Cindy Oh’s career-best finish highlights Cal women’s golf’s opening tournament

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In sports, while there are often exhilarating rookie performances, in most cases, results come from experience. That was the model exhibited by Cal senior Cindy Oh, who had the best tournament of her life this week, posting a 1-over 73 Tuesday morning. The score was strong enough to earn her a fourth-place finish at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational. Cal as a team took home a tie for eighth, as it shot 10 over 298 on the day.

Oh captured the first top-10 finish of her collegiate career, entering Tuesday at 5 under after a taxing 36 holes the day before. Oh’s second round proved vital, as she shot an incredible 67 to put her right among the top players on the leaderboard. Her focus and endurance allowed her to keep her strong performance going, and she finished only three strokes behind the champion by the time Tuesday was in the books.

Though the senior played the best out of the Golden Bears, the performances of the freshman duo should not be understated. After shooting a 73 in both rounds Monday while playing as an individual, Spain’s Elena Arias flipped the switch heading into the final round. Her four-birdie performance gave her a 70 Tuesday, low enough to bump her all the way from 27th to a tie for 13th in just one round. She finished the tournament at-par with a 216, which is impressive considering the course and her freshman status.

Katherine Zhu, the other newcomer on the team, opened with a rough first 18 holes Monday and a mediocre 77. Just like Arias, however, she picked it up and had strong second and third rounds to bump her into a tie for 28th by the end of the tournament.

The Bears had three individuals finish in the top 30, which is undoubtedly a positive for their first tournament of the season. Senior Amina Wolf and junior Maria Galvez tied for 52nd and 59th, respectively, while senior Marianne Li had a tough couple of rounds to give her a plus-14 and 70th-place finish.

In terms of team scoring, which included all but Arias, the Bears had their best showing in the second round, scoring 286. They shot five over in the first round of the opening tournament but rebounded in the second with a 2-under, posting them at seventh on the leaderboard going into Tuesday. They eventually finished the tournament tied for 8th with UNLV at 15 over.

Cal will return to the Bay to prepare for a unique showdown with Stanford on Sept. 20. Each team will have one woman and one man pair up, after which they will compete at Menlo Country Club in a four-ball match.

Shailin Singh is an assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].