Trojans In Hawaii For Amer Ari Invitational
Feb. 4, 2014
The USC men's golf team, ranked No. 24 (Golfworld.com) and coming off a fourth-place finish in its first spring start, marches on through the second-semester schedule at the 24th annual Amer Ari Invitational at the Waikoloa (Hawaii) G.C., Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 6-8).
The field includes USC, Arizona State, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Cal State Monterey Bay, TCU, Texas Tech, UC Davis, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii-Hilo, Hawaii-Manoa, San Jose State, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Auburn, UCLA and Osaka Gakuin University.
Play on the par 72, 7,074-yard Kings course begins each day at 7:30 a.m. with shotgun starts. Results will be available at Golfstat.com. USC won the event in 2009 and senior Jeffrey Kang defeated current PGA rookie Jordan Spieth in a playoff in 2011 for the individual crown.
USC, under eighth-year head coach Chris Zambri, who has led Troy to the NCAA Championships each of his first seven seasons, is led by seniors Jeffrey Kang, a 2012 All-American, and Ramsey Sahyoun, as well as junior Anthony Paolucci.
Joining the Trojans are a host of newcomers including junior Paul Smith, the younger brother of the recently graduated All-American Sam Smith, sophomore transfer Bobby Gojuangco and freshmen Rico Hoey, Danny Ochoa and Khaled Attieh. USC has also added junior transfer Eric Sugimoto, who joined the Trojans in the spring semester.
Bobby Gojuancgco, Danny Ochoa, Khaled Attieh
In USC's season-opening event, the Trojans, featuring a lineup that included four newcomers, tied for seventh at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. Smith, the junior transfer, led USC with a tie for seventh at 2-under 214 (72-73-69). Hoey had put together a great first tournament at 4-under 212 (73-68-71), but a scorecard error on a 5-over final hole disqualified his round.
Kang, making his season debut, and Paolucci tied for 12th to lead then-No. 23 USC men's golf team to third place at the William H. Tucker Invitational at the University of New Mexico Championship Course on Sept. 28. The Trojans, who registered the second-lowest final round, finished at 23-over 887 (291-302-294), 24 back of host and winner New Mexico (863) and six behind second place Arizona State (881). Kang (74-74-73) and Paolucci (73-73-75) tied for 12th at 5-over 221.
Hoey posted a collegiate best tie for fourth while Paolucci tied for 23rd to lead USC at the U.S. Collegiate Championship, where USC finished ninth. The Trojans finished at 5-over 869 (290-289-290), remaining in ninth for the third day in a row in a tough 15-team field. No. 5 Oklahoma State claimed the top spot while host No. 2 Georgia Tech finished second. Hoey tied for fourth at 4-under 212 (70-71-71). He opened his final round with an eagle on the par 5 1st hole, bogeyed 3 and 5 and finished the front 9 with birdies on 6, 7 and 9. He cooled off with a 2-over back 9 but still finished under par for the third day in a row.
Hoey finished his final three holes at 4-under to collect his first collegiate win, leapfrogging junior teammate and second-place finisher Paolucci in the process, the duo helping the USC men's golf team rally to a second-place finish on the final day of the Gifford Collegiate Championship on Nov. 5. The Trojans, who began the final round nine back of top-ranked Alabama, finished second at 4-under 836 (283-277-279), just three behind the victorious Crimson Tide (836=275-276-285). Hoey claimed the top spot at 8-under 202 (68-66-68), as he and Paolucci became USC's first golfers to post three sub-70 rounds in an event since Kang did it as a sophomore at the Amer Ari Invitational from Feb. 1-3, 2012.
Paolucci tied for fifth while Kang tied for 12th to lead the No. 22 Trojan men's golf team, which finished fourth at the Arizona Intercollegiate at the Sewallo G.C. in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 28. The Trojans took a two-stroke lead into the final day and were engaged with a back-and-forth with California for much of the final round, but slipped off the pace on the back 9 and finished at 20-over 872 (281-283-308). Cal won with a 1-over 853 with host Arizona second (15-over 867) and New Mexico third (19-over 871). Paolucci led by two strokes after the 36-hole first day and actually extended the lead early in the final round with a 1-under front 9, but a forgettable back 9 cost the junior a shot at his first collegiate victory as he finished at 1-over 214 (65-70-79). Despite the rough finish, it was his second straight top 5 mark.