Cal women’s golf finishes in the middle of the pack at last weekend’s tournament

photo of Cal women's golf
Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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A wave in the ocean starts from nothing, grows to its highest point and then breaks suddenly and crashes into the shore. Similar to a wavelike pattern of ebbs and flows, the Cal women’s golf team experienced highs and lows this weekend at the Stanford Intercollegiate Tournament.

The women came into the tournament with confidence, and reasonably so, as they were coming off of a fourth-place finish at their last tournament. The blue and gold also had a sense of familiarity playing at the Stanford Golf Course, which is not even an hour’s drive away from their home base.

“Stanford is a course that we historically … have played,” said head coach Nancy McDaniel. When you have those rounds under your belt, you’re able to navigate the course plan better.”

All that experience and familiarity was stymied right out of the gate when Cal shot 10 over par the first day, putting it in tenth place out of an 18-team field. The task was already daunting with seven of the 18 teams in the tournament being nationally ranked in the top 25, but after a measly Day One, the Bears’ chances of securing the title were seemingly impossible. The one bright spot of the day was Cal’s senior Eun Soo Jeon, who shot even par for the day.

Stanford, the home team and arguably the best team in the country, shot 11 under par Friday and headed into the weekend with a nine-stroke lead.

Continuing to follow the trajectory of a wave, the team bounced back Saturday. It shook off the rough start to the tournament and came back with its best round of golf of the season. It played well throughout the day, but the final four holes is what really solidified its impressive performance. McDaniel was proud of the women for putting together a complete round of golf Saturday.

“The team came out ready to play on Saturday … and probably the difference in Saturday to Friday and Sunday was they finished the round,” McDaniel said. “They really kept their head … and their mental game high and in a good place for 18 holes and it paid off.”

On the second day, the Bears shot four under par and were sitting in eighth place heading into the final day. Cal’s performance Saturday was highlighted by sophomore Mika Jin and junior Jasmine Lew shooting three under par and two under par, respectively, for the day.

And, like all waves do in the end, the blue and gold came crashing down Sunday. Coming off its high Saturday, the team shot even worse than Friday, with an 11-over-par round. Windy conditions later in the round Sunday made club selection difficult for the women, which could have contributed to some higher scores.

Overall, the Bears shot 17 over par, putting them in ninth place for the weekend out of the tough 18-team field, which is nothing to hang their heads about. Stanford finished in first on the team leaderboard at 28 under par, with its freshman star Rose Zhang topping the player leaderboard at 16 under par for the weekend.

On Cal’s side, Jeon had her best tournament of the season so far. Her one over for the tournament had her finishing tied for 19th place out of 90 individuals.

“Having a player finish in the top 20, you know that’s a step in the right direction, and with Eun Soo Jeon doing so, that shows our players … that you can start to put three rounds together,” McDaniel said. “That was a notable finish and … the consistency piece that she brought to the table was impactful for the team.”

Next up, the Bears will be travelling to Hawaii for the Pac-12 Preview in early November. Hopefully Cal can emulate the power and force of the waves crashing on Hawaiian shores in its upcoming performance.

Emery Goulet covers women’s golf. Contact him at [email protected].