Annika Borrelli Claims Back-to-Back Cal Women's Am Titles

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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 five 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 Famer 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 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.

Recap courtesy of the NCGA

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