Entering the Silverado Showdown as the No. 45-ranked team, Cal women’s golf’s chances of winning the tournament seemed slim — especially with eight teams ranked in the top 30. Despite the gloomy predictions, the Bears pulled through on the last day of the tournament with the best score of the day, helping Cal to climb six spots and finish at No. 7 among the stacked pool at the Silverado Showdown.
Despite finishing at No. 2 in last year’s Silverado Showdown, a seventh-place finish is still notable considering how the team struggled against tough competition all season long. Similarly to the Bruin Wave Invitational, the Silverado Showdown featured many strong opponents, with three top-10 teams.
Like in previous tournaments, Cal got off to a slow start in the first round. At the end of Sunday’s round, the Bears were tied for 11th place. At one point, the Bears dropped to No. 15 in the standings before rallying together in the back portion of the first round and finishing in a tie for No. 11. Within the first round, the Bears were within eight shots of the top five and 13 shots behind the leader in the field.
In Tuesday’s competition, Cal bounced back as four Bears posted rounds of par or under among 15 players in the competition who were able to achieve such a feat. Because of their collective success, the Bears climbed past Colorado, Iowa State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, UCLA and Wisconsin.
Continuing her hot streak, freshman Katherine Zhu did not fail to meet expectations in the Silverado Showdown. In her last regular-season competition as a freshman, Zhu was able to lead the Bears in performance for the entirety of the tournament. Finishing in a tie for No. 9, Zhu shot a 2-under 70 in Tuesday’s round, recording four birdies and an overall 4-over for the tournament.
The Silverado Showdown was a nice display of the team members’ respective performances shining at the same time. Despite fighting small, irritating injuries, junior Maria Herraez Galvez performed well throughout the tournament. Starting on the 13th hole on the final day, Herraez Galvez rallied and shot three birdies in a five-hole stretch that led her to finish 1-under 71 and finish in a tie for No. 19 overall.
For senior Cindy Oh, the Silverado Showdown was a rough regular-season finale to her collegiate golf career at Cal. Despite performing brilliantly all season long, Oh had her worst round of the season in the second round. Yet, soon after, Oh’s veteran experience kicked in as she literally flipped things around — beautifully hitting the golf ball in a backward motion in a hole-in-one. Her veteran drive helped her hit five birdies and tie for the third-lowest round recorded in 2019’s Silverado Showdown, with a 3-under 69. Oh finished the last regular-season game of her senior season in a tie for 29th place.
Senior Marianne Li shot 72 on Tuesday and notched three birdies to end the tournament strongly. Overall, she finished in a tie for No. 56. Senior Amina Wolf finished the tournament in a tie for No. 46 as she shot 3-over 75 on Tuesday. Both seniors ended their final regular-season game strong despite the rough start.
Silverado Showdown was a tournament in which all the players performed at high levels against top competition. Despite the difficult start to the tournament, the Bears showed promise in their ability to rally together and climb up the leaderboard. Silverado Showdown was a test to Cal’s ability to succeed in the Pac-12 Championships, and it is a safe bet to say the Bears are ready for the postseason.
The conference championship starts Monday, April 15 at Palos Verdes Golf Club in California.
Leo Kim covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected].