After a successful season that resulted in a runner-up finish at the NCAA tournament and an individual national championship for junior Doris Chen, the USC women’s golf team picked up several postseason honors over the weekend. For the second time in each of their respective collegiate careers, Chen and sophomore Kyung Kim were named First Team All-Americans by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association.
Chen was named a first teamer as a freshman before picking up second team honors after the Women of Troy’s national championship 2013 season. The Bradenton, Florida native started slowly this spring, but rebounded nicely with a second place tie at the Bruin Wave Invitational in early March. Chen also made a statement at the Pac-12 Championships, leading her team to a second-place tie with a third place finish of her own. After struggling to a 10-over finish at the NCAA West Regional, she bounced back in a big way with a two-stroke victory at the NCAA Championships in Tulsa. With the win, Chen became the Women of Troy’s fifth individual national champion.
Kim is now the fourth USC player to be named a First Team All-American in each of her first two seasons at the school. She got off to a hot start this fall, winning and tying for second place in her first two events. During the spring, the Chandler, Arizona native took home a win at the Bruin Wave Invitational and finished in the top-10 three other times. Kim took fourth at the NCAA regionals and finished at 16th in the national tournament. Her 11 sub-70 rounds this season broke a USC record.
Also recognized were freshman Karen Chung and sophomore Annie Park, who were named Second Team All-Americans. Chung was strong in her debut season with the Women of Troy, tying for third at the Stanford Intercollegiate and earning a victory at the San Diego State University Farms Invitational. The freshman was named to the All-Pac-12 second team as well based on her early-season performance. Park, who won her own NCAA individual title in 2013, did not miss a step in her sophomore campaign, winning the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in the Women of Troy’s first action of the spring. She was also instrumental in the team’s postseason success, tying for second place at the NCAA regionals. The Levittown, New York native led her team with a stroke average of 71.50, good for second in school history. The only better mark came from Park herself during her phenomenal freshman season.
Now-alumna Sophia Popov was named an honorable mention, becoming the second USC women’s golfer to ever earn All-American honors four times. Popov was a first teamer in 2011 and 2013, and adds a second honorable mention to her tally this year. Though she did not win an event in 2014, the German native was remarkably consistent, placing in the top-10 four times. This consistency helped her pick up All-Pac-12 First Team honors as well. After a slow start, Popov was a key part of USC’s valiant comeback effort in this year’s NCAA championships. She leaves USC a national champion and two-time NCAA runner-up.
Veteran head coach Andrea Gaston received postseason honors of her own, notably her second consecutive Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor. Gaston has won the award three times in her storied career, which includes three team national titles and four second-place finishes. She has also coached five NCAA individual national champions. Gaston’s 2014 season at USC included a nearly wire-to-wire No. 1 national ranking and nine victories, a school record.