Bears win Pac-12 championship in exciting finish

Washington State Media Relations/Courtesy
The Cal women's golf team won the Pac-12 Championship on Sunday, the second title in program history. Cal will compete in regionals from May 10-12 with the goal of advancing to NCAAs for the second straight year.

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After two key shots in the final round of competition, the Cal women’s golf team pulled out a nail-biting victory in the Pac-12 championships this weekend. The No. 9 Bears held off a late surge from USC to earn their second championship in program history.

Seniors Joanne Lee and Daniela Holmqvist nailed two poised shots to seal Cal’s victory this weekend in Pullman, Wash. Lee birdied on the 18th hole to break the tie, and Holmqvist’s par sealed the title for the Bears.

Cal had a strong lead through most of the final round, staying a few strokes ahead of second-place Colorado before the Trojans began their streak. USC had five birdies in just two holes, jumping the Buffs to move into second place.

The Bears proved they have the composure to execute at their best in late situations. Cal lost momentum after bogeys by Holmqvist and junior Jackie Williams dropped Cal into a tie. But the squad came back strong and closed out its most important win of the season.

Much of the victory’s relevance resides in the difficulty of the match. Coming in, eight of the eleven teams in the Pac-12 were ranked in the top 25 in the nation.

The Bears proved their worth among the heavyweights of women’s golf as a team while earning recognition for their key players individually. Lee and Holmqvist, who helped close out USC for the win, each finished in the top five.

Lee ended the tournament fourth with a three-over 219, and Holmqvist finished one stroke back at four-over 220.

Each of Cal’s five players finished in the top 50, as the Bears earned an automatic bid to the NCAA West Regional. The Bears will head to Erie, Colo. from May 10-12 for their 13th consecutive Regional bid.

If Cal finishes in the top eight at regionals, they will advance to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year. The Bears finished 12th at last year’s NCAA Championships.

The Cal men’s golf team won its first Pac-12 Championship on Sunday.