USC Advances To NCAA Finals With Fourth At Pullman Regional
May 18, 2013
Senior Sam Smith tied for first for his first win as a Trojan while senior Stewart Hagestad and sophomore Anthony Paolucci turned in strong final rounds to help No. 13 USC to fourth place at the 2013 NCAA Pullman Regional at the Palouse Ridge G.C. in Pullman, Wash., earning a spot into the NCAA finals for the seventh year in a row.
USC began the day in second but finished fourth at a combined 20-under 844 (272-280-292), but as the top five teams in each of the NCAA's six regionals advance to the NCAA finals, fourth place was for the Trojans to punch a ticket to Atlanta for the NCAA Championships in two weeks.
Cal finished first at 43-under 821 (265-276-280) while TCU took second (23-under 841), St. Mary's was third at 22-under 842 and Ball State took fifth at 8-under 856 (281-284-291). Ball State actually tied with San Diego State, but defeated the Aztecs on the first playoff hole to earn the final slot.
"After what is always a stress filled week, we are extremely happy to be moving on to nationals," said USC seventh-year head coach Chris Zambri. "It is great to see Sam Smith get his first win. He has been a great Trojan, a real leader. We need to get better between now and nationals in order to make a splash there. We can do that."
Smith began the day with a good cushion after opening with a 62 and following with a 64 to go to 18-under. A mere mortal in the final round, he gave up ground but had enough to maintain a share of the individual title at 14-under 202 (62-64-76). He tied with Cal's Michael Weaver.
Freshman Yi Keun Chang tied for 16th at 4-under 212 (66-72-74) and Hagestad, a reserve for most of the season, came up big with a tie for 23rd at 2-under 214 (72-71-71). Sophomore Anthony Paolucci tied for 37th at even 216 (72-73-72) and junior Jeffrey Kang tied for 68th at 12-over 228 (73-77-78).
Paolucci was 3-over after 6 but finished the final 12 holes at 4-under, including an eagle on 9. Hagestad was 2-over through 5 but finished the final 13 holes at 3-under.
The national championships are May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club/Crabapple in Atlanta, hosted by Georgia Tech.
Thirty teams play three rounds of stroke play and the top eight teams advance to match play to determine the national champion.