From 2015 through 2018, the Golden State Warriors took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. In three of those years: 2018, 2016 and 2015, the team that won the championship did so on the opposing team’s court. What a thrilling feeling it must be to take down the rival on their home court in front of their local fan base.
For the Cal women’s golf team, that is exactly what it has its sights on this weekend. Friday marks the start of a three-day match at the Stanford Intercollegiate Tournament taking place over the weekend — bringing home both team and individual championships on the Bears’ biggest rival’s turf would be a sweet feeling for the blue and gold. These women, with two matches already under their belt this season, have brushed off the early season jitters and are ready to give this weekend everything they have.
“We have a lot of confidence going into this tournament because a lot of us have experience on the Stanford course. We’ve played it a few times these past few years,” said sophomore Mika Jin. =
Jin is ready to compete this weekend and is already coming off of an impressive performance at the Molly Collegiate Invitational, where she finished in solo fourth at 1 over par for the entire tournament. She hopes to keep that momentum going for the upcoming weekend.
“Having a lot more people watching our team and seeing us compete makes it feel more back to normal,” Jin said. “I really enjoy it because I think just having people watch us brings more energy when we compete.”
The fans and spectators being able to watch matches has played a huge role for the sophomore as she is able to feed off of the crowd’s energy: something she did not get to experience as a freshman last year. The crowd will come out in numbers this weekend at the Stanford Golf Course, as the rivals will be two of the teams facing off in the field this weekend.
Stanford has come out of the gates hot this season, bringing home team victories in both of its first two tournaments. The Cardinal’s freshman phenom Rose Zhang has shined early on in the year as well and has secured individual titles in each tournament.
Stanford is ranked as the No. 2 team in the country on the latest NCAA rankings, according to Golfweek. The budding pro will seek to continue her staggering play this weekend as Cal will look to put a stop to her and the rest of the team’s hot start and pull off a big upset.
The Bears have started the season in the middle of the pack at both tournaments they have played in so far, but they are trending in the right direction. At the first match of the season, the women placed 10th out of 16 competing teams, shooting 21 over par collectively at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The team bounced back from that performance at the Molly Collegiate Invitational in Seaside, California, where it placed fourth as a team, shooting 26 over par. The Bears also had two individual performances, Katherine Zhu and Jin, who both placed in the top 10 for the entire weekend. The Bears look to bring it all together this weekend and continue the upward trend at Stanford.
What a feeling it would be for Cal’s women’s golf team to bring home team and individual titles this weekend among a strong field, all while competing against the No. 2-ranked team in the nation and at a bitter rival’s home course.
Emery Goulet covers women’s golf. Contact him at email@example.com.