The Papago Golf Club was once again the venue for Cal women’s golf in the back half of this season. This time, it was the three-day Pac-12 championships that Cal hoped to conquer in the Arizona sun.
The Bears had a hot start to the first round as Cal came in fourth with an even-par 288 team score. As expected, the Papago Golf Club veterans and two of the most consistent Cal golfers this season, junior Cristina Ochoa and graduate Annika Borrelli, led the team to an exceptional first-round performance.
Ochoa’s impressive birdies on two of the first three back-nine holes were enough to tie her for fifth overall alongside four other golfers at two under 70 in the first round. Not too far behind was Borrelli, who finished Monday only one stroke behind Ochoa at one under par in 10th place overall.
Junior Mika Jin also put up a spectacular start to the competition as she finished the day even, tieing for 16th with six other golfers. With Ochoa, Borrelli and Jin all being in the top-20 overall ranking, the Bears were outshining the Arizona sun with their monumental start in round one.
Freshman Olivia Lee also took part in the first round of the tournament, finishing at 39th.
Tuesday proved to be more challenging for Cal as they teed off alongside Arizona State. Ochoa faced considerable setbacks in the second round as she ended Tuesday in 24th overall at two over par: dropping 19 places through the ranking.
Jin also experienced similar setbacks and completed the day with an eight over score, which placed her in 43rd overall. Jin’s subpar performance caused her to fall 27 positions after round two.
In contrast, Tuesday turned out to be a much better day of golf for both Borrelli and Lee. For the second day in a row, Borrelli was able to shoot under par and closed round two with a total of three under par, an outstanding performance which put her in tied fourth overall.
Lee, after some minor struggles on her first day, was able to compensate, climbing two positions to 36th overall.
The Bears also implemented a change in their lineup heading into the second round. Freshman Adora Liu was substituted in place of Kristine Tran who had played the previous day. The 2022 San Francisco City Championship winner certainly did not disappoint as she shot one over par and finished in 23rd out of 55 golfers.
Cal finished round two in sixth place out of 11 teams.
In the third and final round, Borrelli once again paved the way for the Bears, and they ultimately finished sixth. Borrelli finished as the highest ranked Cal golfer of the tournament at seventh overall, three under par. Her performance this week is her highest individual finish at Cal and marks her third top-10 placing of the year.
Cristina Ochoa finished in 28th place alongside two Stanford golfers at five over par. Although off to a very promising start, Ochoa could not keep her momentum going in the two latter rounds. Olivia Lee and Mika Jin wrapped up the tournament in 34th and 49th, respectively.
Adora Liu also participated in the last round of the tournament and once again proved her worth. The freshman came in 11th overall for the last round alongside Borrelli with an even score. The substitute was able to keep her momentum alive and contributed significantly to the team’s effort.
If the result in Phoenix could tell us anything, it is that the Bears are definitely improving on their game. After suffering several setbacks in the past two tournaments, Cal has displayed resilience and a fighting spirit.
Cal now patiently waits for updates regarding the NCAA Regionals, which will be announced on April 26. The three-day tournament starts May 8, giving the Bears a long period of rest and preparation before they embark on their last tournament of the spring season.