The USC men’s golf team began their spring campaign with a bang at the Amer Ari Invitational in Waikoloa, Hawaii Wednesday.
The Trojans, ranked 24th nationally, led the 20-team field with an incredible 17 under par score of 271, by far the strongest round the Trojans have hit all year.
Six teams at the invitational are ranked higher than USC, five of which are ranked in the top 10 nationally.
USC led by a longshot, seven strokes ahead of both No. 5 ranked Georgia Tech and No. 4 ranked Oklahoma State, who tied for second at a 10 under par score of 278.
UCLA, the top-ranked team in the field (second nationally), sat tied for 10th place with a three under par score of 285.
Even though the course is one the Trojans haven’t seen before, the conditions were fair enough that it gave them a chance to play well.
“It was really nice, with no wind. When it isn’t windy it’s a lot easier to play. When it’s calmer, you can really shoot some good scores,” said sophomore Martin Trainer. “The course is surrounded by lava rocks, which are impossible to play off of, so being able to control the ball is very important.”
The team was led by freshman Jeffrey Kang, who shot for a career-best six under par score of 66 to tie for second place overall.
Kang hit for seven birdies and just one bogey, which makes him the top golfer for the Trojans.
Kang had several strong rounds this fall, but this is his best yet.
Finishing just behind Kang was Trainer.
Trainer hit a five under par score of 67 for a fifth place tie. Trainer had four birdies, one bogey and the team’s only eagle.
“I played really well,” Trainer said. “I’m really happy.”
Freshman Ramsey Sahyoun is off to an uncharacteristically strong start with a four under par score of 68 settling him in ninth place, just a few shots off from second place.
Sahyoun had a solid round that included five birdies and a bogey.
Although Sahyoun had his share of both good rounds during the fall campaign, this is his strongest showing so far in his career.
Junior Steve Lim was next, with a strong two under par score of 70 that landed him in a massive 11-way tie for 21st place.
Lim was incredibly consistent, hitting par on every hole until finally shooting two birdies at the end of his round.
Rounding out the Trojan squad is sophomore T.J. Vogel, who hit for an even par of 72 with two birdies and a double bogey.
“Overall it was a great team effort — we made a lot of birdies. Hopefully we can repeat tomorrow,” Trainer said. “The freshman are really coming around. This performance reinforces our thoughts about how good this team really is.”
The action continues today.