The Pac-12 Championships kicked off on Monday for the USC men’s golf team at Pullman, Washington’s Palouse Ridge Golf Course. After a strong regular season, including first-place finishes at the Bill Cullum Invitational and the Jones Invitational, the Trojans faced off against their conference rivals and surprised many with their impressive showing.
The Pac-12 conference is among the most competitive in NCAA Division I golf. Seven of the programs are ranked within the top 25 in the nation (USC was ranked at No. 13 in the most recent poll), with Arizona State and Oregon ranked the highest at No. 4 and No. 11, respectively. Despite being ranked lower than three of their opponents, the Trojans found themselves leading the field after a round and a half of play. The team recorded a score of 355, good for five-over and second place, through the first 18, but the players truly found their zone during their second go-round of the day.
Senior Eric Sugimoto and freshman Sean Crocker both fired superb 32s through the back nine to start their second round, and the duo’s -3 scores led the team, which recorded a conference-best 8-under through the first nine holes of the second round. Freshman Jonah Texeira and junior Bobby Gojuangco also contributed, both hitting one-under to get USC to -8.
Through 27 holes of play in the Pac-12 Championships, the Trojans were atop the leaderboard after leapfrogging Arizona State who fell behind midway through the second round with a two-under score which was good for only +2 overall and left them five strokes behind USC. The next closest opponent was California, who sat in third, nine strokes off the pace.
The Pac-12 Championships continue today and will go through Wednesday. Tomorrow’s final round will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network.