The clock has struck midnight for the Cal women’s golf team’s Cinderella run at the NCAA Championships.
The Bears placed 24th in Bradenton, Florida, which means they were unable to secure the top-15 finish needed to advance to the second round of stroke play. If Cal had been able to reach the second round, it would get a chance to be among the top eight teams, securing it a spot in the final match play contest to determine the 2015 NCAA champion.
Cal began the tournament by managing to finish only the first round’s 13 holes Friday because of lightning delays that resulted in the suspension of play. The Bears finished their first round of play Saturday morning by carding a 321 (+33) and didn’t do much better in the second round, scoring a 320 (+32). The team recorded its best round of the tournament Sunday by scoring 312 (+24) to finish with an overall score of 953 (+89).
Junior Carly Childs, who competed at the tournament for the second consecutive season, led the team with three birdies Sunday and ended the tournament with a total of seven. The junior recorded the team’s strongest performance with a 78-74-80=232 (+16).
Lucia Gutierrez, a sophomore, tied Childs for the lowest round of the tournament by a Bear by shooting two birdies and four bogies to eventually finish with a 74 (+2) in Sunday’s third round. Gutierrez began her tournament campaign with an 86 in the first round and improved on her opening performance with a 78 in the second round. The sophomore’s efforts culminated with her strong third round to put her at an overall score of 238 (+22).
Freshman Marthe Wold began her first NCAA Championship with a 79 (+7) in the first round. She took a step back, however, in the second round by scoring an 85 (+13). The freshman came full circle in the third round by again carding a 79 to finish with an overall tournament score of 243 (+27).
Also making her first career NCAA Championships appearance was junior Pauline Loulier. She kicked off her first round of play with a 78 (+6) but was unable to improve in the second and third rounds, scoring an 83 (+11) in both rounds. Loulier finished the tournament with an overall score of 244 (+28).
Hanna Suh, another junior, began her tournament efforts with a disappointing 91 (+19) in the first round and followed it up with an equally poor 92 (+20) in the second round. Fortunately for the junior, she was able to make a significant improvement in the third round by recording a 79 to finish with an overall score of 262 (+46).
A few months ago, it did not seem like Bears would even be making the postseason trip to Bradenton, but they remained determined and played their game. It might have been faith. It might have been skill. Heck, it might have even been luck that got them to nationals.
Nevertheless, the Bears made it. Despite their early exit, they should not feel bad that their postseason journey has come to an end. Instead, they should be proud that they pulled themselves together at the NCAA Regionals to even get a chance at the collegiate women’s golf extravaganza of the year.
Manny Flores is the assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].