The Cal women’s golf team did not end their fall campaign on a high note, but their spirits remain golden as they look forward to the spring campaign next year.
The team finished its fall campaign with a seventh-place finish at the Pac-12 Preview. The two day, 54-hole tournament began Monday and concluded Tuesday at the par-73, 6,392-yard Nanea Golf Club course in Kona, Hawaii.
The team carded a 302-298-302=902 (+26) and finished ahead of Washington State, which scored a 302-298-304=904 (+28). Cal improved upon last year’s finish by one place.
“I’m always satisfied with a good effort,” head coach Nancy McDaniel said. “As far as competitions go, we know we can finish higher.”
Junior Hannah Suh said the team is not satisfied with the finish, and she agrees with McDaniel that the team can perform better. She feels that the team is in its own island at the moment because it’s neither at the top nor at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Suh tied for 14th overall and recorded her third top-20 finish of the fall with a score of
72-76-74=222 (+3). Her one-over 74 was the low round for the Bears on Tuesday. Suh hit four birdies on her round Tuesday, including hitting a birdie on the par-5 sixth, the final hole. Despite another consistent and solid performance, she pointed out that she could have done better. Additionally, Suh lamented that she did not take advantage of a couple of shots throughout the course of play.
The competition featured every Pac-12 program — except Utah, which does not field a team — and island host Hawaii. No. 1 Washington took home the bragging rights with a score of 865 (-11). Second place was taken by No. 5 UCLA 876 (E), and third place belonged to No. 4 Stanford 883 (+7).
“We got to play against UCLA, USC and Stanford,” said sophomore Lucia Gutierrez. “Our golf game is not so different from theirs. We’re right there.”
Despite what the team’s finish may imply, Gutierrez believes the team has improved throughout the season and has the potential to rank among the cream of the crop. She scored a 79-71-75= 225 (+6) and tied for 21st overall. Gutierrez’s 14-pars helped the team stay consistent.
Gutierrez made her second appearance of the season after not being able to play earlier due to health issues.
“I didn’t lose much of the feeling,” Gutierrez said. “I managed to get back at it and have my usual golf game. I’m going to keep working hard over the off season.”
According to Suh, the team is experiencing a situation in which one of them shoots a good under-par score that helps the team’s overall score. Unfortunately, the solid under-par scores have not been consistent among all of them as a unit.
“We have good players, and we have to bring our scores together,” Suh said. “That hasn’t quite happened yet.”
McDaniel said she believes the team needs to work on its ability to take the fewest number of shots within a hundred yards. She is looking forward to what the the spring campaign has in store for the Bears.
“We’ve got some key ingredients going in next spring, which are enthusiasm, hunger and not being satisfied,” McDaniel said.
Manny Flores covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected].