Playing among a couple top ranked teams might have led to intimidation

Photo of Cal Women's Golfer Katherine Zhu
Karen Chow/Senior Staff

The pressure is on for the blue and gold. So far this season, fans have yet to experience the feeling of a win. The Bears placed 11th overall in a 16-team invitational while Oregon took first place.

It seems like the team has been experiencing a pattern of placing low in the invitationals. For fans, the 11th place finish at 37-over feels anything but successful.

Last week’s fifth place at Meadow Club gave Cal fans hope that winning or even reaching the top three places seemed like a possibility, yet after this performance at Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, the feeling is different. The feeling is similar to that of the Gunrock Invitational, where the team had finished eighth overall in an 11-team field.

Cal women’s golf was up for a challenge from the beginning at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at Palos Verdes Golf Club. This is because high-ranked teams played at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge — four were in the Golfstat top 10 and there were 10 teams in the Golfstat top-25 at this invitational.

Playing among a couple top ranked teams might have led to intimidation. An 11th place finish is something the Bears’ fans are used to by now. Last week, Mika Jin was asked if a win was too far out there for women’s golf, but she said it was not.

“We’ve played some of the top ranked schools in the nations and can compete head to head with these amazing players,” Jin said.

The results of this season have not been noteworthy to say the least. Fans are only left to wonder and one thing is put to question. Is Jin right that the team can really “compete head to head” with players of top ranked teams?

A player highlight at this invitational was senior Elena Arias, who, with a focused and hopeful expression during her last round at this challenge, shot at 1-under par. This was an important round for Arias as it is her best round of the season.

At this invitational, the best placed player from Cal was Cristina Ochoa, who tied for 38th place with four others.

The final result, 11th place, could have gone worse, though. In the Bears’ third round on Tuesday, they had placed in 12th place, so at least they were able to move up one place the next day.

Next week, the Bears are scheduled to be at the Fresno State Invitational.

Optimism is something that every true fan feels. It is hard, however, to feel this way when your team is not doing well. For women’s golf, there seems to be optimism left in its fans, but also it seems like the expectations are not high since the performance has not been high. This in some way might work in the team’s favor to not feel the fan pressure, yet for better results, the pressure may need to be at an all-time high.

Anahi Tabares covers women’s golf. Contact her at [email protected].