Cal women’s golf concludes fall season with optimistic mindset

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Cal women’s golf closed out its fall season Nov. 7 after traveling to New Mexico, Palo Alto, Idaho and concluding the year in Hawaii. The team displayed some rough patches but also some expected moments of brightness, especially with its two emerging freshmen Katherine Zhu and Elena Arias.

Arias kicked off her collegiate career by making an immediate impact, placing 13th individually at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational. She continued to prove herself as the season progressed and was a key part to the Bears success this autumn.

The Bears as a whole started off shaky this season, falling into a tie for eighth place out of 16 teams at the season-opening event. Although the team didn’t finish where they would have liked, senior Cindy Oh placed fourth place individually, foreshadowing more success that would come in the ensuing weeks.

The Bears took part in a unique event in which the men’s and women’s teams paired up to compete against Stanford in the inaugural Big Match at Menlo Country Club. The match ended in a tie that had to be settled in two playoff holes. Oh eventually sealed the Bears victory over their archrivals.

Zhu was another huge contributor to the Bears’ fall campaign, as she notched a personal second-place finish at the Coeur D’Alene Resort Collegiate Invitational from Sept. 24-25 and helped guide the team to a fourth-place finish out of 18 teams.

Zhu also came in fifth place individually at the Pac-12 Preview last weekend. The freshman from San Jose made an outstanding first impression on her teammates, and the team will be looking forward to more of the same during the spring season.

The Bears suffered a decline in pace at the Stanford Intercollegiate where they were only able to place in ninth out of 17 teams. As a team, Cal would have ideally liked to have finished at least in the top half of the competition on rival Stanford’s home course.

But weeks later, the team went into the Pac-12 Preview ranked 47th in the nation after its rocky stretch and finished out the year with a second-place victory against top competition, including No. 1 USC and No. 6-ranked UCLA. The final event of the year came down to the final strokes, with just three strokes separating the top four teams.

Cal stayed humble through its rocky portions of the fall, and it paid off. The team’s outstanding play in the Pac-12 Preview, including a record-setting performance from Oh, gives fans a lot to get excited about when the regular season kicks off in a few short months.

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