While the No. 12 men’s golf team found itself competing under different circumstances this week, Trojan golfers managed to salvage a triumphant finish in their most recent competition.
The invitational was played on the world-famous Cypress Point Club course, and the teams competing participated in a match-play scoring system — not the traditional stroke-play scoring system.
The Trojans dominated No. 29 Georgia Tech — by a score of 19.5 – 4.5 — in the final round of the Cypress Point Classic, held in Pebble Beach on Tuesday to pick up their first team victory of the season.
The two-day tournament included three rounds of golf — 54 holes in total — all of which were scored in different fashion. The first and second rounds were played Monday, and had teams divide their rosters into duets to play Four Ball (best ball) and Foursome (alternate shooting) rounds of golf. The final round, which was played on Tuesday, had golfers compete in singles matches. Teams could score a total of four points on each 18-hole match played throughout the invitational — two points were awarded for winning a match, and an additional point would be awarded to the best scorer from the front-nine, and the back-nine holes, respectively.
In the championship round against the Yellow Jackets, USC excelled in its singles matchups. Five of the six individual golfers for USC on Tuesday won their singles matches against opposing Georgia Tech golfers.
“Match play is a lot different than stroke play … As coaches, we try not to change too much of the way that we are playing normally because of the different format, sometimes you can read too much into it, and suddenly all the experience you have goes away because you are trying to reinvent the wheel,” head coach Chris Zambri said. “By looking at the way the matches went and asking [the golfers] about their scores, it felt like everybody was performing well.”
Redshirt senior Andrew Levitt and freshman Cheng Jin both swept their respective singles matches Tuesday 4-0 as a part of USC’s championship-clinching victory over Georgia Tech.
“To see us take 19.5 of a possible 24-points in [Tuesday’s] match means that we were obviously all playing pretty well as a team,” Levitt said. “We didn’t start the season off so hot, but everyone’s been playing better and better as of late, and it feels great for us to go out there and pick up our first win.”
Juniors Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira played significant roles in USC’s winning performance at Cypress Point. As a tandem, Crocker and Texeira nearly swept Alabama (taking three-and-a-half of a possible four points) in the first round. In the second round against UCLA, Crocker and Texeira swept the Bruins’ opposing tandem, 4-0. As individuals in the final round of play on Tuesday, both Crocker and Texeira came away with victories in their singles matches.
To advance to Tuesday’s final round, USC defeated both Alabama (9.5 – 2.5) and UCLA (6-6, took the tiebreaker) in the first and second rounds, respectively, on Monday.
“We did win, which is great, but to see us do it in stroke-play will really help us see where we are as a team,” Levitt said. “I think that individually, everyone is now starting to really play better.”
The team will return to competition on Nov. 7-9 in Napa for the Gifford Collegiate.