At a tough course against top competition, junior Rico Hoey, sophomore Jonah Texeira, senior Andrew Levitt and freshman Justin Suh all finished among the top individual scorers at the 70th Annual Western Intercollegiate to help the Trojans finish second in the three-round competition with a score of 1-over par.
In what was essentially a team-for-team preview of the Pac-12 Championship, the top-ranked Trojans completed their regular season against seven other conference rivals, four of which are ranked in the nation’s top 25. No. 7 Arizona State, No. 25 Washington and No. 15 California struggled to keep up at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz; each team finished above ten strokes over par. Oregon, who currently sits just one spot outside of the top 25, finished in third place with a score of +9. Stanford, the nation’s No. 9-ranked team, ran away from the rest of the competition, winning the tournament by ten strokes with a final score of -9.
USC was fairly consistent from round to round, but saw their stroke total increase slightly each day. This trend was fairly common among the entire field, though some teams slipped more than others. Oregon, for example, had a 4-stroke lead after one round of the competition, only to fall to third place in the standings by the end of the tournament.
Individual golfers’ scores typically trended the same direction; Hoey and Levitt followed each round with either the same or more strokes than they had in the previous one, while sophomore Jonah Texeira posted scores of 72, 67 and 69, consecutively. Hoey, Texeira and Levitt all finished tied for fourth in the tournament. Suh followed closely behind with a final tally of -1, good for a tie for eighth in the tournament.
Sophomore Sean Crocker, projected to be the Trojans’ second-best golfer for the tournament, finished fifth individually on the team but tied for 37th overall with a final score of +8. Ryan Slater, another freshman, finished with a final score of +20.
Maverick McNealy — a Stanford junior — led the Cardinal to the team victory with a tournament-best -16 after shooting impressive rounds of 66, 64 and 64, consecutively. Three other Stanford golfers finished at or below par, while their bottom two finishers were only 9-over.
Tenth-year head coach Chris Zambri and the Trojans have their work cut out for them if they hope to win the conference championship at the end of the month, where the rankings mean about as much as the golfers’ practice swings. Though USC currently holds the top national ranking according to Golfstat, they’ll have to keep pushing to beat Stanford and the rest of their West Coast competition.
With the regular season wrapped up, the Trojans will look now to the Pac-12 Championships, which begin on April 29 in Salt Lake City.