Despite a rain delay and a disappointing first round, Cal finished fifth after an astonishing final round at the Juli Inkster at Meadow Club Invitational hosted by San Jose State University and the University of San Francisco in Fairfax, California this past Monday and Tuesday.
As predicted by the weather forecast, the tournament was delayed due to heavy rain and hail on the first day. This event marked the second consecutive tournament in which the Bears faced severe weather conditions and an unexpected delay. Consequently, only the first round was played on Monday despite the original plan of playing two rounds on the first day followed by a final round on Tuesday.
On the first day, Cal golfers finished in eighth place alongside Washington State with a total score of 13 over par. The two highest ranked teams in this 13-teams tournament, Stanford and USC, finished the first day in first and second place, respectively.
Despite an initial mediocre performance, the Bears were able to turn things around on the last day and finished strong in fifth place behind Pepperdine. Stanford conquered first, followed by USC and San Jose State.
“We started to get the hang of the greens and we started to get some confidence in our putting so more putts dropped,” said head coach Nancy McDaniel. “Also, our team works really well from behind and we have proven to be that team that can be resilient.”
Junior Cristina Ochoa paved the way for the Cal team by tying for sixth overall with -68 in round two — just one short of a season record. Ochoa would later go on and finish the tournament with an even par alongside USC Catherine Park and Texas Tech Shannon Tan. Ochoa’s exceptional performance nearly put her in tied third overall with the nation’s 23rd ranked player from Stanford, Sadie Englemann.
Coming in at 17th overall is senior Tzu-Yi Chang, who moved up five positions from the first day and finished with five over par. Junior Mika Jin finished in 27th place after a promising third round that saw a 20-position gain. Jin finished with a seven over par, just two short of joining Chang in 17th place.
Despite a slow start, freshmen Adora Liu and senior Jasmine Lew had their best performance in the final round, coming in at 34th and 70th respectively.
As for those who participated individually, graduate Annika Borrelli was the best performing Cal golfer. Borrelli finished in 24th overall with six over par after two huge rounds on Tuesday which compensated for her first round struggle. Borrelli leaped up 32 positions throughout the tournament.
Closing in behind Borrelli was sophomore Kaylyn Noh with seven over par after a consistent performance throughout all three rounds. Senior Kristine Tran held on the 34th with an eight over par after a promising start but a disappointing final round.
The fighting mentality of the Bears through the delay and restructuring of the tournament cannot be overstated.
“The change from Monday to Tuesday this week was just a lot of bad weather,” stated McDaniel. “It hailed five times out there on us and I just can’t give this team enough credit because we were out there for 10 hours playing golf.”
After this tournament, the Bears can now take a well deserved rest as they await their next tournament hosted by ASU on March 24th to 26th. However, the Bears will also take advantage of the long break. “Over the next two and a half weeks, we’ll do some intersquad competitions and really get this team ready,” said McDaniel.
As proven at the Meadow Club Invitational, the Bears certainly know how to bounce back from adversities and unexpected circumstances. As the Bears take a temporary hibernation period, we are guaranteed to see this team prepared to battle in upcoming competition.