No. 1 USC Looking For Seventh Straight Win Next Week In Hawaii
Trojans to feature last year's NCAA-winning starting five for first time this season.
Oct. 31, 2013
The top-ranked USC women's golf team, the defending NCAA champion which is riding a school-record six-event win streak, looks for lucky No. 7 next week at the inaugural Pac-12 Preview at the prestigious Nanea G.C. in Kona, Hawaii, Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 4-5).
The 54-hole event is the first non-member tournament ever to be held at par-73, 6,112-yard Nanea G.C. in the 10-year history of the course. The golfers will play 36 holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday, beginning at 7:30 a.m. HT both days.
There is no live scoring available but results after both days will be available at Golfstat.com.
USC, which has won its first three events of the season for the first time in school history, will go up against the stacked Pac-12 field (every team but Oregon, which does not field a women's golf team) as well as Hawaii. In addition to No. 1 USC, UCLA is ranked No. 2 in the latest Golf World poll while Arizona State is No. 7, Arizona is No. 9, Stanford is No. 10 and Washington is No. 11.
The Trojans will be featuring their fourth different starting lineup in as many outings and will be using the same fivesome that won the 2013 national title for the first time this year.
Troy, under the guidance of three-time national coach of the year Andrea Gaston, returns all five players from last year's team that won the NCAA team title by a record 21 strokes, four of them All-Americans. Gaston has also added a pair of top prep golfers that makes USC arguably the most talented team, from top to bottom, in the nation.
USC's complete returning starting lineup features seniors Sophia Popov and Rachel Morris, junior Doris Chen and sophomores Annie Park and Kyung Kim. Park, Popov and Kim were WGCA All-American first teamers last year while Chen was second team. Morris earned All-Pac-12 honors.
Added to the group are talented freshman Gabriella Then
and Karen Chung
, both of whom come to USC with distinguished junior careers.
The Trojans finished the 2013 season by winning all three postseason events, sweeping the Pac-12, NCAA West Regional and NCAA Championships.
USC's current six-event win streak eclipsed the four consecutive wins it had to close the 2008 NCAA season. The Trojans have also won 10 of their last 11 events dating back to last season.
* USC set team records for lowest 18, 36 and 54 holes in its win at the 2013 Stanford Intercollegiate. Troy's second-round of 272 broke the school record of 275 set at the 2010 Idean Ihlanfeldt Invitational. The first and second rounds (276-272=548) was a 36-hole record while the 54-hole total (831) also set a new school standard.
* Sophomore Kyung Kim, who led USC with six rounds in the 60s last year, became the first Trojan since Dewi Claire Schreefel in the fall of 2007 to go under 70 in all three rounds of an event by taking first at the 2013 Fall Preview at 6-under 204 (69-69-66). Her three-round total is tied for the second lowest in school history, joining Schreefel's 204 at the aforementioned 2007 event (also a Fall Preview).
* Kim extended her streak of rounds in the 60s to five in a row with a 69 and a 68 at the Windy Collegiate Championship (a USC record to start the season as well as at any point during the season).
* Kim led USC with six rounds in the 60s last year and just one off it this year after two events.
* Kim was named Pac-12 Women's Golfer of the Month for September for her efforts in the season's first two events.
* USC has won its first two and first three events this year for the first time in program history.
* USC's final round of its first event this year and its first round of the third event (276) are tied for third lowest in school history.
* Sophia Popov is USC's career leader in rounds in the 60s with 19 (including three season).
* Popov's 207 (66-67-74) that left her second at the Stanford Intercollegiate tied her for seventh-best in school history while her opening round tied a collegiate best.
* Annie Park's final-round 64 at the Stanford Intercollegiate is tied for USC's second-lowest round ever.
* USC boasts an NCAA-best 11 players on the LPGA Tour, including rising star Lizette Salas, the 2013 Solheim Cup team member who is currently No. 15 on the 2013 money list. Other former Trojans in the top 125 of this year's money list include , Irene Cho (52), Candie Kung (55), Nicole Castrale (58), Dewi Claire Schreefel (66), Jennifer Rosales (68), Lisa McCloskey (78), Belen Mozo (80), Paola Moreno (81), Jennifer Song (108) and Veronica Felibert (117).
2013-14 Event Recaps
Dale McNamara Fall Preview
Sophomore Kyung Kim won her second career individual title with three straight rounds in the 60s while senior Sophia Popov joined her under par in the final round to lead the No. 1 and defending NCAA champion USC women's golf team to a come-from-behind victory at the 2013 Fall Preview to open the 2013-14 season. The Trojans, who finished the 2012-13 season by winning their final three events (all in the postseason), extended their victory streak to four with a combined 8-over 848 (288-284-276) thanks in part to a 4-under final round that helped them erase a three-stroke second-round deficit. USC also won four events in a row to close out the 2008 season, which culminated with Troy's second NCAA team title. The win is also USC's seventh in its last eight starts dating back to last year. Oklahoma took second at 12-over 852 with Oklahoma State third (855) and Alabama and Duke tied for fourth (856). Kim, who led USC with six rounds in the 60s last year, became the first Trojan since Dewi Claire Schreefel in the fall of 2007 to go under 70 in all three rounds of an event, taking first at 6-under 204 (69-69-66). Her three-round total is tied for the second lowest in school history, joining Schreefel's 204 at the aforementioned 2007 event (also a Fall Preview). Kim, who won last year at the Stanford Intercollegiate, was 1-over through seven holes in her final round before a birdie on 8 gave her a par front 9. She then birdied four holes on the back 9 without a bogey to get to 4-under for the day, tying her second-best round as a Trojan.
Windy City Collegiate Championship
The No. 1 USC women's golf team overcame strong winds and a scorecard DQ to not only win its school-record fifth consecutive tournament but open a season with two straight wins for the first time as it captured the 2013 Windy City Collegiate Championship at the Northmoor C.C. in Highland Park, Ill. The Trojans' five-event win streak that includes the 2013 national championship snaps the previous record of four that closed the 2008 season with an NCAA title. USC has also won eight of its past nine events. USC, led by sophomore Kyung Kim's 3-under 210 (69-68-73) which was good for a tie for second, finished at 1-over 853 (284-278-291), two better than Oklahoma (855) and four better than both Arizona and Stanford (857).
The Trojans had built a 10-stroke lead midway through the final round and still led by eight as play finished. But sophomore Annie Park mistakenly signed for an incorrect card, disqualifying her 1-under round and forcing the Trojans to use their low round, which was a 5-over. Fortunately for the Trojans, Kim birdied two of her final three holes while junior Doris Chen and freshman Gabriella Then - whose 5-over was included in USC's final tally - both birded 18 to provide the necessary padding for the win.
The No. 1 USC women's golf team extended school records for most consecutive wins (six) and victories to start a season (three) as the defending NCAA champion dominated a strong field with three finishers in the top 5 to defend its title at the 2013 Stanford Intercollegiate at the Stanford (Calif.) G.C. The Trojans, led by senior Sophia Popov's 6-under 207 (66-67-74), also set school records for lowest 18-, 36- and 54-hole totals along the way, finishing today at 21-under 831 (276-272-283). USC's second round was a school-record, as was the total from the first two rounds (548) and the final tally of 831. USC held off a strong effort from rival and second-ranked UCLA, which finished second at 16-under 836 (288-268-280). The Bruins' second-round was four better than Troy's school-record setting 272 on Saturday. Washington was third at 1-under 851 while host Stanford was 3-over 855. USC, featuring its third different starting five in as many events, has now won 10 of its past 11 starts. Popov, seeking her school record sixth individual title, fell a stroke short of first but tied her collegiate best at 207, tied for seventh-best in school history. Her two opening rounds extended her Trojan career record of rounds in the 60s to 19. Sophomore Annie Park (74-70-64) and freshman Karen Chung (69-67-72) tied for third at 5-under 207. Park's final round was one off the school record, set by Kyung Kim (63) last season. Park's collegiate best featured a 4-under front nine with two birdies and an eagle on the par 4 9th hole and three more birdies on the back 9 without a bogey on the day. Chung, with three rounds in the 60s in her first two events, was 2-over on her front nine but came home at 1-under. Her tie for third complemented her tie for sixth in her debut in USC's previous event. Junior Doris Chen tied for 13th at even 213 (70-68-75) while Kim, who posted a pair of top 2 finishes to open the season, tied for 23rd at 3-over 216 (71-72-73). It was Chen's second straight top 13 finish as well.
Notes on this year's team and last year's remarkable season
Annie Park was the 2013 WGCA National and Freshman Player of the Year, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and won the Honda Sports Award for Women's Golf. She won four individual titles, including postseason wins at the NCAA, NCAA Regional and Pac-12 Championships. She was just the second NCAA woman to sweep conference, regional and NCAA titles in the same season.
Senior Sophia Popov earned WGCA All-American and Pac-12 first team honors last year. A three-time All-American, she won her school-record-tying fifth tournament as a junior, one of seven top 10 finishes, which included six of her final seven starts.
Junior Doris Chen was a WGCA All-American second teamer last year with four top 10 finishes. This summer, she was a finalist at the U.S. Public Links, a semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur and made the cut at the U.S. Open.
Sophomore Kyung Kim earned WGCA All-American first team honors as a freshman. She had one win among her six top 10 finishes and led the team with six rounds in the 60s, including a school-record 63.
Senior Rachel Morris earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors after her best season as a Trojan, which included seven top 22 finishes in her final eight events, including a stretch of three top 10s in a row. One of two Trojans to play every round last season, she also earned Pac-12 All-Academic first team notice.
Sophomore Kim Santiago played in seven events as a freshman, three as a starter, and was part of USC's win at the Stanford Intercollegiate. Sophomore Victoria Morgan joined the team midway through the season last year and provided solid depth in the lineup. Sophomore Ellie Chai, who only recently overcame a long-time shoulder injury, played twice as a freshman last season.
Freshman Gabriella Then enters USC fresh off winning the prestigious U.S. Girls' Junior title in July and also played in the U.S. Open. She and fellow top recruit Karen Chung, a Public Links quarterfinalist this year who has represented the U.S. at the Jr. Ryder Cup, will help give USC as tough a lineup as any in the nation.
Andrea Gaston earned her third WGCA National Coach of the Year honor and her second Pac-12 Coach of the Year award. She led USC to a school-record seven wins this year, including collecting USC's fourth conference title, its NCAA record ninth regional title and the program's third NCAA title.
Golf Digest recently published its annual "50 Top Players To Watch" and it featured Park at No. 2, Popov at No. 3, Kim at No. 9 and Chen and Then among the field of No. 11-50.
The Trojans finished the NCAA Championships last year at 19-under 1133 (284-276-285-288), shattering the previous NCAA Championship record for most strokes under par, which was previously four (UCLA, 2004).
With last year's NCAA title, USC extended its NCAA leading streak of top 5 NCAA finishes to 8 and has 14 top 5 finishes overall, tied for second most with UCLA. Arizona State has the most at 16. USC is now one of only five schools with at least three NCAA team titles. Arizona State has seven, Duke has five while USC joins San Jose State and UCLA at three.
The NCAA title extended USC's season-win record to seven and followed victories in the 2013 NCAA West Regional and the 2013 Pac-12 Championships. The NCAA crown complements Trojan national titles in 2003 (by 15 strokes) and 2008 (by six strokes) and is USC's sixth win in the past seven events this year.
With Annie Park's NCAA title last year, USC now has four NCAA individual titles, tied for second most with Arizona. Arizona State has five. Annie Park's win also marked USC's 10th top 5 NCAA finish.
USC's second-round 276 set the NCAA Championship record for low round and was the second-best round in school history.