They say “home is where the heart is,” so maybe the Cal women’s golf team will show a little more gumption in its second matchup of the season.
Next Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 27 to 28, the Bears will co-host the Molly Collegiate Invitational alongside Oregon State at the Bayonet and Black Horse Course in Seaside, California.
The hosts will most likely be joined by some of the same faces they saw at the Dick McGuire Invitational last week: Colorado, Colorado State and San Diego State. To the dismay or perhaps elation of some fans, should precedent from last year carry over, the Cardinals might show up as well.
Two years ago, Cal and Oregon State hosted the Molly Collegiate Invitational. The 54-hole tournament at the Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon became home on the road for nine other competitors. Last year, the Bears fell vastly short of their title-earning dreams, settling below Colorado State for a measly 10th place out of 11 teams. Following last week’s 10th place finish at the Dick McGuire Invitational, the Bears can claim consistency, if anything.
This upcoming week, Cal is seeking redemption for last Tuesday and two years ago. At the past iteration of the Molly Collegiate Invitational, Stanford took home the entire tournament, accumulating 860 points and hitting an aggregated -4. In comparison, Cal’s score of 928 and performance of +64 falls embarrassingly short.
The Cardinals’ win was supplemented by Andrea Lee, Angelina Ye and Albane Valenzuela, who swept with first, second and third place in individual rankings, respectively. The three were the only competitors who had a negative shooting count for the duration of competition. The Bears’ top player was Tzu-Yi Chang, who tied for 20th.
Cal is scheduled to participate in only three more fall tournaments; next week’s invitational will already mark the halfway point of its new season. Thus, the pressure is on: Can the Bears finish a competition with at least one single digit standing?
In order to do so, the team veterans and newcomers must both shoulder through and pull some of the weight. Last week was an exemplary instance: freshman Jieming Yang and senior Katherine Zhu, both Cal’s top ranked players, tied for 26th at the Dick McGuire Invitational.
This is not to say that the Bears have not been marred by circumstances, however. Last season, junior Tzu-Yi Chang missed the fall season due to injury, and in her return this season, she played just eight holes before withdrawing due to a leg injury. Chang was the team’s second leading average scorer at 74.7 in her freshman year. However, head coach Nancy McDaniels is unworried.
“We look at situations like this not as a minus but as an opening for somebody else to step in,” said McDaniels. “Certainly there’s a loss in any of the players having to step back, but the excitement comes from, for a coach, when you see players step up. And we have eight players that can step up.”
As the only competition this season that Cal can consider a home game, the Molly Collegiate Invitational offers the perfect opportunity for the Bears to bounce back and change the precedent. Home brings out the best in us. Who knows: Maybe this is the tournament the blue and gold bring back a win.
Cynthia Ge covers women’s golf and men’s swim and dive. Contact her at email@example.com.