Trojans Open 5-Stroke Lead After NCAA Championships 1st Round
May 20, 2008
During the No. 1 USC women's golf team's current three-tournament win streak - which includes wins at the 2008 Pac-10 and NCAA West Region Championships - the Trojans' success has been marked by consistent play throughout the lineup with no player finishing outside of a tie for 22nd.
In the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Women's Golf Championships, the results were equally consistent as sophomore Belen Mozo and senior Paola Moreno led a strong team effort to guide the Women of Troy into first place after the first round at the University of New Mexico Championship G.C, in Albuquerque, N.M., on Tuesday (May 20).
Making its 17th consecutive NCAA appearance and its 11th straight in the championship final, all under 12th-year head coach Andrea Gaston, USC took a big first step toward its goal of winning its second NCAA title (its first came in 2003).
USC finished its first round with a 4-under 284, punctuating its final round with a combined six birdies against two bogeys over the final four holes to help establish a five-stroke lead. UCLA and Auburn are tied for second at 1-over 289. Arizona State is fourth (290) while Denver and Wake Forest are tied for fifth (293). Three-time defending NCAA champion Duke is in 18th (299).
"It is so great to see all five girls playing well," Gaston said. "To know all of them are in it and we are not just counting on four scores. They are all fighting hard and if they make a bogey they are working hard to bring it back. It was a great way to start.
"I never looked at the scoreboard all day. My goal today was not to look at scores, but to get the players into a flow and have them stay in the present. At the end of the day, I looked.
"It is nice to have round one out of the way. I always anticipate the first round and want the girls to get into a rhythm and a feel for the course. This team is so consistent and our momentum keeps building. We need to not overthink things and keep doing what we`ve been doing."
Mozo, who has finished in the top 18 in every event this season and in the top 9 in four of the past five tournaments, is tied for second at 3-under 69. The Spaniard recorded her team-best seventh round in the 60s this season thanks in large part to a 3-under front 9 in which she birdied the 3rd, 5th and 9th holes. Bogeys on 11 and 16 dropped to her to only 1-under, but the easy-going sophomore, who was the last Trojan off the course, responded with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes. Mozo is two back of Wake Forest's Nannette Hill, who birdied five times to finish at 5-under 67.
Moreno is tied for seventh at 2-under 70. An All-American first teamer in 2007 after tying for second last year at the NCAA Championships, Moreno got off to rocky start with bogeys on the 1st and 3rd holes. She got back to par, however, with birdies on 5 and 7 and, after a bogey on the 11th hole, she birdied three of her final four holes.
Sophomore Stefanie Endstrasser is tied for 15th after a par 72. The Austrian bogeyed the 1st hole but birdied 8 and 9 to go 1-under on the front 9. She was solid on the back 9 with only a bogey on 14 to disrupt her string of par holes.
Schreefel was 1-over going out with bogeys on the 5th and 7th hole and a birdie on 9. She was even coming home, bogeying the 13th hole but birdieing 18. Salas, the only Trojan this year besides Mozo to finish no worse than 30th this season in any event, maintained her consistent play in her NCAA debut. She bogeyed twice against one birdie (on the 3rd hole) on the afternoon.
USC joined many of the same schools currently vying for the NCAA title when it played on the same New Mexico course at the 2007 Fall Preview, when it finished second overall.
The Women of Troy, who teed off today with Florida and UCLA, will tee off with the same schools again on Wednesday at 8 a.m. off the 10th hole. Pairings and tee times for Thursday (May 22) and Friday (May 23) will be determined after the second round is complete.
Click here for New Mexico's complete host site.