Women’s golf ties for third after strong finish

The No. 1 Women’s golf team rode an excellent final round to a tie for third place at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn.

The team fired a 10-under-par 278 in the final round to finish at 13-under 851 (286-287- 278) at the Legends Golf Club. That final round was tied with No. 16 LSU’s first round for the lowest in the tournament, and it brought the team up from its eighth place position to start the

“We didn’t have a fast start, but the team stayed focused,” USC coach Andrea Gaston said. “It was great to see the girls rally.”

The round — 10-under par — is the best in Gaston’s USC career, tied with last season’s first round at the Mason Rudolph. USC’s history of success here is promising because the Legends Golf Club will host the 2012 NCAA championship.

The Women of Troy were led by junior transfer Lisa McCloskey, who finished in a tie for fourth at 5-under-par 209 (70-72-67). Her final round was the team’s lowest of the tournament, featuring only one bogey amid six birdies. McCloskey, a two-time All-American at Pepperdine, now has two straight fourth place finishes in her first two tournaments for the Women of Troy.

Senior Lizette Salas bounced back from a rough first round to finish tied for 21st at 2- under-par 214 (76-68-70). Two bogeys in her last four holes undid a good first nine for her final round, but she birdied 18 to get back to 2-under on the day. Salas, going for a program record fourth All-American award this season, has never finished lower than 25th in her four appearances at the Mason Rudolph.

Junior Inah Park finished her season debut tied for 23rd at 1-under-par 215 (71-75-69). Park closed strong in the final round, birdying 17 and 18 after as part of a 3-under round.

Sophomore Cyna Rodriguez finished tied for 26th at even-par 216 (72-72-72) in a remarkably consistent tournament. Three bogeys on the front nine were balanced by three birdies on the back nine in her final round.

Rounding out the team’s roster was freshman Rachel Morris, who tied for 78th at 14-over-par 230 (73-76-81). Morris couldn’t overcome two double bogeys during her final round that is her worst in two tournaments for USC.

Gaston said she was proud of her team for rallying despite the 13-stroke deficit it faced after the second round.

“They were locked in and focused on each and every shot,” Gaston said.

The Women of Troy put on a show for the final nine holes, where the top four members of the team combined to go 10-under on the back nine to close the tournament.

“They played lights out,” Gaston said.

The Women of Troy now have eight days before going back on the road and heading to the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational at the Tacoma Country Club in Tacoma, Wash from Oct. 4-6.