The blue and gold returned home this week after their tournament in New Mexico. Now Cal looks ahead to the Molly Collegiate Invitational, a tournament it co-hosts with Oregon State. The team will stay relatively close to home, playing in Seaside, CA at Bayonet Black Horse golf course.
The course is a challenging one, as it plays long and sits on the Pacific Ocean. The conditions will be a factor for the players as they face a battle with the winds. It looks like they will have two beautiful days during tournament play Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures will hover around 70 degrees and the weather will be mostly sunny. The wind will determine the difficulty of the course during play.
The last time Cal hosted the tournament with the Beavers was back in the 2021-2022 season. The event also took place at the Bayonet Black Horse course and the winning team was Stanford at +14 over par. That gives a sense of how difficult this course could be for this upcoming week.
In the 2021 tournament, the co-host Bears took home fourth place overall and were represented well with two of the players finishing in the top-10 individually. Katherine Zhu finished in solo seventh and Mika Jin finished in solo fourth for the blue and gold.
Jin is returning this year as a senior, looking to be just as successful in this tournament as she was back in her sophomore year. She will be looking to make her season debut as she did not compete when the Bears traveled to the Dick McGuire Invitational in New Mexico a few weeks back. Jin is the only player on the Cal roster who has competed in this tournament before; she knows the course and has experienced success there before.
The rest of the program will be making its debut at the Molly Collegiate Invitational. Along with Jin, another notable name for the Bears is fellow senior Cristina Ochoa who is eager for a strong showing at this tournament after a tough week down in New Mexico. She will be looking to bounce back this week to right the ship for her senior season.
Freshman Constance Fouillet will look to continue her impressive start to her collegiate career after leading the Bears and finishing in a tie for 17th place down in New Mexico. If she can take that momentum from her last start into this week, she could find success.
Another player to look out for is senior transfer Rina Tatematsu, who also kicked off her Cal career with a strong performance at the Dick McGuire Invitational. After three years at Oklahoma State, Tatematsu transferred to Cal hoping to make some noise in the Pac-12.
Historically, there have been a lot of California teams, primarily West Coast teams who attend the Molly Collegiate. This year is expected to be similar. This year however, teams such as Stanford, who won it in 2021, USC and UCLA will not be in attendance. It is possible Cal could come out and really shoot low — it has already proven that ability this year. If the Bears are able to string together consistent rounds this week, they definitely have a chance. The team has what it takes: experience and poise mixed with talented young players.
Cal began the season around 35th nationally and after its first tournament of the year, now sits at 41. A gutsy performance down in Seaside this week could have the Bears making a big leap in the national standings — if they have what it takes.