Cal women’s golf heads confidently into the Pac-12 Championship

Marianne Li for Cal womens golf
Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Cal women’s golf heads to Southern California for the Pac-12 Golf Championships, which tees off Monday and finishes Wednesday. The Bears will compete for the Pac-12 title against other highly ranked teams at the Palos Verdes Golf Club from April 15-17.

On the last day of the tournament, for the first time in history, the Pac-12 Network will televise live coverage of the 2019 Pac-12 Championship, starting 2 p.m. PT.

In this year’s fall season, the Bears came away with a stunning No. 2 finish in the Pac-12 Preview against 10 other top competitors from the conference and Hawaii. Senior Cindy Oh, freshman Katherine Zhu and junior Maria Herraez Galvez all finished in the top 10 in the standings — overall, Cal shot 1-under 875 for the entire tournament, just one shot behind Arizona. In hindsight, the Pac-12 Preview was the ignition for the hot streak the Bears took on in the 2018-19 season. Cal finished second in four of their last six tournaments.

Furthermore, just this past week, the Bears showed their ability to compete against highly ranked teams at the Silverado Showdown. The tournament in Napa had a highly competitive field with five Pac-12 teams in the top 25: No. 1 USC, No. 4 Stanford, No. 13 UCLA, No. 21 Washington and No. 22 Oregon. Cal, however, overceded UCLA in the final standings.

In the Pac-12 tournament, Zhu and Oh will be the players to watch for the Bears. Both players have been exceptional in their performances this season. Zhu is on a hot streak, having one of the best freshman seasons in program history — she had her highest finish of 2019 in Napa and the Gunrock Classic when she placed No. 9 in both. This season, Zhu averaged 73.16 and posted five top-10 finishes.

On the other hand, Oh has been a role model for her fellow teammates, showing her veteran spirit and determination to perform well under pressure. This season, Oh posted three top-five finishes and improved her scoring average from last season by nearly four strokes, from 76.4 to 72.83 per round. Earlier last week, Oh struggled at the beginning of the tournament but bounced back on day three to be featured on SportsCenter for chipping a ball in backward from 20 yards. Overall, both players seem to be in peak condition and ready to tee off for championship play.

For the tournament, there will be a practice round on Sunday, April 14 at 8:30 a.m. before the Pac-12 tournament tees off Monday morning. For all three days, the tee times will be the same, beginning with No. 1 and No. 10 at 8:30 a.m. and 8:40 a.m., respectively. The team championship will be awarded to the college team with the best total combined score across all rounds.

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