Feb. 20, 2015
The No. 4 USC men's golf team, led so far this year by sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Sean Crocker, march onward through the spring schedule at the 2015 Jones Invitational at the Valencia (Calif.) C.C. on Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 22-23).
The Trojans, under ninth-year head coach Chris Zambri, will join host Pepperdine as well as BYU, Fresno State, Gerogia State, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pacific, Sam Houston State, San Diego, UC Irvine, South Carolina Upstate and Winthrop.
USC is looking for its sixth top 3 finish in eight events and its fifth in the top 2, which includes a pair of firsts.
Play opens with two rounds on Monday beginning at 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. Final round action on Tuesday begins with tee times off holes 1 and 10 at 7:30 a.m. Live results will be available at Birdiefire.com.
* Sophomore Rico Hoey, a 2014 All-American, is second on the team with a stroke average of 70.00 with nine rounds in the 60s.
* Hoey has a trio of top 3 finishes and four in the top 5, taking third at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at 5-under 205 (66-65-74), 2nd at the Bill Cullum Invitational at 12-under 204 (65-67-72), tying for second at the Western Refining College All-America at 7-under 206 (69-66-71) and tying for fifth at the Amer Ari Invitational at 12-under 204 (66-66-72).
* He carded a 74 as one of 14 collegiate players that competed in the inaugural Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase on Feb. 16 at the Riviera C.C. He tied for sixth in the 14-player field.
* Hoey played individually at the 2014 Western Refining College All-America at the El Paso (Texas) C.C., tying for second at 7-under 206 (69-66-71).
* Freshman Sean Crocker
is off to a tremendous start to his career with a team-best 12 rounds in the 60s in his first seven events. He also tops the team in stroke average (69.90) and has been among USC's top 2 finishers in four of seven tournaments.
* He has three top 4 finishes, tying for second at 5-under 208 (68-72-68) at the Southwestern Intercollegiate and tying for fourth at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at 2-under 210 (73-68-67) and at The Prestige at PGA West at 10-under 206 (69-69-68).
* He has four top 10 results and has finished no worse than 21st in any of his seven outings.
* Senior Paul Smith is fourth on the team at 71.94 with five rounds in the 60s.
* He finished a season-best tied for third at the Gifford Collegiate-CordeValle at 7-under 206 (67-73-66) and has two other top 21 finishes.
* Freshman Jonah Texeira, like fellow frosh Sean Crocker, has gotten off to a strong start and is third on the team in stroke average (71.42) to go with seven rounds in the 60s.
* Texeira has a pair of top 10 finishes and four in the top 21, including a third at the Bill Cullum at 11-under 205 (67-66-72) and a tie for 10th at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at 1-under 209 (67-69-73).
* Senior Eric Sugimoto is fifth on the team with a stroke average of 72.27 and has a pair of top 15 results, including a tie for ninth in the season-opening Southwestern Intercollegiate at 3-over 216 (72-76-68). He also tied for 14th at the Gifford Collegiate-CordeValle at 1-over 214 (70-74-70).
* Junior Bobby Gojuangco is sixth on the team in stroke average (72.47) and has a trio of top 11s, tying for seventh at the Bill Cullum Invitational at 5-under 211 (68-71-72), posting a tie for 10th at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at 1-under 209 (69-67-73) and tying for 11th at the Amer Ari Invitational at 10-under 206 (69-67-70).
* Sophomore Danny Ochoa has seen action in four events with a season-best tie for 44th at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate. Junior Andrew Levitt has played twice with a season-best tie for 48th at the Southwestern Intercollegiate. Freshman Bakari Bolden played in the season-opening Southwestern Intercollegiate, tying for 42nd. Sophomore Khaled Attieh has not seen action yet this year. USC has also added spring semester junior transfer from David Kim.
2014-15 OUTLOOK IN BRIEF
USC returns three starters from last year's squad that made its eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship final round (tied for second longest active streak nationally), including Hoey and returning seniors Paul Smith and Eric Sugimoto.
Hoey put together one of the top seasons in Trojan golf history as a 2014 freshman, leading USC in stroke average (71.36), top 10 finishes (eight), rounds in the 60s (16), birdies (165) and eagles (eight) en route to 2014 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, All-Pac-12 first team and GCAA All-West Region honors. A 2014 Palmer Cup pick, Hoey's 16 rounds in the 60s and his 26 rounds of par or better were the most since Jamie Lovemark's 20 and 27, respectively, during his 2007 freshman season. Hoey's eight top 10s were actually all top 7 or better, including six in the top.
Smith had five top 20 finishes last season, including a tie for seventh at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. He has three rounds in the 60s, each coming in final rounds, and was fifth on the team with a 73.44 stroke average.
Sugimoto joined the Trojans in spring and was third on the team in stroke average (72.96) while posting a pair of top 10 finishes.
Also back and looking for increased roles are junior Bobby Gojuangco and sophomores Khaled Attieh and Danny Ochoa. Bolstering the lineup as well is a trio of freshmen in Sean Crocker, Jonah Texeira and Bakari Bolden. USC has also added spring semester junior transfer David Kim, who played his first two years for Illinois.
Key losses from last year included departed senior and former All-American Jeffrey Kang, senior and frequent starter Ramsey Sahyoun and departed junior Anthony Paolucci, who left school a year early to pursue a professional career.
Freshman Sean Crocker tied for second at 5-under to lead USC's season-opening efforts at the 2014 Southwestern Intercollegiate, the Trojans taking second after final-round play finished at the North Ranch C.C. in Westlake Village, Calif., on Sept. 9. USC combined for a three-round 11-over 863 (288-292-283), finishing 15 back of winner Stanford (848). Washington State was 10 back of the Trojans for third (873) while Pepperdine, co-hosting with Troy, was seventh (885). Crocker tied for second at 5-under 208 (68-72-68) after his second 3-under round of the tournament. He was 1-under going out and 2-under coming home with four birdies on the day. Senior Eric Sugimoto tied for ninth at 3-over 216 (72-76-68) while sophomore Rico Hoey, in his first event after his All-American freshman campaign, tied for 16th at 6-over 219 (74-73-72). Sugimoto opened play 4-under through 10 before settling for 3-under with a five-birdie round. Hoey was 1-over on the front with two birdies and even on the back with two more birdies.
Itani Quality Homes Collegiate
Sophomore Rico Hoey took third while the USC men's golf team rallied to tie Oregon and force a playoff before falling on the first hole on the final day of the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at the Paolouse Ridge in Pullman, Wash. The Trojans finished at 6-under 834 (273-270-291) during a windy final round and tied with Oregon after a tight final few holes. In the playoff on 18, Oregon finished with one birdie, two pars and two bogeys to best USC's three pars and two bogeys. Cal took third at 3-under 837. Hoey finished third at 5-under 205 (66-65-74) while junior Bobby Gojuangco (69-67-73) and freshman Jonah Texeira (67-69-73) tied for 10th for collegiate bests at 1-under 209. Hoey finished one stroke back of first and had four birdies against six bogeys in the day for his first top 10 of the year. He had eight last year.
Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational
Freshman Sean Crocker finished fourth to lead the USC men's golf team on the final day of the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at the Colonial C.C. in Fort Worth, Texas. The Trojans finished sixth at 32-over 872 (293-289-290), 21 back of first-place Oregon (851) while Stanford took second (857) and Oklahoma third (860). USC had finished in the top 2 of its first two events in the fall. Crocker posted his second top 4 finish of the season with today's result after tying for second at the season-opening Southwestern Intercollegiate. Crocker carded a team-best fifth round in the 60s this season to finish at 2-under 208 (73-68-67). Starting on the 10th hole, he was 3-under through 9 and got back to 3 under with a birdie on 9 to finish the day. Sophomore Rico Hoey tied for 22nd at 10-over 220 (72-71-77). He was 1-over on the front 9 but couldn't get untracked on the back 9, going 6-over.
Bill Cullum Invitational
Sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Jonah Texeira finished second and third, respectively, while freshman Sean Crocker and senior Paul Smith each closed with 5-under final rounds as the USC men's golf team won the Bill Cullum Invitational by 11 strokes on at the Wood Ranch G.C. in Simi Valley, Calif. The Trojans won at 31-under 833 (275-280-278), 11 better than second-place Arizona State and 28 better than third-place Washington State. It is USC's second first-place finish, though it fell in a playoff in the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate. Hoey finished second at 12-under 204 (65-67-72) while Texeira was third at 11-under 205 (67-66-72). It was Hoey's second top 3 finish and Texeira's second top 10. Hoey carded a pair of birdies and an eagle on the par 5 18th hole while Texeira had four birdies in the final round.
Gifford Collegiate Championship
Senior Paul Smith used a final-round 66 to finish a Trojan career-best third while freshman Sean Crocker tied for 10th as the No. 18 USC men's golf team took second at the Gifford Collegiate at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif., on Nov. 5 in the team's final day of fall action. The Trojans, in the six-player, count-five format, finished at 12-under 1053 (353-345-355), three back of No. 8 UCLA (1050) and 13 better than third-place No. 16 Stanford (1066). USC, which was coming off a win in its previous event (the Bill Cullum Invitational), booked its fourth top 2 finish in five fall events. Smith finished at 7-under 206 (67-73-66) to tie for third, two back of first, for his best effort as a Trojan. His previous highest finish was a tie for seventh last year. Starting on the 2nd hole in the shotgun start, he birdied three of his first seven holes en route to a six-birdie, one-bogey round. Crocker's tie for 10th at 2-under 211 (69-68-74) is his third top 10 of fall play. He was 1-under on the front 9, 4-over on the back.
Amer Ari Invitational
Freshman Sean Crocker fired a 5-under 67 and junior Bobby Gojuangco finished under par for the third straight day as the No. 15 USC men's golf team tied for third on the final day of the Amer Ari Invitational at Waikoloa Beach in Hawaii on Feb. 7. The Trojans started the day in second, three back of leader Washington, and vaulted to the lead after the turn, but were overtaken by a hot Arizona State squad that won at 38-under 826 (277-278-271). The Huskies finished second at 36-under 828 (277-269-282) while USC (and Oregon) tied for third at 35-under 829 (276-273-280). The finish was USC's fifth top 3 in six starts. Sophomore Rico Hoey tied for fifth at 12-under 204 (66-66-72), five back of first, the sophomore proving human Saturday after two blistering rounds to open the tournament. He had five birdies on the day, but lost ground with a triple bogey on the par 3 7th hole. Still, it was his third top 5 this season. Gojuangco proved steady again, tying for 11th at 10-under 206 (69-67-70). He was 1-over on the front 9 before finishing at 3-under on the back for his third top 11 of the year. Crocker, meanwhile, was hot all round and finished tied for 18th at 8-under 208 (70-71-67), registering his team-best ninth round in the 60s this season.
The Prestige at PGA West
Freshmen Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira polished off three strong days of play with final-round 68s, both posting top 15 finishes, to lead the No. 4 USC men's golf team during the third round of The Prestige at PGA West, Wednesday (Feb. 18), on the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course in La Quinta, Calif. The Trojans placed eighth at 15-under 849 (283-284-282), finishing outside the top 3 for only the second time in seven events this season. Arizona State won the tournament at 31-under 833 (279-274-280) while Stanford was second at 27-under 837 (288-281-268). Crocker tied for fourth at 10-under 206 (69-69-68), his third top 4 finish and fourth in the top 10. His final round was his fourth straight in the 60s and was his team-best 12th this year (in 21 rounds). He was 3-under on the front 9 with five birdies and was 1-under on the back with his sixth birdie on 13. Texeira tied for 14th at 6-under 215 (70-72-68) for his third top 15 this year and he now has seven rounds in the 60s.