No. 3 USC Opens Spring Play In Hawaii
Feb. 5, 2013
The USC men's golf team, ranked No. 3 and coming off of its sixth straight NCAA Championships final appearance last season, begins the spring season at the annual Amer Ari Invitational at the Waikoloa (Hawaii) Kings' Course from Wednesday through Friday (Feb. 6-8).
In addition to host Hawaii-Hilo and No. 3 USC, the 16-team event includes No. 8 Arizona State, Auburn, Colorado, CSU-Stanislaus, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Hawaii, No. 11 Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Osaka Gakuin University, San Jose State, No. 22 Stanford, TCU, Texas, No. 20 Texas Tech, No. 12 UC Davis, UCLA and No. 1 Washington.
Live results for this year's event can be found here.
Four of last year's eight teams that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championships match-play format - Oregon, Washington, UCLA and eventual winner Texas - will be represented at the event.
USC junior Jeffrey Kang beat Texas' Jordan Spieth in a one-hole playoff to win the individual title in 2012 while the Trojans won the team title in 2009. USC was second last year.
USC returns five players from last year's squad and has welcomed three newcomers. The squad is led by junior Jeffrey Kang, a 2012 All-American honorable mention selection, and by senior Sam Smith, a two-time All-Pac-12 honorable mention pick. Sophomore Anthony Paolucci also earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors last year and the nation's top recruit in 2011 is ready to make a big leap in the 2012-13 season. Also back is junior Ramsey Sahyoun, a 2012 Pac-12 All-Academic honoree and senior Stewart Hagestad.
USC posted a trio of third-place finishes in fall play at the Pac-12 Preview, the U.S. Collegiate Championship and the Gifford Collegiate-CordeValle. The Trojans also claimed the consolation final of the Stanford Classic Match Play while Kang tied for 12th in the individual-only Western Refining Collegiate.
Chang led all Trojan finishers at the Pac-12 Preview with a fifth-place finish at 7-under 209 (69-67-73). Kang tied for eighth at 5-under 211 (70-71-70). Chang paced USC again at the U.S. Collegiate Championship with a tie for ninth at 2-over 218 (71-75-72). He opened his final round with a 1-over front 9 but completed the day with a 1-under back 9, including birdies on 15 and 18. Paolucci (74-72-74) and Smith (71-76-73) tied for 20th at 4-over 220. At the Gifford Collegiate, Paolucci led the Trojans with a tie for fifth at 2-under 211 (71-71-69) while Smith tied for 13th at 3-over 216 (76-67-73).
Paloucci, Chang and Kang are tied for the low stroke average at 71.67 while Smith is not far back at 72.78. Chang leads the Trojans with a pair of top 10 finishes and another in the top 20. Paolucci and Smith each have three top 30 finishes while Kang has three in the top 31.