The top-ranked USC women’s golf team took home yet another piece of hardware on Sunday, soundly winning the Stanford Intercollegiate for the second straight year. The event marked the team’s sixth consecutive victory and third straight victory to start the season, both of which extend school records.
It was a historic performance for the Women of Troy, who finished at a remarkable 21-under par over the course of three rounds. This was a record-low performance for the team, as was their second-round score of 272. No. 5 UCLA also put in a strong performance, finishing second at 16-under for the tournament. The Bruins’ second-round total of 268 was remarkable as well, four strokes better than USC. No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Washington and Pepperdine rounded out the top five in an impressive field, each finishing well behind the Los Angeles schools.
Making the win all the more impressive was the fact that USC head coach Andrea Gaston used her third different starting five of the season. Senior Sophia Popov led the way for the Women of Troy, finishing in sole possession of second place with a score of 6-under. Popov seemed destined for her sixth individual victory, starting the tournament off with a 5-under 66 and a 4-under 67. Unfortunately, a final-round mark of 3-over allowed UCLA’s Alison Lee to rally for the individual win. Still, Popov extended her school record for rounds in the 60s to 19 and tied her career-best overall score.
Finishing just behind Popov in a third place tie were sophomore Annie Park and freshman Karen Chung, who both totaled a 5-under. Park combined for a score of 2-over in her first two rounds before a monster round of 7-under 64 on Sunday, a score nearly good enough to set a school record. That mark still belongs to her teammate, sophomore Kyung Kim, who shot a 63 last season. Park managed an eagle on the par-4 9th hole at Stanford Golf Course before carding three birdies on the back nine.
Chung was more consistent, shooting scores of 2-under, 4-under and 1-over on her way to a top-five finish. Chung now has two top-10 results in her first two matches for USC.
Junior Doris Chen fired an impressive 3-under 68 during the Women of Troy’s record-setting second round, ultimately tying for 13th with an even par score. The junior has now finished in the top 15 in all of this season’s events. Kim rounded out the scoring at 3-over, a comparative struggle considering she had yet to fall outside the top two in any event this fall. Kim’s performance in the tournament was still impressive, with her worst daily score being a 2-over on Sunday.
The Women of Troy conclude their fall season in Kailua Kona, Hawaii with the Pac-12 preview, which begins Nov. 4. The team will look to complete an undefeated fall season before its long winter hiatus, a feat that will be difficult to accomplish considering the other schools in the tournament. Including USC, six teams from the Pac-12 are currently ranked in the top 25. The preview will be an exciting test for some of the country’s best players and teams.
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