Chen Wins Pac-12 Title, USC Close Second
April 29, 2012
Doris Chen overcame 12 women to become USC's second consecutive freshman conference champion and led the No. 3 Women of Troy on a comeback charge that left them one stroke away from forcing a playoff at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships at the Palouse Ridge G.C. in Pullman, Wash., on Sunday (April 29)
USC combined for the second-lowest round of the day to finish at 18-over 882 (306-289-287), falling just short of catching leader California, which hung on to win at 17-over 881 (306-283-292). Arizona finished third (884) with UCLA fourth (885).
"We were very close," USC 16th-year head coach Andrea Gaston said. "We had some great birdies down the home stretch and a couple of close birdie putts on the last hole that didn't drop. Over the course of three days, this just shows you how every putt counts."
Chen followed in the footsteps of current sophomore Sophia Popov, winning the conference title as a freshman, USC's fifth overall. Chen, who began the day tied for 13th at 5-over, opened with a 1-under front 9 before falling to par after a bogey on 11. But from there, she birdied five of the remaining seven holes (plus another bogey), including two on 17 and 18 to give her the lead.
Chen's 68 was just her second round in the 60s this season and was her lowest score since her first round as a Trojan on Oct. 14, when she carded a 67. The victory is her first as a collegiate golfer and her fifth top 11 finish.
Senior Lisa McCloskey (74-74-72) and Popov (79-69-72) began the day tied for seventh and finished tied for fifth at 4-over 220 with their even rounds. During a very steady day, McCloskey bogeyed 1, birdied 10 and had pars the rest of the way. Her finish was her team-best seventh in the top 10 in nine events this year.
Popov was 1-under through her front 9 before dropping to 1-over after bogeys on 12 and 13. But she birdied 17 to get back to par. The tie for fifth was her third top five finish this season.
In addition to the Pac-12 title that was on the line, USC was vying against UCLA in the USC-UCLA Crosstown Gauntlet competition, the season-long battle between Trojans and Bruins in all sports. Five points for women's golf are awarded to the highest finisher between the rivals at the Pac-12 Championships, which went to the Trojans this year.
Click here for Washington State's Pac-12 Championships page.
Click here for the Pac-12 Women's Golf Championships home page.
Click here for live results at Golfstat.com.