UC Berkeley rising junior Alice Jeong won the 94th Annual City of Los Angeles Women’s Golf Championship on Sunday, a victory that has her poised to potentially get back into the strong lineup of golfers the Bears send to compete in tournaments throughout the season. This comes after Jeong’s late-season struggles kept her from making even a single tournament appearance for Cal in the spring.
She started off the 2014-15 season with strong scores and solid tournament finishes and seemed poised to continue her consistent performances into 2015, but before the spring campaign could even begin, her form took a dip. Jeong’s poor scores in qualifying rounds suggested she wasn’t playing well enough to warrant a spot in the team’s tournament lineups any longer, and unfortunately for her, she did not find her way back into the lineup by the end of the season.
Now, after her big victory, it seems as if she is getting back on track to once again break into Cal’s lineup, which competed at the NCAA Championships back in May. Sunday’s 54-hole competition consisted of several talented golfers from Southern California, including Jeong’s Cal teammate Natalie Mu, who finished in 15th place.
Jeong finished the tournament with a 71-73-73=217 (-2), but her final score wasn’t enough to take home the the top honor right away. UC Irvine’s Joo Youn Seo took Jeong to the limit in a hotly contested neck-and-neck competition, which saw Youn Seo finish with a 217 that tied Jeong’s score. The two golfers then went head to head in a sudden-death playoff to break the deadlock, where Jeong ultimately two putted a par in the extra hole to beat Youn Seo’s three-putted bogey.
“I came into this tournament this time feeling prepared with the hard work I put in,” Jeong said. “I wasn’t expecting to win or anything, but I knew that I was more consistent now. It’s really nice to see the hard work pay off.”
In spite of the impressive victory, Jeong didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate much, because she still had to compete at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Qualifier the next day. Although she did not place first at this competition, the rising junior carded a 76 in the tournament’s only round to finish seventh and earn an automatic qualifying bid. Jeong managed to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur — set to be contested next month — for the very first time in her career, a feat that will likely motivate her fellow Bears to stay on their toes if they hope to keep their spots in the lineup ahead of Jeong.
“It felt like a very long four-day period,” Jeong said. “ I’ve got to say it concluded very well. I’m glad that I could clinch a tournament and also qualify for this prestigious tournament. It couldn’t have ended better.”
Jeong’s impressive back-to-back tournament results have established a solid foundation for her to build upon this summer in her quest to recover the strong form that helped her match the Cal record for the lowest round under par, when she shot a six-under 64 back in October at the Schooner Fall Classic.
“I feel the work I’m putting in now is going to pay off during the season,” Jeong said. “Even though these are individual victories for me, I feel like if I work hard, we’re going to really persevere as a team. I’m just looking forward to doing well.”