No. 1 USC Amazing Win Streak Snapped At Eight|
Feb. 25, 2014
The No. 1 USC women's golf team, despite a trio of top 11 individual finishes, saw its school-record eight-tournament win streak come to end with a second-place at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate on Tuesday (Feb. 25) in New Orleans.
The defending NCAA champion Trojans, who finished the 2013 season with three straight wins and began the 2014 slate with five more victories, fell just short of No. 9, finishing at 15-under 849 (285-281-283). No. 2 UCLA, which began the final round with a four-stroke lead, matched USC stroke-for-stroke Tuesday and even increased their lead slightly to win at 21-under 843 (285-277-281).
The Trojans have now won 11 of their past 13 events and 12 of the past 15. Of the three times in that stretch USC did not come out on top, Troy was second twice. The last women's team to win more than eight in a row was Arizona State, which won 11 in row, including its 1994 title and all 10 tournaments in the 1995 season.
Said USC 18th-year head coach Andrea Gaston on the streak coming to an end: "Obviously we play to win every tournament we compete in. It's disappointing that we couldn't seem to make a move on UCLA's 4-shot lead. We needed the kind of finish that we had during the second round to catch them, but we didn't quite get it done with some late bogeys down the stretch. I'm proud of the team because they still fought hard because this streak meant a lot to all of us."
Sophomores Annie Park (73-69-70) and Kyung Kim (71-72-69) tied for eighth at 4-under 212 while senior Sophia Popov tied for 11th at 3-under 213 (67-74-72). Freshmen Gabriella Then (76-70-72) and Karen Chung (74-70-74) tied for 27th at 2-over 218 while senior Rachel Morris, playing individually and not counting toward USC's team score, tied for 17th at even 216 (71-75-70).
Said Popov after receiving the second-place trophy for the first time this season: "We know we have a great team regardless of the outcome here today. We played solid golf and will continue working on our games."
Kim led the Trojans' final-round efforts with her 3-under 69, her team-high-tying seventh sub-70 this year and the 13th of her career. She had five birdies on the day against just two bogeys. Park climbed up the leader board earlier after a 5-under start through 13, but she bogeyed three of her final five holes.
Popov, who secured her fourth straight top 11 finish, dug herself an early hole by starting with a double bogey on 1, but played the rest of the round at 2-under.
Then produced her second top 30 finish this year. It was Chung's third. Morris' final round was a season-best.
USC will get a few days off, but will be back at it Monday and Tuesday (March 3-4) at the Bruin/Wave Invitational at the El Caballero C.C. in Tarzana, Calif.