Women's Golf
    No. 3 Trojans In Tennessee To Try For Third NCAA Title

    Senior Inah Park

    May 18, 2012

    USC Postseason Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    The No. 3 USC women's golf team, featuring returning All-Americans Lisa McCloskey and Sophia Popov and 2012 Pac-12 champion Doris Chen and coming off its third consecutive NCAA Regional win, continues its quest for the program's third national crown at the 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championships, Tuesday through Friday (May 22-25) at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., hosted by Vanderbilt.

    The 2003 and 2008 NCAA champions, the Trojans are not only fresh off a dominating 25-stroke win at the 2012 NCAA Central Regional (its NCAA-best eighth regional win in program history), but have finished in the top 2 in three straight events and in four of the past five.

    The 24-team NCAA Championship field includes (rankings by Golfweek.com) No. 3 USC, No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 31 Arkansas, No. 17 Baylor, No. 10 Colorado, No. 8 Duke, No. 12 Florida, No. 5 LSU, No. 21 Michigan State, No. 6 North Carolina, No. 24 North Carolina State, No. 20 Ohio State, No. 28 Oklahoma, No. 23 Pepperdine, No. 29 Purdue, No. 19 South Carolina, No. 34 Stanford, No. 15 Tennessee, No. 26 Texas, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 1 UCLA, No. 9 Vanderbilt and No. 25 Virginia.

    Click here for the NCAA Championship page.
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    USC NCAA Championships History
    USC has won NCAA titles in 2003 and 2008. The Trojans finished six strokes ahead of UCLA in 2008 and were 15 strokes better than second-place Pepperdine in 2003 ... This is USC's 25th overall NCAA Championship final appearance and 15th in a row, all under 16th-year head coach Andrea Gaston. In addition to winning two titles, the Trojans have three times finished second (2010, 2006 and 1994) and also finished third in 2009 and 1986, fourth in 2007, 2000 and 1987, fifth in 1993 and tied for fifth in 2011. In fact, USC's combined 12 NCAA top 5 finishes trail only conference rivals Arizona State (15) and UCLA (13). The Trojans' second-place finish in 2010 was by just one stroke ... USC has won three NCAA individual titles, including Jennifer Rosales in 1998, Mikaela Parmlid in 2003 (in a one-hole playoff) and Dewi Claire Schreefel in 2006. USC's three individual title winners ties it for third most in NCAA history with Duke. Arizona State has five and Arizona has four ... In addition to its three individual champions, USC players have posted nine other top five finishes. Jennifer Song (2009) was second, Paola Moreno (2007) tied for second, Irene Cho (2003), Candie Kung (2001) and Dana Arnold (1990) all tied for third, Jill McGill (1994) and Belen Mozo (2008) finished fourth, Rosales tied for fourth (1999) and Leila Chartrand (2000) and Song (2010) tied for fifth ... The NCAA title in 2008 was USC's fourth consecutive tournament win at the time, 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) ... In 1998, Rosales was 9-under par after three rounds, tying for the best score in NCAA Championship history through three rounds ... USC's best combined round at an NCAA Championship is 282, set in the first round of the 2010 NCAAs at Country Club of Landfall Dye Course in Wilmington, N.C. ... Troy's best individual round at an NCAA Championships is 66, carded by Jennifer Rosales during her title run in 1998.

    USC at the 2011 NCAA Championships
    USC entered the 2011 NCAA Championships ranked first, but not at full strength due to an injury to All-American Lisa McCloskey, which forced her to miss the event. A slow start essentially eliminated USC from the title discussion after two rounds, but the Trojans kept fighting and clawed their way back into a tie for fifth by the competition's end at Texas A&M's Traditions Club. The Troy closed out play at 36-over (302-302-292-294) to finish tied with No. 11 Arkansas (305-296-296-293) to earn a share of fifth. No. 2 UCLA (289-295-294-295) finished at 21-over to finish first. Senior Lizette Salas, playing in her final tournament as a Trojan, tied for 22nd at 7-over 295 (75-73-74-73). She managed two birdies on a final day that featured dazzling approach shots and wedge play, but struggles on the putting green as she finished the round at 1-over. Freshman Sophia Popov (78-76-73-70) finished the tournament with a share of 26th place at 9-over after turning in the Trojans' top final round. Popov rattled off an impressive five birdies in her 2-under round of 70. Fellow freshman Rachel Morris (75-76-75-75) and junior Inah Park (76-78-71-76) finished the championship tied for 45th at 13-over. Sophomore Cyna Rodriguez (76-77-74-76) rounded out the team tied for 55th at 15-over.

    USC Stat Notes
    Sophomore Sophia Popov is USC's active career leader in rounds in the 60s with 11 (including four this year). USC's record is 15 (held by Song). The school record for a season is eight. Senior Lisa McCloskey (who transferred to USC after two seasons at Pepperdine) has eight career rounds in the 60s as a Trojan ... USC players have posted a combined 21 top 10 finishes this season and have had another nine top 20 efforts ... USC's low this year (278) is tied for second-lowest in school history. The record is 275, set last season ... The Trojans have two wins this season, marking the sixth time in the past seven seasons they've won at least that many events in a year, 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.

    USC in 2012
    The Trojans, who are the only team to have finished in the NCAA top 5 in each of the past six years (not to mention in seven of the past nine seasons), return four golfers from the 2011 squad that tied for fifth at the 2011 NCAA Championships and that won four tournaments, including the 2011 Pac-10 Championships and the 2011 NCAA West Regional.

    Leading the mix is McCloskey, a senior, and Popov, a sophomore who was the national and Pac-10 freshman of the year last season. Also back are senior Inah Park and sophomore Rachel Morris (2011 All-NCAA West Region), both of whom registered multiple starts as well. USC bolstered its lineup with freshman Doris Chen, a former U.S. Girls' Junior champion.

    The Trojans are led by 16th-year head coach Andrea Gaston, who was named the National Golf Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 2011 for the second time in here career after leading USC to four wins on the season.

    Lisa McCloskey
    McCloskey, ranked No. 6 in the nation, was named to the 2012 All-Pac-12 first team (her second first team honor in a row) and leads the team in stroke average (72.34) at a clip that would be good for eighth-best all time at USC. She has a team-best eight top 10 finishes this season, highlighted by her first career win as a Trojan at the 2012 NCAA Central Regional. She actually tied for first at 3-under 313 (73-68-72), but as there is no playoff, it counts as a victory. She registered a tie for fifth at 4-over 220 (74-74-72) at the Pac-12 Championships. She led USC in the fall with three top 10 finishes. Ranked No. 13 in the nation, she tied for seventh at the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge at 1-over 217 (74-72-71), tied for eighth at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview at 2-over 218 (73-73-72), tied for 10th at the Stanford Intercollegiate at 2-under 211 (72-67-72), took third at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate at 3-under 213 (71-71-71), was 10th at the PING/ASU Invitational at 3-over 216 (73-74-69) and finished a then-Trojan career best second at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate at 6-under 210 (71-70-69). Her four rounds in the 60s are tied for team high and give her eight for her career as a Trojan.

    Sophia Popov
    Popov, ranked No. 17 in the nation by Golfweek.com, has a pair of top 2 finishes this year, five in the top 8 and six in the top 16. Her four rounds in the 60s are tied for team high and she has 11 for her career, four shy of the school record and one shy of fourth place ... She opened the year with a tie for eighth at the Mason Rudolph at 2-over 218 (72-72-74) but was injured in USC's second event, ending her fall campaign. She regained her form in the spring, taking second at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at 1-over 214 (74-73-67), tying for 16th at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate and winning the rain-shortened Battle at Rancho Bernardo with a 2-under 142 (71-71). At the Pac-12 Championships, she tied for fifth at 4-over 220 (79-69-72). Popov, a 2012 All-Pac-12 second team selection, is third on the team in stroke average (73.46). Her win at Rancho Bernardo was the fourth of her career, one shy of USC's career record (held by Irene Cho).

    Doris Chen
    Chen, ranked No. 13, became USC's fifth conference medalist when she won the 2012 Pac-12 Championship at 1-over 217 (77-72-68 for her first as a Trojan. She followed that with a tie for eighth at the 2012 NCAA Central Regional at 5-over 221 (72-77-72), which marked her fifth top 10 finish and sixth in the top 11. In fact, she has not finished outside the top 28 in any event this season, a big reason she was named to the 2012 All-Pac-12 first team. After tying for 20th at the Stanford Intercollegiate in her only fall action, she tied for 10th at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at 8-over 221 (72-71-78), finished seventh at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate at 1-over 217 (72-71-74), tied for ninth at the Battle at Rancho Bernardo at 3-over 147 (73-74), tied for 11th at the PING/ASU Invitational, tied for 28th at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate before winning the Pac-12 title. She is second on the team with a stroke average of 72.78.

    Inah Park
    Park, ranked No. 66, has five top 20 finishes and six in the top 26 in 10 starts this year and posted a career effort at April's Pacific Coast Intercollegiate. Her tie for third, 54-hole 2-under 214 and final-round 67 were all career bests. She has also tied for 16th at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, tied for 20th at both the Stanford Intercollegiate and the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge, and posted a then-season-best tie for 15th at the Battle at Rancho Bernardo at 5-over 149 (75-74). She earned her first conference recognition this year as an All-Pac-12 honorable mention pick.

    Rachel Morris
    Morris has a pair of top 20 finishes, including a tie for 18 at the 2012 NCAA Central Regional at 10-over 226 (79-77-70). She also tied for 16th at the Stanford Intercollegiate. She tied for 28th at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate and tied for 35th at the Battle at Rancho Bernardo. She fired a season-best 69 at the Stanford Intercollegiate on Oct. 16.

    2011-2012 Event Recaps

    2011 Fall Preview, Sept. 23-25
    In its first event of the season, USC finished eighth in the 2011 Fall Preview at 24-over 888 (292-300-296). Sophia Popov and Lisa McCloskey tied for eighth to lead the Trojans, who finished 15 strokes back of first place. Popov (72-72-74) and McCloskey (73-73-72) each finished at 2-over 212, six shots out of first.

    2011 Stanford Intercollegiate, Oct. 14-16
    Senior Lisa McCloskey tied for 10th, sophomore Rachel Morris fired a 2-under 69 to tie for 16th and freshman Kristen Park, playing individually, tied for fourth as shorthanded USC finished sixth overall at the 2011 Stanford Intercollegiate. USC, competing without sophomore Sophia Popov, who bowed out of the tournament after suffering a wrist injury in the second round, finished at 4-over 852 (284-280-288), 10 strokes behind first-place UCLA (842). Park was USC's top player of the weekend, though her scores didn't count toward the Trojans' totals because she was entered into the event individually. She finished at 6-under 207 (70-79-68), seven back of Washington's SooBin Kim (200). Park's final round saw her birdie four times against one bogey. McCloskey finished at 2-under 211 (72-67-72). Her final round featured a bogey on 9 and 17 pars. Morris' 69 was her best as a Trojan. She was 1-over after 11 holes before three consecutive birdies between 12 and 14.

    2011 SEC/Pac-12 Challenge, Sept. 23-25
    Freshman Kristen Park fired a 4-under 68 while senior Lisa McCloskey was also under par as the duo finished tied for seventh and led the short-handed USC women's golf team to a tie four fourth place at the 2011 SEC/Pac-12 Challenge at the Holston Hills C.C. in Knoxville, Tenn. The Trojans, playing with only four players due to injuries and scheduling conflicts, combined for the low round of the day at 1-under 287 and tied for fourth at 16-over 880 (298-295-287), 15 strokes back of first-place Alabama (865). UCLA was second at 869, Auburn was third (879) and Tennessee tied with USC. Both Park (76-73-68) and McCloskey (74-72-71) finished at 1-over 217 for their seventh-place tie. It was McCloskey's third straight top 10 finish and Park's second in a row.

    2012 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Feb. 13-15
    Sophia Popov fired a season-best 67 and she and the No. 4 USC women's golf team both posted season-best second-place finishes at the 2012 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. The Trojans, the two-time defending champions of the event, tied for low round of the dreary, wet finale at 10-over 294 and finished at 30-over 882 (297-291-284), 12 back of first-place UCLA (870). Pepperdine was third (887) with Arizona State fourth (891). Popov, who finished only one event in the fall after suffering an injury, took second at 1-over 214 (74-73-67), four back of winner Lindy Duncan of Duke (210). Popov tied the low-round of the 54-hole event with her 4-under 67. She posted seven birdies on the day, including a stretch of four in five holes between 5 and 9. Freshman Doris Chen finished a collegiate-best tied for 10th at 8-over 221 (72-71-78). She was even through the front 9 Wednesday but struggled coming home.

    2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, Feb. 26-28
    Senior Lisa McCloskey finished third while freshman Doris Chen took seventh - both season bests -- as the duo led the No. 4 USC women's golf team to its second top 3 finish in a row at the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in New Orleans. The Trojans, who led by four strokes heading into the final round, gave up too much ground on the final day in a tightly packed field and finished at 17-over 881 (293-292-296). Duke came back from four down to win at 13-over 877 (295-294-288) while Colorado moved into second at 16-over 880 (297-293-290). McCloskey turned in her fourth top 10 outing in five events this year by taking third at 3-under 213 (71-71-71). In a steady final round, she birdied 6 and 17 with a bogey on 14 and finished two back of Colorado's Alex Stewart (5-under 211). Chen finished seventh at 1-over 217 (72-71-74). She had two birdies on the day and was 1-over on both the front and back 9. It's her second top 10 finish in a row.

    2012 Battle at Rancho Bernardo, March 19-20
    Sophomore Sophia Popov fired a final-round 71 to secure her first win this season while freshman Doris Chen joined her in the top 10 as the duo led the No. 3 USC women's golf team to its first victory of the season at the San Diego State/Battle at Rancho Bernardo (Calif.). USC finished with a combined 14-over 590 (295-295) during the 54-hole event that was turned into a 36-hole affair after the first round was washed out by rain Sunday. The Trojans opened the final round tied for second, two back of first, but a solid team outing churned out USC's first team win since the 2011 NCAA West Regional. Arizona State took second at 16-over 592 (295-297) with Texas A&M third (596). Popov collected her fourth career win - one off the school record -- and first this season at 2-under 142 (71-71). It's also her third top 10 mark this year and fourth in the top 16. Chen registered her third straight top 10 finish at 3-over 147 (73-74).

    2012 PING/ASU Invitational, March 30-April 1
    Senior Lisa McCloskey fired a 2-under 69 to lead No. 3 USC into the top 5 after the final round of the 2012 PING/ASU Invitational at the ASU Karsten G.C. in Tempe, Ariz. USC combined for a final round 293, tied for third-best of the day, to move into a tie for fifth at 29-over 881 (289-299-293). UCLA finished first at 5-over 857 while host ASU was second at 17-over 869. McCloskey notched her team-best fifth top 10 finish with a final-round 69 to finish at 3-over 216 (73-74-69). Starting on the 10th hole, she opened with a double bogey but got back to par for the front 9 with birdies on 15 and 17, the start of a streak of six birdies over nine holes. Freshman Doris Chen just missed collecting her fourth straight top 10 finish, tying for 11th at 4-over 217 (72-73-72). In a steady final round, she had two bogeys against one birdie.

    2012 Pacific Coast Intercollegiate, April 14-15
    Senior Lisa McCloskey finished a season-best second while senior Inah Park posted a career-best tie for third to lead a hard-charging No. 3 USC women's golf team to second place at the 2nd Annual Pacific Coast Intercollegiate to close the regular season at the Half Moon Bay (Calif.) G.C. The Trojans began the day trailing leader UCLA by 14 strokes, but thanks to a 10-under final round, USC finished only six out. All told, USC wrapped up at 9-under 855 (290-287-278) behind only UCLA's 15-under 849 (280-283-286). Stanford was third (868). McCloskey took second at 6-under 210 (71-70-69), three back of first-place Erynne Lee of UCLA. McCloskey's second place was not only a season-best finish and her best effort as a Trojan in two seasons, but marked her sixth top 10 finish of the year. She had three birdies on the day and completed her second bogey-free round in a row. Going back to the first round, she finished the final 45 holes of the course without a bogey. Park's final round 67 helped her tie for third at 2-under 214 (72-75-67). Her third round, 54-hole total and overall finish were all career-best efforts for the senior. She had six birdies on the day, the only blemish coming on a bogey on 17.

    2012 Pac-12 Championships, April 27-29
    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. 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). 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. Senior Inah Park finished 36th at 12-over 228 (76-74-78) while sophomore Rachel Morris tied for 41st at 15-over 231 (80-76-65).

    2012 NCAA Central Regional, May 10-12
    Senior Lisa McCloskey tied for first while sophomore Sophia Popov and freshman Doris Chen joined her in the top 10 as No. 3 USC completed its wire-to-wire win at the 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championships Central Regional at Ohio State's Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio. With the win, the No. 1-seeded Trojans punched their ticket to the NCAA Championship final for the 15th time in a row, all under 16th-year head coach Andrea Gaston. USC led by one stroke after the first round, by 12 after 36 holes and finished with a 25-stroke victory at 10-over 874 (298-290-286), wrapping up play with a final-round 2-under 286. Joining Troy in the top 8 was second-place Vanderbilt (899), followed by Purdue (902), Tennessee (904), Virginia (905), host Ohio State (908) and Arkansas (913). The Trojans have now won an-NCAA-best eight regional titles, including three in a row and in six of the past seven seasons. The victory was also USC's second this season. McCloskey's tie for first was a Trojan career-best finish at 3-under 213 (73-68-72), bettering her second place at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate in April. She was 3-under during her final round and 6-under for the event before three late bogeys dropped her back to par for the day. The finish was her team-best eighth in the top 10 this year. Popov tied for fourth at 2-over 218 (78-68-72). She opened with a 2-under back 9 before dropping to even after a double on 11. She mixed two more birdies with bogeys to finish the round at par for her fifth top 8 finish this year.