The No. 4 USC women’s golf team started strong but faded on its way to a fourth place finish at the Pac-10 Women’s Golf Championship at the Eugene Country Club, in Eugene, Ore.
The Women of Troy finished one stroke back of eventual winner No. 7 Arizona on the first day of play but dropped to fifth on the second day. After the second round, senior Belen Mozo was disqualified for a rules violation.
“There was a misunderstanding on the first tee as to whether the rule was to play the ball down [playing the ball as it lies] or to life, clean and play [cleaning off the ball and placing it back down before the shot]” said USC coach Andrea Gaston.
Since Mozo played by herself after her playing partner quit because of illness, there was no one to correct her during the round.
“She had to take a two stroke penalty for every time she cleaned it, which would have been ridiculous, or she could take the DQ,” Gaston said.
Her disqualification left the Women of Troy with only four scores left, all of which had to count toward the team’s final tally
Without Mozo’s 75, USC’s lowest round of the day, the team score added in junior Lizette Salas’ 83, putting the Women of Troy into fifth place. In the final round, the Women of Troy had the second lowest team score of the day, boosting the team into a fourth place finish.
USC finished at 27-over-par 891 (284-318-289), 13 strokes behind winner Arizona at 14-over-par 878 (293-297-288).
Had Mozo not been disqualified, the Women of Troy would have finished third, behind Arizona and No. 2 UCLA, and Mozo would have finished tied for 8th since she would have finished at 4-over-par 220 (72-75-73). Instead, the Women of Troy also finished behind host Oregon.
Though Mozo lost her top-10 finish, sophomore Jennifer Song finished tied for third at 3-over-par 219 (70-76-73), five strokes behind eventual individual winner Carlota Ciganda of No. 1 Arizona State. Song’s finish gives her six top-10 finishes out of the seven tournaments she’s played this season.
Freshman Cyna Rodriguez had her best finish at USC in her first postseason event, tying for 10th at 5-over-par 221 (73-80-68). Rodriguez’s final round was not only her best with the Women of Troy, her 68 was the low score for the entire tournament.
Salas rebounded from her 83 in the second round to finish tied for 23rd at 11-over-par 227 (69-83-75). Her second round was her highest of the season by four strokes. Senior Caroline Kim rounded out the team with a tie for 30th at 17-over-par 233 (76-79-78).
The team has two postseason tournaments remaining, beginning with the NCAA Championship Regionals on May 6 to 8. The location will be determined next week when the NCAA releases seeds, which will be distributed among the regions to make them even.
With travel budgets being restricted, USC will likely end up in the West or the Midwest region. Before then, the Women of Troy have work to do.
“We’re an incredibly talented team, and I have no doubt we have the depth and talent to do so much better than we did,” Gaston said. “But we need more confidence.”