Men's Golf
    No. 6 USC Moves To Tie For Eighth After NCAA Second Round

    Junior Sam Smith led USC with a 69 Wednesday.

    May 30, 2012

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    Junior Sam Smith fired a 2-under 69 while sophomore Jeffrey Kang carded a par as the No. 6 Trojans rebounded from a sluggish first round with a combined 2-over second round to climb into the thick of things after 36 holes of the USC-hosted 2012 NCAA Men's Golf Championships at the Riviera C.C. on Wednesday (May 30).

    Thirty teams and six individuals began play at on the par 71, 7,292-yard course for the first of three days of stroke play. The top-eight teams after 54 holes will advance to a three-day match play tournament for the NCAA title beginning Friday. Individual medalist honors will go to the top finisher after the initial 54 holes.

    USC, making its sixth straight NCAA finals appearances (the third-longest active streak) shaved 12 strokes off its first round score and now stand at 16-over 584, 12 shots out of first and tied for eighth with California, Florida, Illinois and Kent State. Troy shared low round honors with Washington today. Only Alabama's first-round 285 has been better this tournament.

    "We did a good job today to get back into the tournament," USC sixth-year head coach Chris Zambri said. "Sam, to start out with a double bogey and end up 2-under par was great. He got a lot out of his round. Hopefully tomorrow, we'll have all five guys in it from start to finish and give us a little insurance."

    The Crimson Tide lead the field at 4-over 572 (285-287) while UCLA is second at 8-over 576 (289-287) with Florida State third at 12-over 580 (290-290). Oklahoma (289-292) and North Florida (290-291) are tied for fourth at 13-over 581 while Washington is sixth at 14-over 582 (296-286) and Liberty (295-288) is seventh at 15-over 583 (295-288). Liberty is one of two schools (the other East Carolina) making its NCAA final debut.

    More than half the field is still within reach of a top eight finish. Only five strokes separate 18th-place Iowa from the group of five teams tied for eighth while there is only nine strokes difference between Iowa and third-place Florida State.

    Illinois' Thomas Pieters took over the individual lead at 5-under 137 (69-68) and is the only player to break 70 both days.

    Smith, like the Trojans, bounced back today. Coming off a season-worst 79 Tuesday, his 69 Wednesday marked his sixth sub-70 round in his last eight. After beginning play with a double bogey on the par 4 10th hole, he birdied four of the next six holes and five of the next eight en route to his 2-under round. He is tied for 59th at 6-over 148 (79-69).

    Kang (75-71) and senior Steve Lim (74-72) are tied for 37th at 4-over 146. Kang, who has three top 12 finishes in his last four events, birdied his first two holes before finishing the back 9 at 1-over. A birdie on 8 got him to 1-under before a bogey on 9 to finish the day. Lim opened with birdies on 10 and 14 for a 2-under back 9 before finishing the front at 3-over.

    Junior Martin Trainer is tied for 53rd at 5-over 147. He birdied 10 to open the round but bogeyed 11 and 12. He settled himself and was 2-over the rest of the day.

    Freshman Anthony Paolucci is tied for 138th at 12-over 156 (76-80). Though struggling throughout the round, he finished with a birdie and a par during a 3-under front 9.

    The Trojans will join Illinois and Florida on Thursday in the 10-12 grouping that tees off the 10th hole beginning at noon.