Oct. 28, 2016
The No. 11 USC men’s golf team, a 2015 and 2016 NCAA Championships semifinalist, wraps the fall season at Stanford’s Cypress Point Classic on Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 31-Nov. 1), in Pebble Beach, Calif.
The eight-school event – including USC, host Stanford, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Cal, Wake Forest and UCLA -- features Ryder Cup-style scoring with the teams separated into two four-team brackets for head-to-head competition.
Schools will begin play at 8 a.m. Monday in Four Ball – three pairs per team. The four winning teams will advance to the winners bracket, the losers to the consolation bracket, for Foursomes that begin at 12:30 p.m. Action concludes Tuesday at 8 a.m. with match play.
Scoring is as follows:
* Four points will be available per match.
* One point will be awarded for both the front-nine and back-nine matches, and two points for the overall match.
* Each match will be played over 18 holes under format during that round. The total number of "holes won" by each side over the full 18-holes will settle ties. Teams with highest point total at the end of each round will advance in the bracket.
USC’s six-team squad this week features seniors Rico Hoey and Andrew Levitt, juniors Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira, sophomore Justin Suh and freshman Cheng Jin.
Ranked No. 2 in the preseason, the Trojans return their entire starting lineup that is bolstered by a pair of strong newcomers. Under the leadership of 11th-year head coach Chris Zambri, the Trojans look for their first win this year in their final fall event.
The Trojans were ranked No. 2 in the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll released in August and received four first-place votes, one of just two schools to receive multiple first-place selections. The other was No. 1 Texas, which defeated the Trojans in the 2106 NCAA semifinals before falling to eventual champion Oregon. Host Illinois joined the Trojans and Longhorns in the 2016 NCAA semifinals.
USC earned the high ranking thanks in part to its best depth in years. Zambri returns seniors Rico Hoey and Andrew Levitt, juniors Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira and sophomore Justin Suh, all starters during a 2015-16 campaign in which Troy was ranked No. 1 for much of the season.
Opinions on the team were also bolstered, no doubt, by its newcomers and overall depth. Added to the mix this season is freshman Cheng Jin, from China, one of the top amateurs in the world, as well as talented freshman Kyle Suppa, both of whom will push for starting spots. Also back are seniors David Kim and Danny Ochoa, sophomore Ryan Slater (USC’s most-used reserve last year) and redshirt freshman Ing Ratanavadi.
EVENT-BY-EVENT STARTING LINEUPS
Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational: Hoey-Crocker-Suh-Levitt-Ochoa
OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite: Crocker-Jin-Hoey-Levitt-Texeira
Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate: Crocker-Jin-Hoey-Levitt-Suh
Cypress Point Classic: Crocker-Jin-Hoey-Levitt-Suh-Texeira
USC golfers had a successful summer, highlighted by a variety of top finishes.
Hoey, who finished second at the 2016 NCAAs at 3-under 277 en route to PING All-American second team honors, won the 117th SCGA Amateur title in July. Crocker, an All-Pac-12 second teamer, won the Monroe Invitational Championship, posting a four-stroke victory.
Suh, a PING All-American honorable mention pick last season, played as an amateur in the U.S. Open this summer while Jin played in The Master’s in May and won the Players Amateur title in July to earn an exemption into the PGA’s RBC Heritage next spring.
Seven Trojans, including five on this year’s team, played in the 2016 U.S. Amateur, where Texeira carried USC’s flag all the way to the semifinals before bowing out. Texeira’s trip to the U.S. Amateur semifinals repeated Crocker’s run in 2015.
2016-17 MEN’S EVENT RECAPS
OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite
Junior Sean Crocker fired a 1-under 69 to secure a top 10 finish to lead the No. 2 USC men’s golf team, which tied for eighth at the the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite at the Olympia Fields C.C. North Course in Chicago. The Trojans turned in a combined 10-over final round, finishing at 34-over 874 (296-288-290). Host Illinois completed its wire-to-wire win at 5-over 845 (274-280-291) while Oklahoma State finished second at 18-over 858 (287-290-281). Crocker closed with a strong back 9 to tie for seventh at 1-over 211 (69-73-69) and claim a top 10 finish, birdieing 15, 16 and 18 over his final four holes. Senior Rico Hoey tied for 29th at 9-over (76-71-72), sinking four birdies today during his 2-over round. Junior Jonah Texeira tied for 40th at 12-over 222 (75-73-74), freshman Cheng Jin tied for 42nd at 13-over 223 (76-71-73) and senior Andrew Levitt tied for 54th at 17-over 227 (78-74-75).
OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite
Junior Sean Crocker notched his second top 10 in as many events to lead the No. 13 USC men’s golf team on the final day of the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at the Colonial C.C. in Fort Worth, Texas, on Oct. 4. USC opened the day sixth and finished tied for sixth at 20-over 860 (283-283-294). Vanderbilt won the event at 1-under 839 (275-276-288), one better than Florida, the only two teams even or better. Georgia was third at 11-over 851. Crocker took fourth at 3-under 207 (71-67-69), five back of first, after securing his fourth round in the 60s in six rounds this season. The junior opened with his second birdie on 1 of the event (to go with a second-round eagle) and also birdied 2. After bogeys on 9 and 10, he birdied 14 and held on with pars rest of the way for the 1-under final round. Senior Andrew Levitt tied for 21st at 4-over 214 (72-71-71). He caught fire on the front and was 4-under through 8. He was still 4-under through 12 before encountering some troubles over the final few holes.
BILL CULLUM INVITATIONAL
Sophomore Jonah Texeira fired a tournament record 54-hole 14-under 202 (66-68-68) to win the Bill Cullum Invitational while leading four Trojans who played individually in the Monday and Tuesday event at the Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, Calif. Texeira turned in his first collegiate win thanks to a fruitful three rounds that saw him sink 18 birdies and an eagle against just six bogeys. He had eight birdies in Monday’s first round, four and an eagle in the late afternoon second round and came back today with six more birdies. He held off Southern Utah’s Fidel Concepcion, who was second at 12-under 204 (68-67-79). USC senior Danny Ochoa turned in his best effort as a Trojan, tying for 15th at 3-under 213 (72-70-71). He had eight birdies during the event, including four today. Trojan freshman Kyle Suppa, in his USC debut, tied for 32nd at 1-over 217 (74-70-73). Senior David Kim took 85th at 19-over 235 (85-77-73).
GOLF CLUB OF GEORGIA COLLEGIATE
A day after Andrew Levitt’s 66, fellow senior Rico Hoey turned in his own 6-under round while junior Sean Crocker came in with a 69 as the Trojans made a run at its first title this season before finishing a stroke out on the final day of the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate in Alpharetta, Ga., on Oct. 23. USC responded to its 11-over first round with back-to-back 9-under efforts to finish with a 54-hole 7-under 857 (299-279-279), one back of co-winners Virginia and Texas. USC, which briefly moved into first midway through the back 9, tied for third with Stanford while Texas A&M was fifth at 6-under and second-round leader Oklahoma finished sixth at 5-under. The finish is USC’s first in the top 3 after a tie for eighth to open the season at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite and a tie for sixth at the Nike Golf Collegiate. Hoey (76-60-66) and Levitt (74-66-72) finished tied for ninth at 4-under 212, each producing their first top 10 finishes of the season. Hoey was on fire for most of the round, turning at 3-under and getting to 7-under after three straight birdies between 13 and 15. Only a bogey on 17 slowed his round. Levitt got to 6-under overall after an eagle on 9 before bogeys on 14 and 18 left him tied with Hoey.