No. 3 USC Headed To Florida For Loaded UCF Challenge
Trojans looking for first win of year; Have finished no lower than fourth this season.
The No. 3 USC women's golf team, the 2008 defending NCAA champion which has finished no lower than sixth in 19 consecutive tournaments, marches its way through the spring schedule, making its next stop at the 2009 UCF Challenge at the RedTail G.C. in Sorrento, Calif., Sunday through Tuesday (March 8-10).
Live scoring will be available at Golfstat.com.
The UCF Challenge will be played on a 6,301-yard, par-72 course. Teams will tee off between 9-11 a.m. ET Sunday and Monday and between 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
The 18-team field includes (with Golfweek.com rankings in parentheses): Alabama (5), Arizona (20), Arizona State (1), Auburn (8), Duke (9), Florida (28), Florida State (57), LSU (11), North Carolina (15), Oklahoma State (6), Pepperdine (12), Purdue (13), Tennessee (37), Texas (34), UCF (42), UCLA (2), USC (3) and Vanderbilt (14).
USC has finished in the top 2 in eight of the past nine events and has 15 consecutive top 5 finishes, 19 consecutive top 6 finishes and 25 consecutive top 10 finishes in non-match play events.
USC RECENT HISTORY
The Women of Troy have finished among the top five teams at the NCAA championships in four of the past six years, including titles in 2003 and 2008 ... USC, which made its 17th consecutive NCAA appearance last season and its 11 straight in the championships final, led wire-to-wire in both the 2008 NCAA final and West Regional. The NCAA title was its fourth consecutive tournament win, a first in program history ... USC had five All-Americans in 2008 for the first time in school history (Dewi Claire Schreefel, Paola Moreno, Belen Mozo, Stefanie Endstrasser, Lizette Salas).
Jr. Belen Mozo
Junior Belen Mozo is a two-time All-American (first team in 2008, honorable mention in 2007) who led USC last season with seven top 10 finishes and a team-best stroke average of 72.29. She had a streak of having finished no lower than a tie for 18th snapped in the fall at 14 events. In her first event as a junior, she tied for 14th at the 2009 Fall Preview and then tied for 31st at the Mason Rudolph. She bounced back with a third-place, finish at the Stanford Intercollegiate at 4-under 209 (68-71-70) ... She posted her third top 15 mark of the season, a tie for 14th, at the 2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational with a 4-over 220.
So. Lizette Salas
Sophomore Lizette Salas earned All-American second-team honors as a 2008 freshman and is gunning for first-team status in 2009. Salas posted seven top 15 finishes last season, including a tie for 15th at the NCAA Championships and a sixth at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships. In 2009, she has finished in the top 10 in all five starts, including two first-place finishes and two other in the top 4. In the season opener, she set USC bests with a third-place finish and a final-round 68. Her previous USC low was a 71. She followed that with a tie for 10th at the Mason Rudolph at 2-under 214 (71-73-70). Salas then became a first-time collegiate winner and posted a new 18-hole best with a victory at the Stanford Intercollegiate, winning with a 7-under 206 (66-72-68). At the rainy and windy Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Salas fought her way to a tie for fourth. She then claimed a share of her second title at the 2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational with a 3-under 213 (73-71-69) ... She boasts USC's best stroke average (71.59) and its most rounds in the 60s (four) ... She was named Golf World's Collegiate Player of the Week (Feb. 23-March 1) following her win at the Wildcat Invitational.
Jr. Stefanie Endstrasser
Junior Stefanie Endstrasser earned All-American second-team honors as a 2008 sophomore, her first season with the Trojans (she transferred to USC after playing for Purdue in 2007). She finished with the third-best stroke average on the team last season (73.55) and had five top 16 finishes in seven outings. Endstrasser matched her best effort as a Trojan at the 2008 Mason Rudolph, tying for third with a 6-under 210 (71-70-69). She also tied for 35th in USC's first event this season.
Fr. Jennifer Song
Freshman Jennifer Song, one of the top international amateur players to join the NCAA ranks in 2009, has broken onto the collegiate scene in a tremendous way with four top 10 finishes in five starts. She made her first splash by tying for ninth in her USC debut at the 2009 Fall Preview with a 2-over 218 effort. She followed that with a tie for third at the Mason Rudolph at 6-under 210 (71-68-71) and a tie for 14th at the Stanford Intercollegiate. She tied for second at the rainy and windy 2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge and tied for seventh at the 2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational ... She is second on the team lead with three rounds in the 60s and is also second in stroke average (71.88).
Jr. Caroline Kim
Junior Caroline Kim played in two tournaments as a sophomore last season. She has been a much more integral part of USC's team in 2009, playing in five tournaments already. She played in USC's first 2009 outing, taking 57th, and then tied for 38th at the Stanford Intercollegiate, her best finish as a Trojan. She carded her low round as a Trojan (69) during the Hooters Collegiate Match Play qualifying rounds (finishing 24th in individual scoring). She has been among USC's starting five four times this year.
Sr. Victoria Alimonda
Senior Victoria Alimonda saw action in four events as a 2008 junior. She posted a season-best tie for 50th at the Kent Youel Invitational and had a season-low round of 72 at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. In her first action of the season, she tied for 83rd at the Mason Rudolph and also played in the Hooters Collegiate Match Play.
Sr. Shelcie Takenouchi
Senior Shelcie Takenouchi played in two tournaments as a 2008 junior. She made her 2009 debut at the Mason Rudolph Championship, tying for 87th.
Fr. Inah Park
Freshman Inah Park made her USC debut at the Stanford Intercollegiate and tied for 72nd. She also played in the Hooters Collegiate Match Play. She was part of USC's scoring efforts for the first time at the Northrop Grumman Invitational, finishing tied for 54th.
Head Coach Andrea Gaston
Andrea Gaston is in her 13th year as the Head Coach for USC women's golf and has led USC into the NCAA Championships final each of the past 11 years. One of the most successful coaches in the nation, she has guided USC to two national titles (2003 and 2008), five NCAA regional championships and one Pac-10 crown. Three Trojans (Jennifer Rosales, 1998, Mikaela Parmlid, 2003, and Dewi Claire Schreefel, 2006) have won NCAA individual titles under her watch and two have won the Honda Award for women's golf player of the year (Parmlid in 2003 and Irene Cho in 2006).
2008 Fall Preview
USC turned in the low final round and rallied to a second-place finish at the season-opening 2008 Fall Preview at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md., on Sept. 8. The Trojans combined for a 3-under 285 to wrap up the tournament and finished at 16-over 880 (298-297-285). They were eight strokes behind first-place Arizona State (872). Lizette Salas's
final-round 68 was her lowest round as a Trojan (it was 71 previously) and helped her finish at 1-under 215 (73-74-68), good for third overall, her best finish as a Trojan. Belen Mozo
carded a 2-under final round to move into a tie for 14th at 4-over 200 (76-74-70). Her finish extends her streak of top 18 finishes to 14.
2008 Mason Rudolph Championship
USC finished second at the 2008 Mason Rudolph Championship, extending its streak of finishing no lower than second to six events. USC finished at 8-under 856 (288-285-283), six strokes back of winner UCLA (850). Stefanie Endstrasser (71-70-69) and freshman Jennifer Song (71-68-71) tied for third at 6-under 210. For Endstrasser, it tied her lowest finish as a Trojan, matching her effort at the 2008 NCAA West Regional Championship. It was also Song's best at Troy, topping her ninth-place mark in her debut tournament earlier this month. Lizette Salas also clocked out with her second top 10 finish of the season, tying for 10th at 2-under 214 (71-73-70). She was third in USC's first event. USC also lengthened streaks for consecutive top 5 finishes (12), consecutive top 6 finishes (16) and consecutive top 10 finishes (22).
2008 Stanford Intercollegiate
Lizette Salas won her first career collegiate title while the No. 1 USC women's golf team posted its seventh consecutive top 2 finish at the 2008 Stanford Intercollegiate at Stanford G. C. (Oct. 17-19). USC finished the 54-hole event at 5-under 847 (279-286-282), three behind first-place UCLA (844) and 10 ahead of third-place Stanford (857). Troy, which began the day three back of UCLA, battled the Bruins throughout the day and flirted with first place before falling back on the final few holes. Still, in addition to extending its top 2 streak to seven, USC now has 13 consecutive top 5 finishes, 17 consecutive top 6 finishes and 23 consecutive top 10 finishes. Salas won the individual title with a 7-under 206 (66-72-68), taking over the lead during a 2-under front 9 and sealing it with a 1-under on the back 9. Salas, who didn't break 71 during an All-American freshman season last year, has gone under 70 three times in three events as a sophomore and has finished no lower than 10th (she is the only Trojan to post three top 10 finishes this season). Mozo, meanwhile, turned in a 1-under final round, bogeying the 2nd hole and birdying the 11th and 12th holes. Her third-place finish is her best on the season and her highest since tying for third at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships.
2008 Hooters Collegiate Match Play
USC opened the Hooters event fourth after 36 holes of stroke play to qualify for the winners bracket of the 16-team field at Ginn Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. Jennifer Song turned in a 4-under 140 (72-68) Lizette Salas tied for 10th at even 144 (73-71). USC, playing without starters Belen Mozo and Stefanie Endstrasser, faced Duke next and lost on a tiebreaker. In a winners consolation bracket matchup, USC fell to UCLA, 4-1, and later fell to Virginia.
2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
Freshman Jennifer Song tied for second and sophomore Lizette Salas tied for fourth to lead USC, which finished fourth at the 2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge (Feb. 9-11). In a tournament played in constant cold and windy conditions (with rain in the opening round),USC finished at 67-over 919 (313-299-307). Arizona State finished first at 46-over 898 with Wake Forest climbing into second (916) and UCLA taking third (917). USC extended its steak of top 5 finishes to 14 events. It was also its 18th straight top 6 finish and its 23 consecutive top 10 finish. Song's tie for second was a USC best for the freshman. She completed 54 holes at 9-over 22 (79-70-73). Song shook off a shaky first round to post the best combined second- and third-round total (143) of any in the draw. Salas's tie for fourth marked her fourth top 10 finish in as many starts this season.
2009 Wildcat Invitational
Sophomore Lizette Salas claimed a share of her second title this season to pace the then-No. 2 USC women's golf team to a tie for second at the Arizona-hosted 2009 Wildcat Invitational at Peninsula G.C. in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico (Feb. 22-24). USC finished at 14-over 878 (302-287-289), tied for second with Arizona State (295-290-293). UCLA won at 4-over 869 (287-295-287). USC notched its eighth top 2 finish in the past nine events and its 15th consecutive top 5 finish. Salas, who hasn't finished outside of the top 10 this season, finished tied for first at 3-under 213 (73-71-69) with New Mexico's Jodi Ewart (72-71-70). Freshman Jennifer Song tied for seventh at 1-over 217 (73-72-72). It was her fourth top 10 finish in five starts this year. Junior Belen Mozo also played strong for the second day in a row and tied for 14th at 4-over 220 (78-71-71).