Cristina Ochoa wins inaugural NCGA Women's Amateur Championship
Cristina Ochoa (NCGA photo)
Cristina Ochoa (NCGA photo)

Cristina Ochoa will head into the 2022-23 NCAA Division I season with a bit of steam behind her.

The 20-year-old junior made history, capturing the title at the inaugural NCGA Women's Amateur Championship after defeating Antonia Malate, 3 and 2, in Friday's fog-shrouded finals at Spyglass Hill.

"It's a great feeling to win this event. Especially being it's the first one," said Ochoa, a native of Bogota, Colombia who came to the States after being recruited by Cal. "It's been a very long year of hard work, so it feels very rewarding."

The No.3 seed, Ochoa had to get past No.1 seed Antonia Malate. A fifth-year senior at San Jose State had entered the week coming off a recent runner-up finish at the California Women's Amateur.

For Ochoa, the difference came early, as she'd build a 3-up lead through the first nine holes thanks in part to a birdie on the par-4 4th. From there, Malate was never able to get closer than 2-up. On the par-3 15th, Ochoa gave herself some extra wiggle room by making birdie.

"I feel that for the week, par was a good score and I did a good of that," Ochoa said. "Getting the chance to play Spyglass Hill was amazing. It's a really, really good challenge."

Malate, who had her friend Josh on the bag as a caddie, played prep golf at nearby Stevenson School. While she knew the course, in the final a balky putter let her down.

"I just couldn't make any putts, and a lot of my approach shots spun off the greens," said Malate, who has future aspirations of turning pro. "Getting to play Spyglass was such a treat."

While Malate went with a lucky caddie, so too did Ochoa. Her caddie was Bears teammate Kristine Tran. On Thursday, Ochoa defeated Tran 4 and 3 in the semifinals.

"It was amazing having Kristine on the bag," Ochoa said. "She has a similar game to mine and she knows the course. We had fun and she helped me relax."

Ochoa's win gave the Cal women a sweep in the 2022 majors---Kaylyn Noh won the NCGA Women's Stroke Play, Annika Borrelli won the California Women's Am and Ochoa won the Women's Amateur.

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18 holes stroke-play qualifying cut to 32 players (including exempts) for single-elimination match play.

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