March is known for words such as madness, brackets and upsets. The No. 15 Cal women’s golf team got its own taste of the madness Monday when it lost as a six seed versus 11-seeded Kansas in the opening round of match play in SDSU’s March Mayhem.
The Bears were the only higher-seeded team to be upset in the first round, so Cal had to settle for playing in the consolation bracket, which it won to finish ninth overall out of 16 teams. Pac-12 rival No. 2 USC, the bracket’s one-seed, ended up winning the championship bracket.
“First round of play we just missed, we didn’t bring our A-game in the final holes of the matches which was the real disappointment,” said Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel. “We were inexperienced in match play as many teams are, we went back to the drawing board and we just figured we just had to play the golf course.”
In the first round the Bears fell to the Jayhawks, 3-2, with lone victories coming from seniors Hannah Suh and Carly Childs. Suh was able to defeat Kansas’ Lizzie Winyarat, 2&1, while Childs beat Victoria Chandra, 1 up. Suh and Childs went undefeated throughout the tournament, compiling a combined record of 6-0-2.
The following day, the Bears looked to get back on track as they played in the consolation bracket against Memphis. Cal came out with a 4-1 victory behind Childs’ notable performance. She recorded a dominant 6&5 victory over the Tigers’ Ashleigh Whisenant while freshman Marianne Li and Suh were able to contribute to the round with respective 4&3 and 3&2 victories.
In the third round, the Bears went up against TCU, who they beat, 3.5-1.5. Childs had an impressive comeback performance against freshman Sabrina Pena going from one down on the 15th hole to finish two up after the 18th hole. Freshman Amina Wolf, who has not performed much this spring season suffered Cal’s only loss, falling to Kelly McGovern, 5&4.
In the final portion of the bracket Cal went up against Pac-12 foe, No. 21 Colorado beating the Buffs, 3-2. Childs picked up her fourth straight win when she beat Alexis Keating, 2&1. Despite Childs’ impressive undefeated week, the Bears can still take away this weekend as a learning opportunity, especially because they were able to gain experience in match play.
“It all comes back to one shot at a time being in the present and playing the golf course, whether it’s stroke play or match play it all comes back to basic golf,” McDaniel said. “ It is about setting down your golf ball, stroke and the rest will play itself out.”
Oscar Oxlaj covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected]