Cal women’s golfers come up big in Monterey

Photo of a Cal golfer
Karen Chow/File

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The Cal women’s golf team has gone some months without competition as a full team, but several individual athletes have still been representing the blue and gold. On Sept. 28, a few Bears got down to business in Monterey, California, for the 2020 Fall Invitational at Bayonet and Black Horse.

Junior Katherine Zhu led the charge, finishing first with a final score of 1-over-par 145 — three strokes fewer than the second-place finisher. Her fellow teammates, freshman Mika Jin and sophomore Kristine Tran, placed third and 20th, respectively.

The event replaced the Molly Collegiate Invitational, which Cal was planning to host. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel made other plans with the Bayonet and Black Horse golf course, suggesting the tournament be turned into an open amateur event with other Northern California schools.

Zhu ended her final round within one shot under 71, including an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole. She ended her day a few hours before the rest of the players finished their final rounds and began working on a group project before getting notified of her victory.

Jin, who recently placed third in the U.S. Women’s Amateur tournament in Sacramento, shot five over to finish her day with a 77 and a tie for another third-place finish.

For now, the rest of the team can find solace in knowing that Zhu and Jin are dialed in for whenever regular-season outings can begin again. The team is also welcoming newcomer Cristina Ochoa, a freshman and the second Colombian to be on the Cal women’s golf team.

Although Ochoa will spend her first semester at home in Bogotá for virtual instruction, she’ll be gearing up for play in 2021 as soon as COVID-19 restrictions ease up.

In the meantime, other Cal players will continue to wait out what might be multiple months of no competition while other sports such as football make their return.

The good news seems to be that some Bears are in good form going into October after a dominating performance by Zhu. The bad news is this dominance probably won’t be on full display for the time being, as some student-athletes will have to continue practicing their patience before seeing more competition.

Lucas Perkins-Brown covers lacrosse. Contact him at [email protected].