Cal women’s golf places 11th at Windy City Collegiate

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Kailua Kona, HI - October 24, 2016: The Colorado Buffaloes compete at the PAC 12 Preview at Nanea Golf Club.

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The Cal women’s golf team entered a hot and humid Chicago day Monday looking to jump-start its season at the Windy City Collegiate. After a rough first round, the Bears were able to bounce back, and while the team finished 11th overall, the two-day tournament was full of flashes of brilliance from the Bears.

The first round of Monday proved challenging for every member of the team, with each player recording at least one bogey and four out of the five recording at least one double bogey.

“Going into the first round, we were clearly not ready to play,” said head coach Nancy McDaniel. “We can’t be waiting the whole morning to decide we want to actually focus. There’s no reason we should be like that — we don’t practice that.”

This lack of focus resulted in +26 overall score in the first round, which landed the team far down the leaderboard. This was a familiar script for the Bears, who also dug themselves a hole in their first round three weeks ago in New Mexico. But as if right on cue, the Bears quickly improved in the second round of the day, just as they had in their last tournament.

Although the second round came on the same day as the first, Cal played as if it were a new team. Sophomore Jiyoon Jang, who has been the bright light in the Bears’ dismal season so far, shot -1 in the second round, dropping six strokes from her first round, where she shot +5. Jang finished the day T-27 with two other Cal players.

Senior Marthe Wold was one of those players. Wold mirrored Jang, dropping exactly six strokes and finishing her second round at -1. The other member of the team who also finished the day T-27 was sophomore Maria Herraez. Although Herraez has been struggling this season after an impressive freshman year, she looked like the star from last year in her second round, with three birdies to finish her second at par.

“We know we have it,” said McDaniel. “I think that’s what the afternoon round showed us. We’d been around 18 holes, and it was our seventh hour on the golf course, and we could focus like that. … That shows we’ve got it.”

While the Bears did play just as well in their third and final round Tuesday, they had simply fallen too far down the leaderboard to make any significant jumps. Even though they were not a top finisher as a team, the Bears had some outstanding performances in their last round on an individual level. Jang continued her poise on the course, finishing T-15 (+4) overall.

Junior Cindy Oh, a recent transfer who made her debut for the Bears this week, barely survived her first two rounds, shooting +7 and +8 combining for the highest score of the team Monday. Yet Tuesday, Oh had a phenomenal turnaround, shooting +2 in her final round, the second-best score of the day for the Bears. While this didn’t end up having much of an effect on her overall round score, as she finished T-62 overall, it showed another potential weapon that Cal will have as it continues its fall season.

The team looks to turn this strong individual play into strong team play as it heads down the coast in two weeks for the Stanford Intercollegiate at Pebble Beach.

Graham Griffin covers women’s golf. Contact her at [email protected].