Before the Cal women’s golf team began its bid at a national championship, there was an overwhelming feeling that the deck was stacked against the Bears for factors that were beyond their control, or the control of any other school for that matter.
Cal, of course, is a team rooted in the West Coast and has played a majority of the season with conditions favorable for a couple rounds of golf. Heading into the NCAA Championship, the Bears had played exclusively in locations with an abundance of sunshine, from Northern and Southern California to Arizona to Hawaii.
From the get-go, the NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farm in Sugar Grove, Illinois, shaped up to be a completely different animal, bombarding the Bears with chilly weather that forced the team to trade in their polos for raincoats.
Cal not only endured the elements once again during the third round of the tournament, but the team had its best round, shooting 303 (+15) compared to a 319 (+31) in the first round and 306 (+18) in the second round. Despite the valiant effort, the Bears’ 14th-place finish at the end of the third round was not enough to crack the top eight to qualify for the next round of the tournament and the team saw their season officially come to a close.
Following a solid round in the first day of the tournament, Cal was the sole possessor of 15th place. The Bears had a slight improvement in the second round of the tournament following a weather delay, moving into a two-way tie for 14th place with Furman.
Cal knew heading into the third round of play it would need each of its players to have career-days on the greens, but the team ended the day once again in a tie for 14th place, this time with Alabama.
Leading the way for the Bears throughout the tournament was junior Marthe Wold, who shot 227 (+11) in three rounds to place 22nd on the individual leaderboard. The junior improved in every day of the tournament, shooting 77 (+5) in the first round, 76 (+4) in the second round and 74 (+2) in the third and final round.
Wold not only was the Bears’ best performer throughout the entire tournament, but had the best scores in Par 4s and Par 5s, averaging 4.33 strokes with a score of +10 in the former and 4.83 strokes with a score of -2 in the latter. The junior also racked up nine birdies during the tournament, including four during her last day of play.
Senior Lucia Gutierrez was Cal’s second-best performer in the final tournament of her career with the team. Despite dropping 14 places to 73rd in the individual leaderboards with the conclusion of the third round, Gutierrez had her best performance during her last day in Illinois.
After shooting 79 (+7) in both the first and second round of the tournament, Gutierrez shot 77 (+5). The senior shot 235 (+19) over her three rounds and her score of +1 during Par 3s was the best among her teammates.
Going forward, the Bears will retain a majority of their current core. Cal will lose Gutierrez after four years with the team, but can look forward to the development of its four underclassmen in freshmen Maria Herraez and Jiyoon Jang and sophomores Marianne Li and Amina Wolf.
Justice delos Santos is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]