Despite placing in the top five in both of its events this season, Cal women’s golf comes into the Stanford Intercollegiate as the perennial underdog. As good as Cal may be, top-ranked USC, Stanford and Washington are fully expected to dominate the event.
The Bears are fresh off of a fifth-place finish at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational as well as a first-place finish at the Ptarmigan Classic. But nine conference opponents provide much tougher competition at the Stanford Intercollegiate, which will be held Friday through Sunday at the Stanford golf course. Cal will be playing Carly Childs, Nicola Roessler, Lucia Gutierrez, Hannah Suh, Morgan Thompson and individual competitor Roberta Roeller.
Top-ranked USC and Stanford are the clear-cut favorites to win the event. USC is looking for its third consecutive first-place victory, returning all five players from last year’s NCAA Championship season, four of them being All-Americans. The defending individual medalist for this event, Kyung Kim, will also be competing.
Stanford hopes to capitalize upon its home-field advantage, a game-changer in collegiate golf. Players don’t have to take the long flight and know the course by heart. This gives them more confidence, as they have played each hole many times before. But some players get complacent and do not study the course, a huge handicap no matter how familiar the course may be.
The 6,778-yard, par-71 Stanford golf course is consistently rated as one of the finest and toughest courses, with a slope of 128. The forecasted temperature in the high 70s indicates clear and perfect weather for the golfers to play their best, unlike at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational a couple of weeks ago, where hail and darkness forced delays of game.
After two top-10 finishes this season, Childs (76-75-72 – 223, +7) is once again expected to lead Cal at the Stanford Intercollegiate. She was the primary contributor for the Bears (301-299-306 – 906, +42) at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational a couple of weeks ago.
“Our team would say we’re not satisfied with our performance,” said Cal coach Nancy McDaniel after the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational. “In some ways, I’m satisfied in how we approached the game because of the weather and the confidence I saw.”
At the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, Stanford (285-283-295 – 863, -1) crushed the competition and won by a margin of 27 strokes over second-place Washington (301-289-300 – 890, +26). Stanford player and individual medalist from Edean Mariah Stackhouse will also be competing in the event.
Although winning is not foreign to the Bears, a first- or second-place finish at the Stanford Intercollegiate will prove to teams that Cal is truly a force to be reckoned with. This event, more than any other, will prove to be a measuring stick for the underdog Cal team.
“We all know what we have to get in line and in order to win, and that would be our scoring game, our short game and our chipping and putting,” McDaniel said. “We’re fully capable of beating any team if we do that.”
Winston Cho covers golf. Contact him at [email protected]