Bears Can't Crack Par, Finish 10th at Stanford Invitational

Photo: <b>Joanne Lee</b> was the top finisher for the Cal women's golf team at the Stanford Invitational with an overall score of 1-over.
David Herschorn/Photo
Joanne Lee was the top finisher for the Cal women's golf team at the Stanford Invitational with an overall score of 1-over.

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Fresh off the season's first victory at Washington, the No. 7 Cal women's golf team entered this weekend's Stanford Invitational with confidence.

But after 54 holes, the Bears' national ranking was higher than their placement on the final leaderboard.

Cal finished tied for 10th at 32-over, a full 40 strokes behind champion Arizona State and 36 behind UCLA.

"We came out flat," coach Nancy McDaniel said following Sunday's final round. "We're disappointed with ourselves as far as our team effort. We didn't come mentally prepared to do the things it takes to shoot low numbers."

Without a single golfer finishing under par for the tournament, Cal struggled to find a rhythm from is first round. Despite her frustration, however, McDaniel insisted that positives pervaded the outcome.

One bright spot came in the form of Joanne Lee, who, at 1-over for the tournament, led the Bears in scoring, including a team-best third round of 68, which included an eagle-birdie on the 13th and 14th holes.

"We needed somebody to step up and shoot in the 60s, and that's exactly what she did," McDaniel said. "She was just awesome."

Additionally, the Bears witnessed the emergence of freshman Jackie Williams in her first collegiate tournament. Williams' tournament included a single round score of 2-over, a performance that McDaniel believed to be the beginning of an illustrious career.

"She's really creating competition within the team," said McDaniel. "She's a super-hard worker, something that everyone on the team could aspire to. I knew a performance like this was inevitable, but I didn't know it would come this soon. She's really keeping us on our toes."

Despite these encouragements, McDaniel acknowledged her team's need for improvement. "We need our performance in practice to carry over into competition," she said. "Our consistency just isn't there."

McDaniel noted that one such detachment between practice and tournament play is evident in the work of junior All-American Pia Halbig, who finished at 2-over for the tournament.

"Her play was a little off her standard," McDaniel said. "Her goal is to shoot under par and she can do that, but she'll have to figure out where the disconnect (between practice and competition) is."

Halbig, along with sophomore Diane Kwon (16-over), tallied one round under par but struggled to maintain that standard throughout the remaining rounds.

The lack of consistency, McDaniel said, created the gap between her squad and the teams atop the leaderboard. Consistency, however, does not come quickly for a team with only one senior among its top five golfers.

"To compete with the top, we need time," McDaniel said. "Teams like ASU and UCLA are more consistent and are able to shoot under par."

That consistency, which resulted in four golfers on each team finishing under par compared to none from Cal, may not be as far off for the Bears as it seems.

"All of our players are capable of (shooting under par)," McDaniel said, "and that's what we need."


Contact David Seawright at [email protected]

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