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Bears Polish Off Strong Season-Opening Tournament

Sep 13, 2022
Sophomore Jieming Yang placed 13th in the 56-player field with a 2-over par for the tournament.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Cal women's golf team polished off its best season-opening tournament in seven years Tuesday, carding 1-over par as a team for a third-place finish at the USF Intercollegiate at The Olympic Club's Ocean Course.

Junior Cristina Ochoa had the best performance of her college career, finishing in third place in the 56-player field with a career-best score of 6-under par. She shot 2-under 69 in each of the three rounds of the event, easily beating her previous best mark of even-par at last season's Juli Inkster Invitational at Meadow Club.

"It was a solid opening to our season," Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel said. "There was some really good stuff going. I think they are starting to see where they belong."

The Bears placed two individuals in the top-10 and four overall in the top-20, with graduate transfer Annika Borrelli finishing in a tie for 10th place at 1-over par. Sophomore Jieming Yang shot even-par in each of the tournament's final two rounds to place 13th at 2-over par while junior Mika Jin was tied for 17th at 4-over par.

Cal began the day in second place in the team standings. No. 11 San Jose State, which started the final round in fourth place at 6-over par, went 10-under as a team Tuesday to win the team title at 4-under par. The Bears were edged by one stroke by No. 5 UCLA for second place, and held off Pepperdine for third.

"We acknowledged the closeness of the finish," McDaniel said. "Sometimes you need to finish on this end of it before it happens on the other end of it. San Jose State really got on a roll and we didn't quite find that roll. When it's that close, it gets a little frustrating."

Ochoa's third-place finish was the best by a Cal individual since Katherine Zhu won the Gunrock Invitational three seasons ago. Her score of 6-under par was the Bears' best since Zhu also had the same score at the Gunrock the following season.

"Cristina is our spark plug," McDaniel said. "She is the heartbeat of our team right now. She has that rhythm going, and her confidence is infectious."

The Bears will return to action on Sept. 29 when they team up with Cal's men's golf team to take on Stanford in the Big Match at Menlo Country Club.