Cal women’s golf comes away with 2nd-place finish at preview event

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Cal women’s golf had a sensational outing in Hawaii, finishing in second place at the Pac-12 Preview to close out its fall season. This was an action-packed event that came down to the wire, with just one stroke separating first from second place and, subsequently, second from third place.

Sandwiched in between the tournament’s winners, Arizona, and a pair of third-place programs (USC and Colorado), the Bears’ performance featured a number of noteworthy showings. On Monday, the first day of the event, senior Cindy Oh tied a Cal record by shooting 6 under par on the day. This left her in first place in the individual rankings after one day of action and placed her name in the Cal record books.

Led by Oh’s career day, the team started off on fire, finishing day one in a three-team tie for first with Oregon and USC, scoring 289. Day one left two Bears in the top five of the individual rankings, with Oh in first and freshman Katherine Zhu in a tie for fifth.

Cal continued its hot start by remaining in first place through the second day of action with a score of 292, a small decline from its first round of play.

Zhu shot up to second place Tuesday with Oh right behind her in the third position, but junior Maria Herraez Galvez was the player to watch on day two, as she escalated 20 spots on the individual leaderboard in between the first and second days.

Galvez outdid herself even further on the final day of competition, shooting a career-best 69 and finishing in eighth place overall. The junior stepped up big to close out the fall season with a bang, putting her in prime position to do more of the same come spring.

The Bears sealed a second-place victory in the Pac-12 Preview with Arizona passing them up on the last day, but it was still an outstanding outing from the golfers nonetheless. Cal finished with a score of 875 throughout the three-day tournament, only one stroke behind the Wildcats and just one ahead of USC and Colorado, who tied for third.

The final outing of the fall was a nail-biter and came down to the last strokes of the tournament. Head coach Nancy McDaniel spoke on the great competition in the Pac-12 before the event, so this close-scoring matchup is no surprise.

Three of the Bears finished in the top 10 of the individual leaderboards, with Zhu finishing tied for fifth, Galvez in a tie for eighth and Oh in a tie for 10th. Senior Marianne Li finished in a tie for 31st and freshman Elena Arias placed in a tie for 45th, putting all five Cal Bears in the top three-fourths of the individual leaderboards.

Cal’s strong performance against some of the NCAA’s best competition will surely have the Bears skyrocketing in the rankings as they close out their fall campaign. Currently ranked No. 49, the Bears topped No. 6 UCLA and top-ranked USC, as well as many other highly respected Pac-12 opponents.

The team will hope that this intense victory will propel them into the spring season with an optimistic outlook at the new year. After an extended winter hiatus, Cal opens up the spring season Feb. 25-26 at Bruin Wave Invitational in San Luis Obispo, California.

Jack Whaley covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @_jackdouglas_.