A strong start for the Cal women’s golf team ultimately resulted in an almost catastrophic finish at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational on Tuesday and Wednesday. After its third-place finish at the CSU Ptarmigan Classic, adding a second-place finish to the Bears’ accolades this season can only be considered a point of progress.
Shooting to get back on course in Sammamish, Washington, all six of Cal’s golfers started the first hole of the invitational with pars. Building off the good start, three Bears continued by making birdies on the second hole.
Cal senior Hannah Suh led the charge this week with her fourth-place finish, which was her fifth career top-five finish for the Bears. Playing Cal’s only bogey-free round and carding a tied-for-tournament-best 69 by earning three birdies in the first round, set the tone early for Suh and the team. She followed up with a solid 76-75 in the final two rounds.
Also in the top 10 was Bears junior Lucia Gutierrez, who finished tied for ninth. Knocking in seven birdies through the first 36 holes of competition was an enormous contributing factor to Cal leading the field by 10 strokes after the first day. Gutierrez’s final 18 holes were cluttered with seven bogeys and a double bogey, moving her from being one stroke under par (71-72) to eight strokes over par (71-72-81).
Freshman Marianne Li, a Washington native, and sophomore Marthe Wold tied at 29th with freshman Amina Wolf, who was making her debut for the Bears. Li shot a 73 in the first round with the help of two birdies, but managed only a single birdie over the last 36 holes. Li finished the invitational with round scores of 77 and 79.
Wold (74-73-82), despite carding nine birdies overall, had a rare and unusual moment when she had five strokes over par on the 12th hole of the last round. With similar scores to Wold, Wolf, with eight birdies, scored 75-73-81.
So far this season, Cal senior Carly Childs has yet to find her rhythm and consistency relative to her previous success for the Bears. Her performance as a nonscoring individual this week reflected exactly that. Ironically, Childs was probably Cal’s most consistent golfer of the tournament. Her bright moment in the midst of a 79-77-80 (+20) overall score was an eagle on the 11th hole in the second round. Eagles, while not rare, certainly aren’t common in collegiate golf, which is particularly evident by Childs earning the only eagle of the competition.
Going into the second day, the 10-stroke lead that Cal had over the field eventually became a five-stroke deficit to San Diego State. Despite finishing the tournament with a tie for the most number of birdies as a team, the Bears could not hold onto their lead. San Diego State, on the other hand, led the field with 181 pars by the six playing team members over the two days. After San Diego State and Cal, rounding out the top five were Washington, San Francisco and Pepperdine.
Despite placing second, the Bears tenaciously held onto their 2-stroke, 11-stroke and 18-stroke lead over Pac-12 competitors such as Washington, Oregon State and Colorado, respectively. This bodes well for Cal as it will be competing against many more Pac-12 teams over the course of the next month.
Chris Zheng covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected]