USC Dominates at SDSU Invitational

The USC women’s golf team claimed its third consecutive victory on Tuesday at the San Diego State Farms Invitational in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Junior Sophia Popov led the No. 1 Women of Troy, picking up her first individual title of the season with a solid 1-over 217. Though Popov finished just a stroke ahead of Arizona’s Manon Gidali to claim victory, her team had an easier time, defeating the second-place Wildcats by over 20 strokes.

Pepperdine, Texas and UNLV rounded out the top five, all finishing 29 strokes or more behind USC.

Such a large margin of victory can be attributed to all five of the squad’s golfers finishing in the top 10. Freshman Annie Park finished just two strokes behind Popov, good for third place, while freshman Kyung Kim and sophomore Doris Chen tied for fourth with a 5-over 221. Junior Rachel Morris tied for 10th with an 8-over 224.

The Women of Troy never trailed over the course of the three-day event, and victory seemed to be a sure thing from the beginning.

In Sunday’s opening round, Kim paced the squad with an even par 72, finishing right behind the individual leaders and helping the Trojans to a four-stroke lead.

Popov’s 3-under 69 in Monday’s second round helped extend that lead to 13 strokes and propelled her to the top of the individual leaderboard. Park and Chen each fired 1-under 71s in Tuesday’s final round to lead the team, while Popov held on for victory with a 2-over 74.

After three wins as a freshman and one last season, Popov’s first title of this season gives her five total, matching the USC record.

The Women of Troy also made history as a team, winning a third consecutive tournament for the first time in five years. The last time that occurred, during the 2008 season, the team brought home an NCAA championship.

The Women of Troy will next battle No. 13-ranked Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. at the Ping/ASU Invitational beginning April 12. There, the team will try to close out the regular season with four consecutive victories, another feat previously accomplished only by the 2008 championship squad.