Zhu Wins 2020 Fall Invitational
SEASIDE - Junior Katherine Zhu won the 2020 Fall Invitational at Bayonet & Black Horse along the Monterey Bay on Tuesday, as three Cal women's golfers satisfied their competitive urges by playing in a tournament made up of primarily Northern California collegiate athletes.
Zhu carded a 1-over par 145 to win the two-day tournament by three strokes over Antonia Malate of San Jose State. Fellow Golden Bear Mika Jin finished in a tie for third place at 5-over par while sophomore Kristine Tran placed 20th overall.
The event replaced the Molly Collegiate Invitational, which Cal was supposed to host as part of its fall season. When the Pac-12 postponed fall sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel contacted Bayonet and suggested it turn it into an open amateur event.
Zhu made the most of the opportunity to compete, shooting a 1-under 71 in the final round, which included an Eagle on the par-5 eighth hole.
"It was definitely good to have competition," Zhu said. "It's harder to find tournaments right now because of COVID, so I'm not playing as many events as I usually would. It was a little more tiring putting in the work to get ready, but it was good to get back into competition."
Zhu has still been able to play a handful of tournaments during the pandemic, most notably the U.S. Women's Amateur in Rockville, MD in August, where she advanced to match play before falling in a close match in the first round. Zhu was also the runner-up at the 2020 California Women's Amateur in July.
Zhu finished her final round Tuesday a couple of hours before the last round was complete, so had to wait it out before finding out she was a winner. She passed part of the time joining a call for a group project for one of her classes.
"I was mentally prepared to go to a playoff. It's never the best option to assume you are going to win," Zhu said. "It feels good to win."
After shooting a 5-over par 77 in the first round, Jin was even Tuesday to move into a tie for third.
Jin also competed in the U.S. Women's Amateur and finished third at the 2020 State Fair Women's Championship in Sacramento. Tran was ninth at the California Women's Championship in August.
"The biggest thing we are up against right now is kids who are getting competition and ones who aren't," McDaniel said. "It was great to see Katherine go down there on a quality course and win it. It made sense to still have a tournament, and it ended up being a quality event."