Women's Golf
    No. 1 USC Looks To Stay Hot At Bruin Wave Invitational

    Junior Rachel Morris

    Feb. 27, 2013

    The No. 1 USC women's golf team, whose active streak of seven consecutive NCAA top 5 finishes leads the country, is fresh off its second win of the season at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate and looks to maintain momentum at the Bruin Wave Invitational, Monday and Tuesday (March 4-5), at the El Caballero C.C. in Tarzana, Calif.

    The Trojans, who have not finished lower than third in any event this season and who regularly field a lineup with at least two freshmen and no seniors, will join co-hosts Pepperdine and UCLA as well as Arizona, BYU, Denver, Hawaii, Long Beach State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, San Diego State, UNLV and Washington State.

    Monday's action will feature 36 holes beginning with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Tuesday's final round will begin at 7:30 a.m. off the first and 10th tees.

    Live results will be available at Golfstat.com. USC won the event in its first year in 2010 when it was held at Robinson Ranch G.C. in Santa Clarita, Calif.

    Sophia Popov is USC's active career leader in rounds in the 60s with 13 (including two this year). USC's record is 15 (held by Jennifer Song). The school record for a season is eight. She is also Troy's active leader in wins with four, one off the school career record of five, shared by Irene Cho and Mikaela Parmlid ... The Trojans have already won twice this year, taking the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate and the Stanford Intercollegiate, which marks the seventh time in the past eight years USC has won two or more events in a season. It is also the seventh time in the last 10 and the 10th time in the last 14. Troy won five times in 2008, four each in 2003, 2010 and 2011 and three times in 1999 ... Freshman Kyung Kim has been a model of consistency for the Trojans, leading USC's with three rounds in the 60s this year without a round higher than 75 in 14 rounds (and only three above 73). Kim's 71.86 stroke average, however, is 0.01 behind Popov, who leads the team at 71.85 and boasts seven rounds of 71 or better ... Both Kim's and Popov's current stroke average is within striking distance of the school season record of 71.55, set by Jennifer Song in 2009 ... Sophomore Doris Chen has been steady as well with 11 of 12 rounds 75 or better and is third on the team with a stroke average of 72.58. Freshman Annie Park, who joined the Trojans in the spring semester, has gotten off to a strong start with a 73.17 stroke average and three top 18 finishes, including two in the top 10 ... Junior Rachel Morris is playing some of her best golf as a Trojan. Her 74.36 stroke average is currently 1.51 better than last season and she has three top 22 finishes.



    2012-2013 Event Recaps

    Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, Feb. 22-24
    Junior Sophia Popov holed a seven-foot birdie try on the first playoff hole to give the No. 1 USC women's golf team the title at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate on at the English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans. USC (287-293) and UCLA (283-297) had tied at 4-over 580 after 36 holes of regulation play (bookending a rained out Monday), setting up Popov's winning putt on the 18th hole. The win, clinched during a final round made difficult by strong winds, is USC's second this year, its third top 2 finish in a row and its fifth top 3 finish in five outings. Popov tied for second at 2-under 142 (70-72) for her best finish of the season and her second in the top 5. After bogeying her opening hole (3) in the shotgun start, she finished with three birdies against two bogeys for the par round, one of only six rounds of par or better Tuesday in the 90-woman field. Freshman Annie Park tied for eighth at even 144 (71-73). With a 2nd hole start, she bogeyed three of her first four holes, but tightened things up and finished the final 14 holes at 2-under. It was her third top 18 finish in as many outings in her first semester of action.

    Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Feb. 11-13
    A day after combining for the lowest round in tournament history in at least 13 years to take a one-stroke lead, the No. 1 USC women's golf team struggled to find the same the groove and finished second at the annual Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at the Palos Verdes (Calif.) G.C. USC finished at 27-over 879 (298-280-301), nine back of UCLA (870) and two better than third-place Duke (881). The Trojans lost ground also when junior Sophia Popov was disqualified due to a scorecard infraction. Freshman Kyung Kim, who won USC's final fall event, finished third at 3-over 216 (74-69-73), three out of first place. She opened play at 3-over through six holes but birdied 7 and 8 and was 1-over on the back 9. Freshman Annie Park, in her first team competition of her Trojan career, tied for 18th at 10-over 223 (72-76-75).

    Stanford Intercollegiate, Oct. 19-21
    Freshman Kyung Kim followed her second-round 66 with a final-round 68 to win her first collegiate title while leading No. 3 USC to a four-stroke team win at the Stanford (Calif.) Intercollegiate. USC finished its three-event fall schedule at a combined 5-over 857 (286-285-286) at Stanford, four better than second-place Washington (861) and 11 better than the host Cardinal (868). Kim, who claimed the solo lead with her 5-under second round, maintained her momentum in the final round with a 3-under round to finish 7-under 206 (72-66-68), three better than second place SooBin Kim of Washington (209). Sophomore Doris Chen finished a strong event tied for third at 1-under 212 (69-70-73) and had two birdies during her final round. It was her third top 16 finish of the fall.

    Fall Preview, Oct. 5-7
    Junior Sophia Popov used a 2-under 70 to finish tied for fifth while sophomore Doris Chen carded a par as No. 4 USC tied for fourth at the 2012 Liz Murphey Fall Preview at the University of Georgia G.C. in Athens. The Trojans tied for third at a combined 19-over 883 (295-297-291). North Carolina came from behind to win at 12-over 876 (297-289-290) while defending NCAA champion Alabama took second at 16-over 880 (296-289-295). USC caught and tied day two leader Auburn. Popov posted her second straight top 12 finish at even 216 (71-75-70), three strokes out of first. Chen also posted her second top 20 result in a row, tying for 16th at 3-over 219 (73-74-72). Popov had a four-birdie round and was 2-under on the back 9 while Chen had two birdies against two bogeys. Freshman Kyung Kim tied for 23rd at 5-over 221 (75-71-75).

    Cougar Classic, Sept. 9-11
    USC opened the 2012-13 season with a third-place finish at the College of Charleston "Cougar Classic" at the Yeamans Hall Club in Charleston, S.C., in September. Junior Sophia Popov and sophomore Doris Chen tied for 12th while freshman Kyung Kim tied for 14th. The Trojans finished a combined 1-under 863 (285-283-295). Florida, the second-round leader, went on to win at 12-under 852 while Duke finished second at 6-under 858. Popov (70-69-76) and Chen (72-71-72) tied for 12th at 1-under 215. Popov had two birdies in her final round while Chen paired four bogeys with four birdies.

    Junior Sophia Popov led Germany to second place at the 2012 Women's World Amateur Team Championship, completed Sept. 30, in Antalya, Turkey. Popov, a two-time All-American as a Trojan, led Germany to a combined 10-under during four rounds of play, three back of first-place Korea. Popov, in fact, led the German team at 6-under 282 (72-70-72-68), good for sixth place. Former teammate and 2012 USC graduate and fellow All-American Lisa McCloskey tied for fourth at 7-under 281 (70-71-67-73). The U.S. finished eighth at 6-under ... In a weather-shortened one-round event, Annie Park made her debut for the USC women's golf team with a third-place, par 72 while fellow frosh Ellie Chai also saw her first Trojan action at the 2013 Lady Bulldog Individual Championship at the University of Georgia G.C. in Athens, Ga., on Feb. 2. Playing on the same course that will host the NCAA Championships in May, Park finished three strokes behind winner Mia Piccio of Florida and one back of Furman's Laura Wearn. Chai finished tied for 28th with an 83.

    The Trojans, winners of the 2003 and 2008 NCAA titles, finished second by one stroke to the Crimson Tide last season, the second time in three seasons the Trojans finished second by a lone shot. USC not only has seven straight top 5 NCAA finishes, but has eight in the past 10 years.

    USC won two tournaments last season, claiming the Battle at Rancho Bernardo and the 2012 NCAA Central Regional. The latter title was Troy's NCAA-best eighth regional crown. Troy also had four second-place finishes, including at the NCAA and Pac-12 Championships.

    The Trojans, under 17th-year NGCA Hall of Fame coach Andrea Gaston, are led by junior Sophia Popov and sophomore Doris Chen. Popov was a 2011 All-American first teamer and earned All-American honorable mention honors in 2012. Chen was an All-American first teamer in 2012. Each won conference titles as freshmen, Popov in 2011, Chen in 2012. Popov was named to Golf World's 2012 "Top 10" Female Players to Watch list while Chen was on its "Top 50" list.

    Also back is junior Rachel Morris, a 2011 NCAA All-Region performer who had a pair of top 20 finishes as a 2012 sophomore.

    Five freshmen have joined the squad to bolster the Trojan roster. The highly rated Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., and Kim Santiago from Lynwood, Wash., joined the team in the fall while the talented trio of Annie Park from Levittown, N.Y., Ellie Chai from Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Victoria Morgan from Pasadena, Calif., were added to the squad in January.

    Kim is a four-time Rolex Junior All-American, twice as a first teamer, and the 2010 Arizona High School Player of the Year. She was also on Golf World's 2012 "Top 50" Female Players to Watch list. Santiago is a two-time AJGA Scholastic All-American. Park enters USC a semester early as a top 20 junior who played as an amateur at the 2012 U.S. Women's Open. Chai was a promising junior originally from New Orleans before moving to Los Angeles whose career was sidetracked due to a shoulder injury. She is healthy again and on the comeback trail. Morgan is an All-CIF performer who was the captain and MVP of her prep boys' team and was also an All-CIF tennis player.