No. 1 USC Opens Pac-12 Championships With 10-Stroke Lead|
April 22, 2013
Junior Sophia Popov fired a USC career-best 66 for her school record 16th round in the 60s and a spot atop the leaderboard, leading five Trojans who are all in the top 10 as the No. 1 USC women's golf team staked itself to a 10-stroke lead after the first round of the 2013 Pac-12 Women's Golf Championships at the Valencia (Calif.) C.C.
USC, a four-time winner this year looking for its fifth conference title (and third in the last six years), combined for an 8-under 280. UCLA is in second at 2-over 290 with Washington third (5-over 293) and Arizona State fourth (7-over 295).
Popov's 66 included a 4-under first round with two birdies and an eagle on the par 5 9th hole. She then birdied 10, 12 and 13 with the only blemish a bogey on 14. Her 66 was one better than her previous best, a 67 at last year's Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. Popov is tied for USC's career record for wins with five, which includes the 2011 Pac-12 title.
The 66 is Popov's USC best 16th, breaking the tie she had with former Trojan All-American Jennifer Song.
Freshman Annie Park nabbed second at 2-under 70 with a five-birdie day, including a stretch of four in six holes between 4 and 9. A birdie on 17 dropped her to 3-under before a bogey on 18. Park is after her fifth top10 this year and her second win.
Junior Rachel Morris continued her hot play with a par 72. She had a birdie and a bogey during an even front 9 and used a birdie on 18 to get back to par for the back 9. She is looking for her third straight top 10.
Junior Doris Chen is tied with Morris at par. She was 2-over through 14 but birdied 16 and 17 to get back to even. She is going after her fourth top 10.
Freshman Kyung Kim rounded out USC's five-some with a 1-over 73 to tie for 10th. She had bogeys on 8 and 17 with a birdie on 15. She is seeking her fifth top 10 this season.
USC begins play Tuesday, paired with UCLA, beginning at 9:50 a.m.