USC Falls A Stroke Short At NCAA Championships - Again
May 25, 2012
For the second time in three years, the NCAA Women's Golf Championships came down to one stroke and for the second time in four years, USC had one too many, the No. 3 Trojans finishing in second place behind Alabama on Friday (May 25) at the 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championships at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., hosted by Vanderbilt.
The Trojans finished at 20-over 1172 (297-288-294-293), one off of Alabama's 19-over 1171 (286-285-306-294). LSU charged late to put pressure on the leaders and take third at 21-over 1173 (293-294-297-289) while Virginia claimed fourth at 23-over 1175 (288-294-301-292). It was the Cavaliers who lost five strokes in the first round after a player signed for an incorrect scorecard.
Alabama held a four-stroke lead with only two players per team left on the course as they finished up 18. But when the Tide's Jennifer Kirby unexpectedly double bogeyed 18 while Trojan senior Inah Park calmly sank a birdie putt, it trimmed the lead to just one.
USC finished with freshman Doris Chen on the course, whose struggles on the day made her the Trojans' drop score, meaning her score would not have an affect on Troy's outcome. Whether or not USC could catch Alabama came down to the Tide's senior Brooke Pancake. After a tough third shot, she was left with about 60 feet, needing to two-putt for the title. Three putts would send USC into a playoff. But her first putt lipped the cup and stayed within about four feet and she sank the winner from there for par and the championship.
Chen finished off a fantastic freshman campaign tied for 14th at 5-over 293 (75-69-72-77) while seniors Lisa McCloskey (76-72-74-72) and Inah Park (74-73-73-74) tied for 21st at 6-over 294. Sophomore Sophia Popov tied for 38th at 9-over 297 (75-74-75-73) while sophomore Rachel Morris tied for 77th at 16-over 304 (73-80-77-74).
USC, in its 15th consecutive NCAA final, all under 16th-year Coach Andrea Gaston, extended its national-leading top 5 NCAA streak to seven years in a row. USC's one-stroke, second-place finish mirrored its result in 2010 when the Trojans lost to Purdue. That year, Jennifer Song had a birdie chance to send USC to a playoff, but was just off. USC's finish is its 13th top five NCAA finish overall, tying UCLA for second and trailing only Arizona State (16).
McCloskey finished as USC's low scorer on Friday with an even 72, which included birdies on 8 and 17. Popov was 1-under through 14 holes today before bogeys on 15, 16 and 17, though she did finish 18 with a birdie.
Morris shook off an early double on 3 and got to 1-under through 14, though was beset by late bogeys on 15, 16 and 18. Park, as well, was 1-under through 13 before a double on 14 and bogeys on 16 and 17. Though it was her late birdie on 18 that kept USC alive.