The No. 2 USC women’s golf team secured a victory at the Bruin Wave Invitational for its second win of the season on Monday and Tuesday. Although the Trojans were without junior Gabirela Ruffels for most of the tournament due to injury, all four remaining Trojans in the tournament placed in the top 11, helping USC edge out UCLA for the win on the final day of play.
Last week, the Trojans won the Rebel Beach Showdown after struggling to find the top podium spot at all their other events and saw four of their six players place in the top five as the team won in dominant fashion. Although the Rebel Beach Showdown did not boast many elite-tier teams, it was just enough for the Trojans to get the ball rolling as they were able to perform at the same level against much better teams this past week, including a number of Pac-12 foes such as UCLA and Oregon.
Junior Amelia Garvey led the way for the Trojans at Bruin Wave with a fifth-place finish as she shot a solid even for the tournament while junior Alyaa Abdulghany also played well, finishing in sixth right behind Garvey.
Remarkably, USC played with only four players for almost the entire tournament. Ruffels, who has been a key player and leader for the Trojans, had to drop out on the first day due to injury, but the rest of the team picked up the slack and made up for the loss to keep the Trojans in contention.
“We obviously missed Gabriela and hope to get her back as soon as possible,” head coach Justin Silverstein said. “I know she’s thrilled that her teammates were able to pick her up and get this done.”
While only Garvey was able to crack the top five, the team as a whole played well and consistently.
“This course is incredibly dicey and it took tons of discipline from Alyaa, Amelia, [senior] Allisen [Corpuz] and [sophomore] Malia [Nam] to finish this off with a win,” Silverstein said.
USC started off the tournament a bit slow as it finished the first day in fifth place out of 12 teams, but 3-under performances from Garvey, Abdulghany and Nam on the second day boosted the team into first place and the Trojans never looked back. In a match where every stroke mattered, the team provided a clutch performance and proved why USC is a top team in the nation.
“I talked to Justin about it and there were two ways we could look at it,” Garvey said. “We could play the victim or step up to the challenge. So I think our mindset was huge. We were ready to take on the challenge and win.”
These two back-to-back wins should also keep USC within the top five for the rest of the year barring unforeseen circumstances. With postseason play approaching, the Trojans appear to be rounding into form as they seek another deep playoff run.
USC has only two more regular-season tournaments before Pac-12 play, where it will look to repeat as conference champions.
The Trojans will get a two-week break before heading back out to play in the Clover Cup in Arizona beginning March 13.