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Bears Ready To Open Play At NCAA Stillwater Regional

May 8, 2022

It encountered an obstacle course along the way, but the Cal women's golf team still reached its preseason destination.

The Golden Bears open play in the NCAA Stillwater Regional on Monday, marking their 21st trip to the postseason in the past 22 non-COVID seasons. Cal has had to navigate extensive injury and health protocol limitations, but is close to being whole as it gets set to compete in the 12-team regional at the challenging par-72, 6,303-yard course at Karsten Creek Golf Club.

"We have faced some challenges, health-wise. But that doesn't deter us from having made regionals and going in and making this a great experience for the team," Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel said. "Golf is a funny sport. Sometimes it all comes together at the right time. You just never know."

Senior Katherine Zhu and sophomore Mika Jin, who are tied for the team lead in scoring average at 74.1, have each missed time this season. Sophomore Cristina Ochoa, who is tied for the second-best scoring average on the team during the spring season (74.8), was forced to sit out last month's Pac-12 Championships. Senior Elena Arias has also missed time.

All except Arias are back for the Stillwater Regional.

"The consistency has not been there for us," McDaniel said. "Every year is different. We don't have any pressure on ourselves this year. We just want to make it a good experience and see what happens."

The Bears qualified for an NCAA regional every year from 2000-2019. The postseason was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 and Cal failed to make the field last year. Zhu and Arias are the only current members of the team that have competed at an NCAA Regional, having played at the Auburn Regional as freshman in 2019

The Bears enter the week as the No. 10 seed at the Stillwater Regional. The top four teams advance to the 2022 NCAA Championships later this month in Scottsdale, Arizona.

"It's really about just taking it one shot at a time and trying to string some things together out there," McDaniel said. "The four teams that are consistent for the most amount of time will advance. We know the numbers are against us, but that's not to say we don't have the personnel."

1. Katherine Zhu
2. Eun Soo Jeon
3. Mika Jin
4. Cristina Ochoa
5. Tzu-Yi Chang