Junior excels as Cal women’s golf finishes 10th in Fairfax

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The Cal women’s golf team sprang back into action Monday after its opening tournament last week in San Luis Obispo, competing in Fairfax at the Meadow Club Women’s Intercollegiate tournament. After a mediocre 11th place finish to kick off their season, the Bears finished 10th overall (606) out of 16 competing teams this weekend. Washington took first place, finishing a healthy 10 strokes ahead of second-place finisher San Francisco.

Cal entered this week’s tournament with only five healthy players, as sophomores Jiyoon Jang and Maria Herraez were both out with injuries. This meant that all five remaining players had to compete in the tournament, whereas typically the team members have a qualifying tournament among themselves to determine who will compete. This left minimal room for error for the five Bears and added an extra layer of challenge to the tournament for Cal.

The first day of the tournament felt like déjà vu for the Bears, as their tee time was delayed three hours because of a frost warning, just as they had been delayed for the same reason Feb. 27 at the Bruin Wave Invitational. This delay allowed them to play for only 18 holes instead of the originally planned 36.

When Cal’s group of five finally got out onto the course, it finished the day in a three-way tie for ninth place overall (302), placing the Bears 19 shots behind the leader, Washington (283). Senior Marthe Wold and junior Amina Wolf, who both put together outstanding rounds last week, each finished well outside the top 25. Wold finished tied for 60th overall and shot seven bogeys while Wolf finished 86th with one triple bogey and one double bogey.

While these were not the performances the Bears were hoping for, there was a bright spot. Junior Marianne Li finished tied for 14th overall, shooting just one over for the day, accentuated by three birdies in round one.

Heading into the second and final round of the tournament, Cal tried to climb up the leaderboard but fell short by a significant margin. Rather than improving on their Monday showing, the Bears shot 304 as a team — two shots more than their opening round, a performance that dropped them from 9th to 10th overall.

While it was a disappointing finish for the team as a whole, Li continued her outstanding play and finished tied for 13th in the individual standings, the best finish for the Bears. This was Li’s fourth top-25 finish in a row, as she recorded three more birdies in her final round.

After recording a +7 on Day One, Wold had the best individual score of the day for the Bears, shooting an even par. This strong finish Tuesday propelled her up the individual leaderboards as she finished tied for 37th along with her teammate, freshman Sofia Lundell. Lundell also displayed a step in the right direction from her first tournament, where she finished tied for 56th overall.

Although the team battled injuries and weather once again, Li’s consistent play and Wold’s quick turnaround both offer hope for the Bears as they continue into their spring season.

Cal will get some much-needed rest before the SDSU March Mayhem starting March 26. In their time off, the Bears will prepare a game plan and aim for a top-10 finish in San Diego.

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