The No. 16 Cal women’s golf team’s message all season has been that every tournament it took part in was a stepping stone toward the postseason. And if that is so, the Bears are headed in the wrong direction because things seem to be getting even worse.
This past week at the Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championships in Pleasanton, California, Cal managed only to improve by one spot in the final standings from a year ago. It ended ninth of 11 teams in what was easily their worst performance of the season. It didn’t even come close to compete with the top competition, much less the eventual champion, No. 2 USC.
Cal as a collective unit has not been able to perform up to par during these last few weeks and it was apparent that it was going to carry this on for the postseason. The Bears on the first day of play shot a 295 (+7) and finished dead last. Things would only improve as the Bears were able to come back on the second day and shoot one shot over par 289 (+1). They capped off the final day with their worst round of the tournament, shooting a 297 (+9). The only positive thing that Cal was able to take away from the tournament is that it was able to move up one spot in the standings after the conclusion of every day.
Individually, the Bears’ different players have been able to step up throughout the course of the season. This tournament was no different. Junior Lucia Gutierrez earned a top-15 finish, tying for 12th. Awarded an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention,, Gutierrez finished the first day shooting 1-under, which was her fourth tally of the season shooting under par. On the second and third day, she was able to finish at par, the ninth and 10th time, respectively, this season that she had done at least that well.
Senior Hannah Suh also started off her postseason fairly well by shooting 1-over after the first day, the second best score in the Bears’ lineup behind Gutierrez. Things never got brighter from there as she scored a 76 (+4) in the second round and closed out the last round 11 shots over par. It was another rough tournament for Suh, despite being named First Team All-Pac-12.Cal’s other senior, Carly Childs, had a decent performance shooting 4-over on the first day and improved on the second, shooting par, but finished the tournament the way she opened it.
Cal’s performance of late has been negative because of the way things were turning around at the beginning of spring. There have been signs throughout the season that have shown the team’s potential to make noise, but those have been sporadic. It seems that individually the Bears have been able to shine at times, but not as a collective unit, and that is what is missing from this team. If it can receive a spot in the NCAA Regionals, its 2015-16 campaign could not be a closed book just yet.
Oscar Oxlaj covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected]