Feb. 6, 2015
The No. 6 USC women's golf team, which posted a pair of wins during its four-event fall slate, begins the spring march toward May's NCAA Championships at the annual Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Sunday through Tuesday (Feb. 8-10), at the Palos Verdes (Calif.) G.C.
The event, which USC won last year and in three of the past five seasons, includes host Ohio State, USC, UCLA, UNLV, Washington and Pepperdine from the west. Alabama, Arizona State, Arizona, Baylor and Oklahoma State are representing the central region while the 16-team field includes five teams from the east consisting of Duke, Florida, Michigan State, North Carolina and Wake Forest.
Results for the 54-hole event on the 6,017-yard, par 71 course will be available at Golfstat.com. USC will begin play on Sunday at 9:12 a.m. along with Duke, Arizona and Baylor.
The Trojans won the event last year at a combined 14-over 866 while junior Annie Park ran away with the individual title at 6-under 207. Park's total was USC's best ever effort at the event and one off the event record.
USC, which won the Windy City Collegiate and shared first-place honors at the Stanford Intercollegiate during the fall season, had nine wins last year, including a national best 10th NCAA regional crown, the total two better than the school-record seven it won in 2013. The Trojans finished no lower than a tie for second place in the four events it didn't win.
That included a two-stroke loss to Duke at the 2014 NCAA Championships, where USC just missed its second straight national title and the fourth in program history. In addition to national championships in 2003, 2008 and 2013, Gaston's USC teams have finished second at the NCAAs four times, including three times in the last five seasons (2010, 2012, 2014) by a combined deficit of four strokes.
USC's 286.26 stroke average per round this year was the best in school history, breaking the record set last year (288.76) by 2.5 strokes. The Trojans also set a record for team rounds of par or better with 21, seven more than last year, the previous best.
In addition to the five returning starters, USC welcomes back juniors Victoria Morgan and Kim Santiago, both walk-ons. USC's two fall newcomers are junior transfers Elizabeth Doty (Wake Forest) and So Young Hwang (Daytona State). The Trojans have also added freshman enrollee Amy Lee, a prep star from Brea, Calif.
* Junior Annie Park qualified for the final stage of the LPGA "Q" School, but did not finish high enough to earn a card. Park tied for third at the Stage II event at 6-under 282 (70-71-71-70).
* Park's win at the Windy City Collegiate Classic was the sixth of her Trojan career, breaking the USC career record she previously shared with former teammate Sophia Popov, Irene Cho and Mikaela Parmlid.
* Park is second on USC's career list for rounds in the 60s with 19 while fellow junior Kyung Kim is third with 18. Park started the season with 15, Kim at 17. Popov owns the record at 22.
* The Trojans have put together an amazing amount of wins over the past two-plus seasons. USC has finished first in 14 of its past 20 outings, 17 of 24 and 18 of 26 dating back to the fall of 2012.
* A USC golfer has also finished first 12 times in the Trojans' past 26 events, dating back to the fall of 2012.
* USC has featured the most golfers on the LPGA Tour for the past two seasons and 2015 graduate Sophia Popov is ready to help make it three in a row. The 2014 graduate and four-time All-American who helped USC to a 2013 NCAA title and second-place finishes in 2012 and 2014, earned full-time LPGA Tour status after tying for 11th during the five-round LPGA Qualifying School final stage at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., in December. Popov finished at 5-under 355 (70-67-72-71-75) to earn her tour card on the first try. She will join on tour, among others, former teammate Lizette Salas, who finished the 2014 season 24th on the LPGA's official money list, as well as top 70 finishers and former Trojan All-Americans Belen Mozo, Dewi Schreefel, Candie Kung, Jennifer Song and Jennifer Song.
2014-15 Event Recaps
Senior Doris Chen and sophomore Karen Chung tied for 11th, topping the USC women's golf team's season-opening efforts as the Trojans finished sixth at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate at the Reunion Watson Course in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 30. The Trojans, playing without All-American juniors Annie Park and Kyung Kim, finished a combined 5-over 869 (287-291-291), 15 back of winner South Carolina (854). Arizona took second (861). Chen (70-72-73) and Chung (72-72-71), also 2014 All-Americans, each finished at 1-under 215. Chen was 3-over through 16 before finishing with two birdies. Chung was 1-over going out but 2-under coming back. Sophomore transfer Elizabeth Doty tied for 25th at 3-over 219 (72-74-73) and had four birdies against five bogeys in the final round.
Windy City Collegiate Championship
Junior Annie Park missed USC's season-opener but arrived just in time for its second Fall event and proved vital, winning the Windy City Collegiate Championship at 5-under while spearheading a three-stroke team victory as the Trojans defended their 2013 title on Oct. 7 at the Westmoreland (Ill.) C.C. The Trojans began the day six ahead of host Northwestern, stretched the lead to as many as nine before seeing it all evaporate on the back 9. But a Park eagle on 11 and a birdie on 13 helped rebuild the advantage and proved the difference as USC won at 12-over 876 (294-287-295), three ahead of the Wildcats' 879. Park's win was the sixth of her Trojan career, breaking the tie with former teammate Sophia Popov, Irene Cho and Mikaela Parmlid. She finished at 5-under 211 (73-69-69), her final two rounds giving her 17 rounds in the 60s for her career, tied with junior teammate Kyung Kim for second place in program history. Park posted her victory days after flying to Illinois from Florida, where she successfully advanced into the final stage of the LPGA's "Q" School. While Park hung on for the win with a 3-under back 9 and a finish of five straight pars, senior Doris Chen turned in her second straight strong outing and tied for fourth at even 216 (71-73-72). She was battling Park for the individual lead through the front 9 before Park's back 9 eagle and her two late bogeys that dropped her to par for the day and the tournament. Chen, who tied for 11th with sophomore Karen Chung last week in the season opening ANNIKA Intercollegiate, has not finished lower than 22nd for seven straight events dating back to last year (including the 2014 NCAA title), and has six top 11 finishes within the streak.
Juniors Kyung Kim (67) and Annie Park (68), senior Doris Chen (69) and sophomore Karen Chung (70) all carded under-par final rounds as the USC women's golf team came from behind to earn a share of the title at the Stanford Intercollegiate at the Stanford (Calif.) G.C. on Oct. 19. The Trojans, the two-time defending champions of the event, began the day three back of UCLA, but used a 10-under 274 final round to finish at 15-under 837 (284-279-274), tied with host Stanford for first. UCLA finished a stroke back at 838. The next closest team was Washington (1-under 851). USC was coming off a win in its previous event at the Windy City Collegiate Classic. Chen, the 2014 NCAA individual champion, finished second at 6-under 207 (73-65-69) for her second straight top 4 finish while Kim, making her season debut, took seventh at 4-under 209 (79-72-67). Chung was 12th at 2-under 211 (72-69-70) for her third straight top 20, Park was 16th at 1-under 212 (71-73-68) that followed a win in her last event and sophomore Gabriella Then was 40th at 4-over 217 (71-75-71).
Kim had a five-birdie day to complete her first event and was 3-under on the back 9. Park had two birdies and an eagle on the par 5 seventh hole en route to her third round in the 60s this year while Chen had five birdies against three bogeys.
Sophomore Gabriella Then led No. 3 USC with a final-round 72 as the Trojans completed the fall season with a tie for fifth at the Nanea Pac-12 Preview on Nov. 4 at the Nanea G.C. in Kailua, Hawaii.
The Trojans, who came into the event with two straight first-place finishes but without senior All-American Doris Chen, tied for fifth at 16-over 892 (294-303-295). Washington won the event at 11-under 865.
Junior Kyung Kim led USC with a tie for 14th at 3-over 222 (74-75-73) while junior Annie Park tied for 17th at 4-over 223 (69-77-77). Then turned in a season-best tie for 21st at 6-over 225 (77-76-72) while sophomore Karen Chung tied for 31st at 11-over 230 (74-83-83). Sophomore Elizabeth Doty tied for 41st at 14-over 233 (78-75-80).