USC places sixth in Stanford Intercollegiate

The USC women’s golf team rode a strong debut from freshman Doris Chen, who notched a score of 4-under 67 in her opening round to help lead the shorthanded Women of Troy to an eventual sixth place finish at the 2011 Stanford Intercollegiate in Palo Alto, Calif.

Participating in its second tournament of the season, USC finished play with an overall score of even 852, ten strokes off the lead. The Women of Troy watched crosstown rival UCLA record its second straight tournament victory, as the Bruins finished first at 10-under 842, followed by Vanderbilt and Washington.

In the final round, Lisa McCloskey recorded a score of 1-over 72 and finished tied for 10th at 2-under 211, the highest standing among the Women of Troy. Rachel Morris recorded yet another strong tournament finish, reaching a tie for 16th at even 213. Chen, who struggled to 4-over 75 on Sunday, nonetheless finished tied for 20th at 1-over 214, a laudable result for her USC debut. Inah Park also shot 1-over 72 on the final round to finish tied with Chen and three others at 1-over.

Washington’s SooBin Kim led all players in scoring, finishing with an impressive 13-under 200. Rounding out the top three were Oregon’s Cassy Isagawa at 9-under 204 and Vanderbilt’s Marina Alex at 6-under 207. Park was USC’s best player and finished 6-under 207, but played individually and thus did not see her scores count toward the team’s total.

On Saturday, there was an overall improvement for the Women of Troy from the first day, but it also came at a high cost. Sophia Popov, the reigning NGCA Freshman of the Year, suffered a wrist injury and bowed out of the tournament, leaving the already undermanned team with a big hole in its lineup.

Despite Popov’s injury and freshman Kristen Park’s scores counting only individually, the Women of Troy rebounded to finish play Saturday tied for fourth. McCloskey channeled five birdies into a final score of 4-under 67, tying teammate Inah Park for ninth place.

Chen, who rode her hot hand to a 4-under standing after 12 holes, struggled to 3-over before finishing strong at 1-over. Inah Park jumped 11 spots to 23rd at even 142, while a strong second round aided Morris to a 26th at 2-over 144.

Chen tallied an impressive four birdies in her first round, and recorded pars on the remaining 14 holes. Seniors Inah Park and Lisa McCloskey both finished tied for 34th at 1-over 72 with four and two birdies, respectively. Sophomores Popov and Rachel Morris tied for 43rd at 2-over 73.

The Women of Troy have a quick turnaround and seek to improve upon their last two tournaments this weekend as they conclude the fall season with the Pac-12/SEC Challenge in Knoxville, Tenn.