Sophomore Jennifer Song finished second in her final regular season collegiate tournament as the No. 4 USC women’s golf team took third place at the PING/ASU Invitational.
The No. 2 golfer in the country led the tournament with two holes to play, but eventual winner Stephanie Kono of UCLA birdied the final two holes, while Song made two pars.
Song finished at 8-under-par 208 (69-70-69).
“I had some solid rounds, but I could’ve had about another 10 birdies,” Song said. “I didn’t make all the putts that were crucial.”
Song’s second-place finish is her fourth top-two finish this season, including two victories from the fall season. Her two rounds in the 60s gave her 14 for her USC career, surpassing teammate Belen Mozo for the career record by one.
Junior Lizette Salas continued her recent hot streak with a tie for sixth place at 5-under-par 211 (69-72-70). That finish gives Salas four top-six finishes in her last five tournaments as she prepares for postseason play. The No. 12 golfer in the country will be a crucial part of USC’s postseason run, as she is one of three players remaining from the 2008 national championship team.
Also remaining are Mozo and senior Stephanie Endstrasser. Like Salas, they know what it takes to win a national championship, and like Song and Salas, they are All-Americans. Mozo, looking for her fourth All-American award to cap her senior season, tied for 51st at 9-over-par 225 (70-80-75). Endstrasser finished tied for 46th at 8-over-par 224 (73-76-75) and helped the team’s final round rally with two birdies on the final two holes.
Besting her two senior All-American teammates was freshman Cyna Rodriguez at 5-over-par 221, good for a 37th place finish. Rodriguez, a highly touted amateur, has played herself into a postseason spot for the present, according to USC coach Andrea Gaston. Song, Salas and Mozo are all set to compete this weekend, while the fifth and final spot is up for grabs. Endstrasser, senior Caroline Kim and sophomore Inah Park are in contention for the final spot.
The team finished at 6-under-par 858 in third place. The Women of Troy had been in second place after the first and second rounds, only to have No. 2 UCLA and No. 1 Arizona State overtake them in the final round. USC finished one stroke back of the Sun Devils and two strokes back of the Bruins.
USC will get another shot at ASU and UCLA next weekend in Eugene, Ore., to compete in the Pac-10 championships from April 19 to 21. Before that, the Women of Troy have five more days to fix any potential problems with their seven golfers.
“[We could] put in any five players and have a pretty solid lineup,” Gaston said. “But we stay in the present so that [we] don’t allow ourselves to get ahead and think about the outcome.”