Sam Smith Record-Tying 62 Leads No. 13 In NCAA Regional Opener
May 16, 2013
Senior Sam Smith played a virtually perfect round en route to a USC-record-tying 62 and a one-stroke lead while leading the 13th-ranked Trojans to fourth-place after the first round of the 2013 NCAA Championships Pullman Region at the Palouse Ridge G.C. in Pullman, Wash., on Thursday (May 16).
The Trojans combined for a 16-under 272, seven back of first-place and top-ranked California (265). St. Mary's was second (267) with San Diego State third (270) and Pacific behind USC in fifth (274). TCU and Memphis are tied for sixth at 276.
The Trojans, who have reached the NCAA final for the past six years, are among 81 teams grouped into six regionals. Five teams in each regional - three with 13 teams and three with 14 teams -- and the low individual not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship final, hosted by Georgia Tech, May 28-June 2.
Smith, who has been USC's top scorer the past four outings, continued his strong play with a round for the ages with eight birdies and an eagle against no bogeys.
He opened with a 3-under front 9 with birdies on 1, 5 and 8 before really getting going on the back 9. He birdied 10 and 12 and then finished with an eagle on the par 4 15th and birdies on 16, 17 and 18.
The 62 tied former Trojan All-American Rory Hie, who twice carded 62 in 2008 at the U.S. Intercollegiate at the Stanford G.C. and at the UH Hilo Invitational at the Waikoloa C.C. Smith's previous USC best was a 65 earlier this year at the North Ranch Intercollegiate at North Ranch C.C.
Freshman Yi Keun Chang also played superbly and tied for eighth after opening at 6-under 66. He was 3-under on the front and back 9s with four birdies and one bogey on each half. He closed with four straight birdies.
Paolucci had an eagle and four birdies, but double bogeys to open and close his round stunted his rise up the leaderboard. Hagestad started 3-over through 8, but finished strong, getting back to even with the help of birdies on three of the final four holes. Kang had four birdies in his round.
Action continues Friday and Saturday. USC begins play Friday at 8:20 a.m.