Cal women’s golf hopes to finish strong at Silverado Showdown

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After recording a third straight runner-up finish at the Lamkin Invitational, the Cal women’s golf team heads into the Silverado Showdown this Sunday seeking to continue its spring hot streak.

The tournament will take place at the Silverado Resort North Course in Napa, California for three days (April 7-9). The Silverado Resort North Course has a maximum yardage of 6,900 yards, but the actual course for the Silverado Showdown is 6,192 yards. In addition, the course has history — it has hosted multiple PGA tour events, such as the Frys.com Open in 2014 and 2015.

The Silverado Showdown is the final tournament for Cal before the Pac-12 Tournament. Apart from the little road bump at the Bruin Wave Invitational, the Bears have been coming home with successful results every tournament: Gunrock Classic (second/12), Meadow Club Collegiate (second/12) and SDSU March Mayhem (second/12).

Despite their strong results, the Bears have yet to place first in a tournament. The Silverado Showdown tournament will be a great opportunity to get that final push of hurrah before the finale at the Pac-12 Tournament. Competition, however, seems to be tough, as there will be seven teams placed in the top 25 heading to Napa: No. 1 Southern California, No. 4 Stanford, No. 8 Arizona, No. 15 Arizona State, No. 16 Northwestern, No. 24 Oregon and No. 25 Washington. Comparatively, the Bears come in ranked at No. 45.

The Cal women’s golf team has been sitting at the lower end of the top-50 rankings for the majority of the fall and spring season — which evidently attests to the team’s shortcomings. It highlights the team’s inability to perform on all cylinders to improve its positioning.

Hence, despite placing as runner-up three times consecutively, the Bears will really have to up their game for the Silverado Showdown. History and record prove that Cal has struggled against highly ranked teams (flashback to Bruin Invitational 10th/15 and Stanford Invitational ninth/17). If the Bears wish to continue their hot streak and maintain their consistency from the previous three tournaments, they will need to play perfectly — every player will need to post numbers on the board.

On the bright side, the team will be competing against multiple Pac-12 teams, which will help them gauge their competition before the actual Pac-12 Tournament. The Silverado Showdown will be a good chance to test how much the team has grown over the season and see what it still needs to improve on before the postseason.

The Silverado Showdown will also be senior Cindy Oh’s last seasonal tournament before her career at Cal ends. Based on the results of each tournament this spring, it seems as though Oh will pass down the torch to freshman Katherine Zhu, who has posted phenomenal numbers as a freshman all season long. The two have been top finishers at tournaments multiple times — time will tell if they finish on top in the Silverado Showdown also.

Along with senior Cindy Oh, there will be two other seniors ending their regular season with the Silverado Showdown: Amina Wolf and Marianne Li. Thus, their veteran presence will provide some experience to the rest of their fellow Bears in this tournament. As the team’s young blood continues to prove their worth, the Silverado Showdown may prove whether they are ready to take on the seniors’ burden and lead the Bears next season.

Leo Kim covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected].