Women's Golf
    USC At SEC/Pac-12 Challenge To Wrap Fall Slate

    Freshman Kristen Park led USC finishers last week at Stanford.

    Oct. 20, 2011

    The USC womens' golf team, featuring returning All-Americans Lisa McCloskey and Sophia Popov and ranked No. 8 by Golfweek.com, completes the 2011-2012 fall schedule with the 2011 SEC/Pac-12 Challenge, Friday through Sunday (Oct. 21-23), at the Holston Hills C.C. in Knoxville, Tenn.

    The Trojans, however, will be without Popov this weekend due to a wrist injury suffered last week, and, because of scheduling conflicts with other players, will play with only four players. Typically, teams play with five players because scoring allows teams to drop their lowest individual score per round. Playing this week are McCloskey, senior Inah Park, sophomore Rachel Morris and freshman Kristen Park.

    The last time USC began a tournament with only four players was the 2002 NCAA Regional. That year, despite the handicap, USC still finished in the top eight and advanced to the NCAA Championships.

    Action begins Friday on the par 72, 6,4470-yard course at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday with a shotgun start. In addition to USC and host-Tennessee, the field includes Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, California, UCLA, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Oregon, Oregon State, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Washington and Washington State.

    Live results are available at Golfstat.com.

    The Trojans, who have finished in the NCAA top 5 six years in a row and in seven of the past nine seasons, return five 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 junior Cyna Rodriguez (2010-11 All-Pac-10 honorable mention), a regular starter last year, as well as 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 freshmen Kristen Park, the nation's top women's recruit, and Doris Chen, another 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.

    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.