When Cal senior Hannah Suh knocked in her first birdie on the par-4 fifth hole, she embarked on her journey to be Cal’s golden player this season. After finishing in the top five just two weeks ago, she added a seventh-place rank at the Stanford Intercollegiate held from Sunday to Tuesday.
“It’s nice to see consistent play and to see that come from (Suh). It’s (Suh’s) time right now,” said Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel. “It’s always fun to be able to see a senior be able to piece it all together.”
Suh played her way to an 18-hole score of 72, one stroke over par. She recorded a 70-71 to finish the three-day competition at even par. Her playing has been an emblem of consistency that the Bears have been struggling to find this season.
Cal junior Lucia Gutierrez struggled to a finish on the back nine of the first round with four consecutive bogeys. She carded a 75-69-72=216 (+3) for the contest. Her three birdies on the second day helped Gutierrez power her way to a two-under, 69, the Bears’ lowest 18-hole score.
“I can’t complain. I’ve been hitting the ball really good and I drove the ball well. We hit some good shots, but some of them, we couldn’t execute. I played way better than my score showed (on day one). On the second day, I was ready to play, ready to get it back. Shooting two under gave me some good confidence,” Gutierrez said. “(Round three) was pretty good, too. I had some obstacles along the way, but I finished strong.”
Rounding out the Bears’ starting five were sophomore Marthe Wold, freshmen Marianne Li and Amina Wolf. Li (76-71-75) finished nine strokes over par but added an even par 71 to her 40th place performance.
At the 2014 edition of the Stanford Intercollegiate, UCLA junior Bronte Law earned her first collegiate tournament win. Like last year, Law finished eight strokes under par (67-70-68) to win. Law’s back-to-back wins mark the third successive year that a player from UCLA has won this tournament. Former Bruin Allison Lee won in 2013.
Out of 17 teams, Cal ranked seventh, behind tournament champion No. 9 Stanford, No. 1 USC, No. 12 UCLA, No. 3 Northwestern, No. 2 Georgia and UC Davis. USC fell just seven strokes short of its fourth consecutive Stanford Intercollegiate win, despite having a team score of 7-under par on the final day to make up some lost ground. The Bears were able to pull off wins against No. 21 Washington and other Pac-12 opponents Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon.
“Going into the tournament, if we finished top three, it would be a great tournament, and top six, it would be okay — nothing loss and nothing gained,” McDaniel said. “Finishing just one shot out of sixth, for me, is close enough.”
Both Gutierrez and McDaniel agree that the team is in a good place right now. Playing multiple top teams in the nation gives the Bears a point of comparison.
“It was a really good and exciting tournament. It’s a good stepping stone for us as (the) Pac-12 Preview in Hawaii is coming up. It showed us that we were capable of playing with the top teams in the nation,” Gutierrez said. “It wasn’t bad. Honestly, I felt like we left it all out there on the golf course.”
Chris Zheng covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected]