USC stumbles late again in weekend tournament
The No. 14 USC menâs golf team slogged through another poor final round Monday at the Ping/Golfweek Invitational and finished the tournament in seventh place at 33-over 897.
The Trojans entered the final day of play tied for third but struggled down the stretch. USC shot 16-over 592 for the first two rounds.
âItâs unfortunate that we finished the way we did but we have a young team. Weâre playing against strong fields on great, tough golf courses and I donât think weâre very far off,â coach Chris Zambri said.
No. 3 Oklahoma State, coming off of a second place finish at the Olympia Fields Invitational, blew away the field Monday en route to a commanding victory. The Cowboys shot 2-under 862 for the weekend and swept the top three individual finishes. Sophomore Peter Uihlein took the victory for Oklahoma State, followed by teammates Morgan Hoffmann and Trent Whitekiller.
Zambri said that kind of gap between the victors and the rest of the field is rare, although it can happen with a team as talented as the Cowboys.
âThis is my fourth year and weâve probably had three events where [there] was a margin of victory greater than 20 strokes,â he said. âItâs possible, especially when you get on the tougher courses. [Oklahoma State] is going to have even more separation when the course gets tough.â
Compounding the frustration for the Trojans was their inability to keep pace with the other Pac-10 schools in the tournament. USC was sandwiched between Washington and Arizona State on the leaderboard entering the final round but faltered late for the second consecutive weekend.
âIf we can go out and shoot 1-under in a given round, thereâs no reason why we should shoot 18- and 16-over in two other rounds,â Zambri said. âIâm really disappointed that we lost ground to them and three other teams. We go from tied for third to seventh. Itâs unacceptable.â
The Huskies finished second at 20-over 884 while Arizona State finished third at 25-over 889.
Freshman Martin Trainer led the way for USC, tying for 12th place. Playing in only his second collegiate tournament, Trainer shot a 6-over 222 for his second straight top-20 finish.
âFor a freshman to come in and play as well as he has on the golf courses that weâve played on is really impressive,â Zambri said. âIt says a lot about his game and weâre really excited about what we have in him.â
Junior Matthew Giles had a tournament â and final round â to forget. The returning All-American plummeted down the leaderboard Monday after bogeying eight of the first 12 holes. He ended the day 10 strokes over par and finished the tournament tied for 36th at 12-over 228.
âHe got off to a tough start and maybe let that affect his play after that,â Zambri said.
Freshman T.J. Vogel finished tied for 27th at 9-over 225 and sophomore Steve Lim tied for 32nd at 11-over 227. Freshman Sam Smith, who shot 14-over 230, brought up the rear for the Trojans with a 43rd place finish.
Despite some early season inconsistency, Zambri is confident the team will continue to improve as it gains experience.
âSometimes perspective [can get] fuzzy, but when itâs all said and done weâre young, weâre going to get better, and we still havenât played our best,â he said.
USC has two weekends off before it plays at The Prestige tournament in La Quinta, Calif. First-round action will start Oct. 12.