Cal claimed second place in the Gunrock Classic with four Bears placing in the top 10: Oh (second), Arias (third), Zhu (ninth) and Amina Wolf (10th). Cal finished the three-round tournament with 11-over with a final score of 875.

Continuing her performance from day one, Oh displayed a strong performance and led the team by example with a final score of 3-under 69. She moved up four spots during the final day of the Gunrock Classic as she posted the best score of the round and placed in second place. Oh finished five shots below Sacramento State’s Corrine Viden who won the tournament.

Freshman Arias placed third with a final day score of 1-over 73. Arias’ week has been impressive, especially with her eight birdies, resulting in her best career finish. Likewise, Zhu recorded a 73 in the final round, which led her to successfully notch her third career top-10 finish. Last but not least, Wolf finished in a tie for 10th place by shooting a 72 in the final round with three birdies. Her clutch performance moved her nine spots up the ladder, allowing her to jump in the top 10.

With the team’s overall success, the future of the Bears seems bright, as Oh leads the team by example with her stellar performances and leadership, but she is also in her senior season. When the veteran player leaves, the team will undoubtedly miss her presence. It will be up to freshmen Zhu and Arias to carry their hot streak into the next year while passing down valuable advice to incoming freshmen.

With record performances all around, Cal gets a week of rest as the team prepares itself for its next challenge at Juli Inkster at the Meadow Club Invitational, teeing off March 18 at Fairfax, California.

Leo Kim covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected].