Bears Tee Off at Pac-10s

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In a competitive field led by Arizona State, UCLA and USC, the Cal women's golf team -- the sixth place team in the Pac-10 -- is looking to make a splash at the Pac-10 Championships.

"(The Pac-10 Championships are) another stepping stone towards where we're really headed, which is the national championships," coach Nancy McDaniel said. "I think every single tournament is something where we're trying to take a small step towards where we're actually going."

The three day Pac-10 Championships, starting today in Eugene, Ore., will be held on the par-72, 6,203 yard Eugene Country Club.

The Bears suffered a drop from No. 11 in the national rankings to No. 17 due to their performance in their last tournament, the PING/ASU Invitational. Cal finished 13th in last week's field, which featured seven of the nine teams it will face today. The Bears finished sixth out of those seven, staying consistent with their Pac-10 standings.

Sophomore Joanne Lee, ranked 22nd individually coming into the Pac-10s, was Cal's top performer as usual in the PING/ASU Invitational with a final score of one over par.

"Joanne Lee has been a real rock for us this spring," McDaniel said. "She's in a really good place with her golfing right now."

To accomplish the upset it seeks, Cal needs someone other than Lee to step up big.

Freshman Jacqueline Williams shows hope of doing just that: She turned in the highest third round score out the entire Cal squad at the PING/ASU Invitational.

"We're really psyched to have (Williams) especially when she shot a 72 in the final round at ASU," McDaniel said. "For a freshman, she's just really on top of things."

With sophomore Daniela Holmqvist sitting this tournament out to continue resting her sore back, Williams gets another chance to shine in what is only the third tournament of her young career.

The team as a whole has put a special emphasis in practice on their sand play following the PING/ASU Invitational, where that facet of the game hurt it.

Another consistent theme for Cal this season has been its putting.

"We're getting a lot better at what we're doing on the putting green and being able to transition on the different courses smoothly," McDaniel said.

The team considers itself one of the most well-conditioned of all, a major advantage that can separate the good from the great.

"They've been doing all the right things, which is going to pay real dividends coming down the stretch where we play a lot of golf," McDaniel said. "It's going to keep them strong until the end."


Contact Byron Atashian at [email protected]

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