Hoey 2nd At NCAAs, USC Ties For 4th To Advance To Match Play Bracket|
May 30, 2016
Junior Rico Hoey posted No. 3 USC's best individual finish since 2007 and led the Trojans to a tie four fourth at the 2016 NCAA Men's Golf Championships stroke play Monday (May 30) at the Eugene (Ore.) C.C., Troy qualifying for their second consecutive eight-team match play bracket to decide the national champion.
The Trojans, who finished a program-best runners-up in 2015, earned a chance to build on that after finishing 72 holes at 17-over 1137 (283-282-285-287), tied with their quarterfinal matchup Vanderbilt. Quarterfinals and semifinals are set for Tuesday (May 31) with the final Wednesday (June 1). USC will tee off against the Commodores at 7:50 a.m.
Texas finished atop the stroke play leader board at 14-over 1134, followed in the top four by Illinois (15-over 1135), LSU (16-over 1136) and USC and Vanderbilt. Host Oregon (19-over 1139) was sixth with South Carolina (22-over 1142) seventh and Oklahoma (24-over 1144) nabbing the last spot in eighth.
Hoey's second-place finish at 3-under 277 (70-69-69-69) is USC best since current PGA vet Jamie Lovemark won the crown in 2007. The most recent top 3 finish for the Trojans belonged to Tom Glissmeyer, who tied for third in 2009 in a 54-hole stroke play format.
Hoey, trying to win USC's fifth NCAA individual title, opened his final round with a front 9 that saw an eagle on 4, a bogey-birdie combo on 5 and 6 and a double bogey on 9. He came back with a strong back 9, saving numerous big pars to stay in the hunt for a crown. He birdied 15 to get to 3-under before finishing the final three holes with pars. Hoey's finish was his ninth in the top 10 this year.
"The team did what we came here to do," Hoey said. "We made it to match play so now we are one step closer to the main goal which is getting the national championship."
Freshman Justin Suh led the NCAA field on moving day before a 75 Sunday. He came back Monday with a 3-over 73 and tied for 10th at 3-over 283 (68-67-75-73). Suh's finish is his second-best this season and his fourth straight in the top 19.
Senior Andrew Levitt completed a solid NCAA debut, tying for 37th at 8-over 288 (70-72-73-73) and turning in four counting rounds (along with Hoey). He opened his final round with birdies on 1, 4 and 6 before bogeys on 8, 9 to finish the front. He was 4-over on his back. "We are all very excited to compete in match play," Levitt said. "We have put ourselves in a position to win a national championship and that was our goal throughout the entire year. We cannot wait to get after it tomorrow against Vanderbilt."
Sophomore Sean Crocker tied for 71st at 15-over 295 (78-74-71-72) while sophomore Jonah Texeira tied for 75th at 17-over 297 (75-76-72-74). Crocker opened with a 4-over front 9 but closed with a 2-under back including birdies on 15 and 16. Texeira registered USC's first eagle of the week on 4. He hung in there the rest of the way, finishing with a birdie on 18.
This is USC's third time playing in the NCAA match play bracket since the format changed in 2009. USC fell to Michigan in the quarterfinals that year.