Trojans Take Over First At NCAA Championships|
May 30, 2015
Freshman Sean Crocker fired a 4-under 68 while junior Bobby Gojuangco (73), sophomore Rico Hoey (72) and freshman Jonah Texeira (72) were 1-over or better to lift the No. 13 USC men's golf team into first place at the halfway point of the 72-hole stroke play portion of the NCAA Championships on Saturday (May 30) at the Concession G.C. in Bradenton, Fla.
The Trojans turned in the second-best round of the day in the 30-team field at 3-under 285 and will tee off Sunday afternoon in first at a combined 2-under 574 (289-285). Fourth-ranked Illinois is second at 1-over 577 while ninth-ranked LSU is third at 5-over 581.
Following tomorrow's round, the field will be reduced in half and a final 18 holes will be played June 1. The individual winner will be decided that day and the top eight teams will advance into an eight-team bracket (June 2-3) to determine the national champion. USC has never won an NCAA team title in men's golf.
Crocker moved into a tie for fourth at 3-under 141 (73-68) after a second round that started with back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11. He settled down with three consecutive pars before a birdie on 15 and an eagle on the 592-yard par 5 17th to get to 1-under on the back. He birdied 1 to kick off his front, birdied 3 as well and finished with a birdie on 9 for his team-best 19th round in the 60s this season.
Crocker's 19 rounds under 70 are the most by a Trojan since Jamie Lovemark had 20 as a 2007 freshman. Crocker is tied for fourth overall, four back of SMU's Bryson Dechambeau.
Hoey has 18 rounds in the 60s himself, though none yet at this NCAAs. That hasn't stopped him so far from earning a firm spot in the top 10, tied for sixth at 2-under 142 (70-72). Hoey posted a double bogey on the par 3 14th before sinking birdies on 16 and 17 to get to even. He had two more bogeys on his front, but also birdied 3 and closed with another on 9 to get to even for the round.
Texeira and Gojuangco both turned in their second straight solid outings. Texeira is tied for 22nd at 1-over 145 (73-72). He closed his opening back 9 with birdies on 17 and 18 but finished even after his first bogeys of the day on 8 and 9. Gojuangco is tied for 30th at 2-over 146 (73-73). He was 1-under going out with birdies on 13 and 17 and came home at 2-over.
Senior Eric Sugimoto is tied for 77th at 7-over 151 (73-78). He was even going out before a few stumbles on his front 9.
USC has made the match play portion of the NCAA Championships only once since it was re-instituted in 2009, doing so that year when they were eliminated in the quarterfinals.