The USC women’s golf team notched another victory on Tuesday, overcoming an eight-stroke deficit in the final round of the Bruin Wave Invitational. Freshman Annie Park was also a winner, finishing 1-under for the tournament and claiming her first collegiate individual title.
The win is the squad’s second in a row after last week’s Sugar Bowl Invitational in New Orleans, and its third of the season. USC head coach Andrea Gaston was thrilled with the team’s effort.
“It’s exciting to come back and win the tournament,” Gaston said. “Especially against the Bruins.”
As usual, the road to victory was not easy. Archrival and host UCLA had marched ahead of the No. 1 Trojans during the second of Monday’s two rounds, capitalizing on a poor 13-over 301 performance from their top-ranked crosstown foe. Fortunately, the Trojans had jumped to an early lead in the first of the day’s rounds, helped by the excellent efforts of eventual individual tournament champion Park. Her 4-under 68 on the first 18 kept the possibility of a comeback win in the cards. The freshman posted an even-par effort over the first 36 holes, making her one of only two players at the El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., to manage such a feat.
“El Caballero is an extremely challenging course, and required a lot of patience,” Gaston said. “Sometimes a bogey is a good score.”
It was on day two that Park and her team made their move, getting consistent, steady efforts from multiple golfers during the final round. Park’s 1-under set the tone, while freshman Kyung Kim, junior Sophia Popov and sophomore Doris Chen turned in solid scores just above par.
Kim finished her 72 holes in seventh place at 7-over, while Popov and Chen tied for 10th just one stroke behind. Park’s collective 1-under gave her a four-stroke win over Pepperdine’s Marissa Chow, while day one leader Lee Lopez of UCLA faded in the final round with a 7-over 79.
The Trojans now receive a much needed break and will not return to action until the end of the month at the San Diego State Farms Invitational in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
“This is another great win for our team,” Gaston said. “Now we have about three weeks to go back to work and prepare for our next tournament.”