Trojans Earn NCAA Match Play Berth For First Time Since 2009|
June 1, 2015
Senior Eric Sugimoto fired a 2-under 70 while junior Bobby Gojuangco and freshman Sean Crocker carded 1-over 73s as the No. 13 USC men's golf team finished fifth at the 2015 NCAA Championships on Monday (June 1) at the Concession G.C. in Bradenton, Fla., to clinch the Trojans' first match play appearance since 2009.
The Trojans, who earned a chance to win the program's first national title with strong play over the past four days, combined for a 9-over 1161 (289-285-296-291), just six back of first-place Illinois, which took first at 3-over 1155. Vanderbilt took second at 5-over 1157 while Georgia and Texas tied for third at 6-over 1158. Host South Florida was sixth at 16-over 1168, LSU was seventh at 17-over 1172 and UCLA held off Georgia Tech to finish eighth at 20-over 1172.
The Trojans will face Texas in the quarterfinals Tuesday beginning at 4:50 a.m. PT off the 10th tee. USC will play the Longhorns as the fourth seed because Texas's fifth-place player finished below Georgia's fifth-place player. Should USC win, it would face the winner of Top-seed Illinois against eighth-seed UCLA at 11:20 a.m. PT. On the other side, No. 2 seed Vanderbilt will face No. 7 seed LSU while No. 3 seed Georgia will square off against No. 6 seed and host South Florida.
The Golf Channel will begin quarterfinal coverage Tuesday from 7:30-9:30 a.m. PT and broadcast semifinal coverage from 12:30-4 p.m. PT. Final coverage Wednesday runs from 12-4 p.m. PT.
USC was the only school to feature all five players among the top 43. Crocker topped the Trojans' efforts over the four days of play, tying for 16th at 1-over 289 (73-68-75-73), nine back of SMU winner Bryson Dechambeau (8-under 280=70-67-72-71).
Crocker got off to a rocky start with a double bogey on 1 and a triple on 2, but birdied 3, the first of seven birdies during a round that finished at 1-over 73.
Sugimoto was USC's top player over the final 36 holes and tied for 29th at 5-over 293 (73-78-72-70). His team-best final round included five birdies with three straight on 14, 15 and 16 for his best round since a 69 on April 11. It was his highest finish since taking 24th at The Goodwin on March 28.
Freshman Jonah Texeira (73-72-74-75) and Gojuangco (73-73-75-73) tied for 33rd at 6-over 294. Gojuangco doubled the second hole, but birdied 7 and 11 to get to even. He bogeyed 12, but finished the final six holes at par. Texeira was 3-over going out, but even coming home. Sophomore Rico Hoey tied for 43rd at 8-over 296. His final round included three birdies.
In USC's only other appearance since the NCAA re-instated the match play format in the championship, the Trojans fell to Michigan in the quarterfinals in 2009, the debut year. The last time Troy finished higher was third in 2008 and USC took sixth in 2005.