2022 California Women's Amateur Championship
July 21, 2022 / by Jerry Stewart
July 30, 2022
Just moments after it was official, Annika Borrelli shared a big hug with her dad and caddie, David. Next was a long embrace with her mom, Ana.
Borrelli has joined a unique group in the annals of women's amateur golf in the Golden State.
On Saturday at San Luis Obispo Country Club, Borrelli, a fifth-year senior at Cal-Berkeley, claimed her second straight California Women's Amateur Championship title, defeating good friend and San Jose State fifth-year senior Antonia Malate, 5 and 4. Only six players prior had repeated as CWAC champion in the 56-year history of the event. Among those who have accomplished the feat are NCGA Hall of Famers Lynne Cowan and Patty Sheehan and LPGA Tour member Mina Harigae, who did it in 2004.
"I can't believe it," said a thrilled but also relieved Borrelli. "I really don't have any words for it. Being able to defend...it was a lot of pressure. I felt like my dad and I handled it well."
The N0. 12 seeded Borrelli, the NCGA's defending Women's Player of the Year, was a buzzsaw in what was a bittersweet victory over her friend (the two have known each other since their junior days). Over the 14 holes of the final, Borrelli went 5-under with six birdies.
Along with being in the zone, Borrelli also had a ton of experience to count on. Along with winning last year, in 2019 the 22-year-old Alamo resident reach the final before falling to Amari Avery.
"Going into last year's final, I was nervous. This year, I was excited," Borrelli said. "I either had a chance to win the trophy again, or I'd lose to a great friend. One thing I've learned with match play is that nothing is ever guaranteed. Even when I was 3-up, I wasn't comfortable. I knew Antonia was too good."
The 21-year-old Malate, who was the No.6 seed and reached the final by draining a 21-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in the semifinals, fell to a three-hole deficit when she bogeyed the 10th. On the par-3 12th, Malate lost another hole when Borrelli stuffed her tee shot to within a foot or so of the flagstick.
The tide turned for good on the par-4 13th. While Malate knocked her approach to within 6 feet of the pin, she'd miss her birdie try. Borrelli, on the other hand, had a great up and down to save par. What could've turned into a Borrelli 3-up lead with five holes to play stayed at 4-up.
"Overall, the week was a grind," said Malate, who's dad Patrick was on the bag as caddie. "Annika had a really, really great round. I'm very happy for her."
Next up for Borrelli was a quick trip further south to San Diego, where she planned on playing in the SCGA Women's Amateur. Already a winner of the NCGA Women's Amateur in 2019, a win in SoCal would give her what has been called the California Slam (wins in the SCGA Women's Am, NCGA Women's Am and California Women's Am) for her career.
On the men's side, George Von Elm (1925) and NCGA Hall of Famer Charlie Seaver (1933) both completed the California Slam the same year.
Borrelli later this year also plans on turning professional and going to LPGA Q-School.
July 29, 2022
Fellow NorCal residents Annika Borrelli and Antonia Malate are almost mirror images of one another.
Both are fifth year seniors--Borrelli at Cal-Berkeley and Malate at San Jose State. Both grew up and got to know one another competing on the Junior Tour of Northern California as kids.
On Saturday at San Luis Obispo Country Club, the two friends, who have known each other since their junior days, will square off for the biggest women's amateur prize in the Golden State.
Borrelli and Malate both emerged as finalists in this week's California Women's Am, winning their semifinal matches on Friday, 3 and 2 and 1-up, respectively.
"Borrelli, 22, will now be looking to become the first repeat winner since LPGA Tour member Mina Harigae in 2004.
"It feels unreal to be in this position again," said the No.12 seeded Borrelli. "I'm happy that my dad and I put ourselves in this position again."
Borrelli, and her dad David, who's been her caddie all week, had to scratch and claw to get past No.9 Taylor Riley. Through the first 10 holes, Borrelli could only muster a 1-up lead over Riley. On the 11th hole, however, Borrelli made birdie to give herself a more comfortable 2-up lead. Four holes later on the 15th, Riley, a freshman-to-be at LSU, made double-bogey to fall three behind. The two tied the 16th hole.
Along with help from her dad. Borrelli also could count on her experience from winning the event last year. "I feel like that experience helps for sure," Borrelli said. "I feel like I'm hardened a bit. I have a better feel for what to expect going into a match."
While Malate will be making her finals debut, the 21-year-old San Jose State team member also now has some crunch time experience to look back on. In getting past No.7 seed Caroline Canales, Malate, the No.6 seed, had to sink a winning 21-foot putt on the 18th hole to wrap things up. At the time, Canales was closer to the hole but had a more downhill, slippery look at the cup.
Canales, who plays at UCLA, had held a 2-up lead through 10 holes before Malate, who had her dad Patrick on the bag as caddie, began working her way back into it. Malate birdies on both No.11 and No.13 got the match back to even. A par win on the 15th gave her a 1-up lead, but Canales came back with a birdie win on the 16th, setting up the drama on 18.
When what would be the winning putt dropped in, Malate's mother gave out a shriek of joy.
"It's so exciting to get to the final," Malate said. "That match versus Caroline was just a grind. On 18, I knew I had an advantage because I was below the hole."
And now, it'll be a NorCal final between the two good friends.
"It'll be a lot fun," Malate said. "Hopefully we both play great."
Semifinalist Taylor Riley
Semi-finalist Caroline Canales
Sophie Thai, the medalist and No.1 seed, saw her run come to an end, losing 3 and 1 to Taylor Riley.
In a thriller, Annika Borrelli came from behind to knock out No.4 seed Amelia Garibaldi. Garibaldi, a senior in high school who's committed to Fresno State, led 1-up through 15 holes before Borrelli won the 16th with a par to tie things up. After the two halved the 17th, Borrelli won the 18th with another par to move on.
In another one that went to the wire, Caroline Canales came back to eliminate Adora Liu. Canales trailed 1-up through 16 holes, but won the 17th with a par. On the ensuing 18th, Canales made a birdie to Liu's par to win, 1-up. Liu, the 2021 Junior Tour of Northern California, plays at Cal-Berkeley.
The quarterfinals match between Antonia Malate and No.3 seed Darae Chung also came down to the 18th. Malate held a 2-up lead through 16 but lost the 17th when she made double-bogey. She'd bounce back on 18 with par, tying Chung to secure a 1-up victory.
Chung during stroke play qualifying shot a women's course record 6-under 66.
Malate had the shot of the day, nearly acing the 258-yard par-4 ninth hole. Her tee shot reached the green and lipped out of the cup, leading to an eagle and win on the hole.
Quarterfinalist Darae Chung
Quarterfinalist Adora Liu
Quarterfinalist Amelia Garibaldi
Quarterfinalist Sophie Thai with sister/caddie Camille Thai
July 28, 2022
No. 1 seed Sophie Thai and seven others have made their way to the quarterfinals of this week's California Women's Amateur at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
Thai, a freshman-to-be at Dartmouth, won her Round of 16 match on Thursday, 2-up. Playing against No. 17 seed Meghan Royal, the two were tied through 13 holes when Royal made a birdie. After tying the next three holes, Thai finally broke through, winning the 17th with a par to go 1-up. A hole later on the 18th, Thai made birdie to seal the win.
"It was definitely competitive," said Thai, in the Round of 32 won another tight match, 1-up. "We went back and forth quite a lot. At the end, it started getting intense."
Also advancing to the quarterfinals were No.3 seed Darae Chung and No.4 seed Amelia Garibaldi.
Chung, a New Zealander who set a women's course record with a 6-under 66 during stroke play qualifying, moved on with a 2 and 1 win over No. 19 Alexa Melton. Chung would build a 3-up lead after playing the front-nine at 33, and never looked back.
Garibaldi, a Youth on Course member and high school senior, punched her ticket to the quarterfinals with a 4 and 2 win over No.2o Libby Fleming. Through the first nine, it was Fleming who was in control, as the Texas Tech sophomore built a 2-up lead through nine. After making the turn, however, it was all Garibaldi. She'd win holes Nos. 10 through 12 with a birdie, birdie and par to grab a 1-up lead. Following a halve on the 13th, Garibaldi went on another run, carding birdies at 14 and 15 and winning with a par on 16 to put the match away.
Three other NorCal players also moved on to the quarterfinals. Adora Liu and defending champion Annika Borrelli, who both play at Cal-Berkeley, advanced with 5 and 4 and 4 and 3 wins, respectively. Borrelli is the defending NCGA Women's Player of the Year, while Liu won Player of the Year honors on the Junior Tour of Northern California last year.
Seaside resident Antonia Malate, who plays at San Jose State, won her Round of 16 match, 3 and 2.
On the SoCal front, Taylor Riley of San Diego and Caroline Canales of Calabasas also moved on in the brackets. Riley knocked out NorCal's Camille Thai with a 3 and 2 win. Canales, who plays at UCLA, marched on with a 2 and 1 win over Ashleigh Park.
In Thursday's quarterfinals, the matchups will be Thai vs. Riley, Garibaldi vs. Borrelli, Liu vs. Canales and Chung vs. Malate. Liu, at No.15, is the highest seed remaining in the brackets.
Following the quarterfinals, the semifinals will be held. The 18-hole final is Saturday.
July 27, 2022
If Wednesday's first round of match play is any indication, there won't be a lot of wiggle room for the surviving players at this week's California Women's Amateur at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
In the opening round of 32 of match play, all the top four seeds were in nail-biters. And for one, the result wasn't what they wanted.
No.1 seed Sophie Thai, a freshman-to-be at Dartmouth, was one of those escaping the clutches of a potential upset. In facing No.32 Isabel Sy, Thai through 11 holes held a comfy 4-up lead and looked to be in total control. But then Sy caught fire, carding birdies on four of five holes (Nos. 12 through 16) to tie the match up. The two halved the 17th, before Thai bounced back with a birdie of her own on the 18th to win, 1-up.
On the other side of the bracket, No.2 seed Cindy Kou got knocked out, falling 1-up to No.31 seed Mika Jin. Jin, a junior at Cal-Berkeley, trailed by a hole through 10 but made birdie on the 13th to tie things up. Kou and Jin would then halve the next three holes before Jin again broke through with a birdie win on the par-3 17th. The two halved 18 to push Jin on to the Round of 16. Over their 18 holes, neither Kou or Jin ever held more than a 1-up.
There were two other tight matches, as No.3 seed Darae Chung and No.4 Amelia Garibaldi advanced.
Chung, coming off a course record 6-under 66, found herself in a seesaw match versus No.30 Janae Leovao. Through the first six hole, Chung held a 2-up lead, but Leovao brought the match back to even with birdie wins on holes Nos. 8 and 9. Chung would take the lead on the 10th hole with her own birdie, but Leovao responded with a birdie win on the 11th and par win on No.12 to go 1-up. Chung later won the 15th hole with a par, and from there the two halved their way to what would be extra holes. On the 19th hole (par-5 1st), Chung won with a par.
Garibaldi, a high school senior, had a match against No.29 Bowen Lan that mirrored Thai's. Through 13 holes, Garibaldi a seemingly secure 3-up lead, but Lan won holes Nos. 14 through 16 to tie things up. Following a halve on the 17th, Garibaldi got a 1-up win by capturing the 18th hole with a par.
Defending champion Annika Borrelli, meanwhile, opened match play with a solid 4 and 3 win. The No.12 seed, Borrelli will next face No.5 Bridget O'Keefe in the Round of 16.
Thursday's action will consist of the Round of 16, with both the quarterfinals and semifinals set for Friday. The 18-hole final will be Saturday morning.
July 26, 2022
Los Altos resident Sophie Thai (pictured, above) will be the No.1 seed for match play at this week's California Women's Amateur Championship at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
Thai, who'll be a freshman at Dartmouth this fall, earned medalist honors in stroke play qualifying, coming in with a two-day total of 4-under 140 after a second round 68. In Monday's first round, Thai came out blazing, going 5-under thru her first five holes with three birdies and an eagle. A day later, Thai played holes No.1 through No.14 at 6-under, and again she'd toss in an eagle---this time on the par-5 10th.
Finishing stroke play qualifying tied for second at 141 were Darae Chung (pictured, below) and Valencia's Cindy Kou after second round scores of 69 and 66, respectively. Chung, a New Zealander, had the low round of not only the event, but in club history. Her 6-under 66 set an SLO CC record. During the round, Chung carded six birdies with zero bogeys. On the back-nine, she'd post a 32 thanks to a run of birdies at holes Nos. 11, 12, 13 and 15. Kou is a native of China who plays at USC.
Amelia Garibaldi and Bridget O'Keefe finished T-4 at 145 after identical rounds of 72.
Wednesday's action will consist of the Round of 32 of match play. The event runs through Saturday.
Past winners of the championship include NCGA Hall of Famers Juli Inkster, Patty Sheehan and Lynne Cowan.
In the North/South Challenge, which pits six players from the SCGA against six players from the NCGA (best five-out-of-six), the SCGA took the title, winning 732-776.
Representing the SCGA are Caroline Canales, Ashleigh Park, Kate Villegas, Meghan Royal, Isabel Sy and Briana Chacon. Team NCGA is being represented by Antonia Malate, Adora Liu, Annika Borrelli, Mika Jin, Kaylyn Noh and Elizabeth Scholtes.
July 25, 2022
Scoring wasn't easy as day one of stroke play qualifying got underway Monday at this week's California Women's Amateur at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
The only player to break par in the first round was UCLA sophomore Caroline Canales (pictured above), who came in with a 1-under 71 thanks in part to an eagle on the par-5 10th.
Three players--Libby Fleming, Cindy Kou and Sophie Thai---are all tied for second at 72. Thai got off to a blistering start, going 5-under through her first five holes (three birdies, a par and an eagle). A freshman-to-be at Dartmouth, Thai however cooled off, going 4-over her next four holes.
Defending champion Annika Borrelli, who plays at Cal-Berkeley, is T-29 after an opening 77.
Following Tuesday's second round of stroke play qualifying, a cut will be made with the low 32 advancing to match play.
In the North/South Challenge, which pits six players from the SCGA against six players from the NCGA (best five-out-of-six), the SCGA took a commanding 18-shot lead, 370-388.
Representing the SCGA are Canales, Ashleigh Park, Kate Villegas, Meghan Royal, Isabel Sy and Briana Chacon. Team NCGA is being represented by Antonia Malate, Adora Liu, Annika Borrelli, Mika Jin, Kaylyn Noh and Elizabeth Scholtes.
156 players will play two rounds of stroke play
Monday, July 25: Round 1 (18 holes, stroke play)
Tuesday, July 26: Round 2 (18 holes, stroke play)
Following the second round, the field will be cut to the low 32 players for match play
Wednesday, July 27: Round of 32 (match play)
Thursday, July 28: Round of 16 (match play)
Friday, July 29: Quarterfinals & Semifinals (match play)
Saturday, July 30th: Championship Match (18-hole match play final)
ELIGIBILITY: The championship is open to female amateur golfers with a handicap index of 7.4 or less as of the time of registration. 156 players will compete in the championship. Exempt players will receive priority, then the field will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis.