Cal at Pac-12 Golf Championships recaps

Aaron Du finished 7th and Katherine Zhu finished T25 as the top Cal Bears at the Pac-12 Golf Championships

Cal Men’s Golf finished 7th at Pac-12 Championships

Freshman Aaron Du made an attempt to join Collin Morikawa as Cal’s individual Pa-12 champion, but his effort fell short as Du’s -1 in round 4 on Wednesday dropped him from T5 to 7th by the end of the day. Arizona’s Brad Reeves won the title with a two-hole tiebreaker victory over Stanford’s Henry Shimp after both finished the 4 rounds with identical scores of -16.

Arizona edged Arizona State for the team title -41 to -37. Cal placed 7th with a team score of -6. The Golden Bears did have a decent final round in shooting a -7 as a team.

The Cal Bears were technically the host of this championship being played at Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa this Monday (when they played two rounds) through Wednesday.

The Cal lineup for this meet with their final scores are listed here:

Finigan Tilly +9 (53)
2. James Song -3 (T22)
3. Sampson Zheng -1 (T28)
4. Aaron Du -9 (7)
5. Costas Panay E (T32)
6. Sebastian Iqbal +24 (70)

A notable absence was senior Kaiwen Liu, arguably the most experienced Cal Bear entering this season.

The tournament uses a “six count five” format for the team scoring. The top 5 scores each round count toward the team score.

Aaron Du was just 4 shots off the lead to begin the final round on Wednesday. Du, unfortunately, started slowly and completely fell out of any shot at the individual title.

With the 2020 Pac-12 championship canceled, the Cal Bears could not replicate the success of the 2019 Pac-12 championship when then Cal senior Collin Morikawa took the Pac-12 individual title. Morikawa has since earned 4 PGA Tour victories, including a major in the 2020 PGA Championship, after that success toward the end of a highly successful collegiate career.

Aaron Du had earned himself a brief appearance in the Pac-12 Networks recap of round 3 with his strong round 3 play on Tuesday.

Pac-12 Championship Live Stats

The final Pac-12 Men’s Golf team standings:

  1. Arizona -41

  2. Arizona State -37

  3. Stanford -35

  4. Washington -21

  5. Oregon -18

  6. Oregon State -12

  7. Cal -1

  8. USC +7

  9. Utah +11, Colorado +11

  10. Washington State +25

  11. UCLA +32

Golfstat had Cal as the 98th ranked team before this Pac-12 Championship, so I am not sure the Bears can make the NCAA postseason despite exceeding expectations slightly by placing 7th as a team. We shall see if the Cal Bears as a team or certain Cal golfers as individuals will hear their names called when the NCAA postseason field will be announced on Wednesday, May 5th on Golf Channel.

Given the number of Cal alum in the PGA Tour right now, the golden era of Cal Men’s Golf has sort of hit a slight setback during these two seasons marred by a global pandemic. However, given the caliber of student-athletes that head coach Walter Chun is able to recruit to Cal, the inconsistency of the 2021 season should be just temporary.

Cal Women’s Golf finished 10th Pac-12 Championship

Cal Women’s Golf competed in the Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championship over the weekend, hosted by Stanford at the Stanford Golf Course.

As a team, Cal finished at +58 to place 10th (out of 10 teams). USC won with a -5 team score over the 3 rounds of golf.

Junior Katherine Zhu was the top Cal finisher with a +11 that was good for T25 (Stanford’s Rachel Heck won the individual title with a -7). Below are the rest of the Cal scores.

1. Katherine Zhu +11 (T25)
2. Tzu-Yi Chang +19 (T49)
3. Cristina Ochoa +36 (52)
4. Eun Soo Jeon +16 (T38)
5. Kristine Tran +18 (T46)

With a ranking of 86 according to GolfStat, Cal was missing from the field when the NCAA Regionals was announced on Wednesday. Under head coach Nancy McDaniel, who has been in charge of the program since its inception, Cal has almost always been selected for the NCAA Regional. No individual Cal golfer earned a spot at the four regionals.

On the other hand, this entire Cal team is expected to be back next school year. They will look to build on the experiences of playing in 5 tournaments in addition to the Pac-12 championship this season.