The No. 6 USC women’s golf team will utilize its third straight different lineup this weekend at the University of North Carolina Women’s Fall Preview.
The three-day event, which will take place at the Country Club of Landfall’s Pete Dye Course this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Wilmington, N.C., features the season debut of returning senior All-American Stephanie Endstrasser for the Women of Troy.
Endstrasser, a native of Austria, transferred to USC from Purdue for the spring semester of her sophomore year and instantly became a fixture in the lineup. She placed in the top 16 in five of her seven tournaments, peaking with a third place finish at the 2008 NCAA Championships West Regional, and was named a Second-Team All-American.
Her junior year, however, was plagued by inconsistency, with a third place finish at the 2008 Mason Rudolph Championship being her only finish in the top 30. She only made the roster for six of the team’s 12 tournaments, and did not play in the conference, regional or national championships, having been beaten out of a spot by then-freshman Inah Park and then-junior Caroline Kim.
Endstrasser looks to bounce back and become a consistent part of the lineup again.
“This is my first time traveling with the team in a long time, and I decided to keep my expectations low,” she said.
Endstrasser spent the offseason at home attending summer school while playing golf every day, but only played in two tournaments. This tournament is her first competitive event in months.
“I just want to go out there and have fun,” she said. “I hope I’ll be a part of the competitive roster for the rest of the season.”
To do that, she’ll have to beat out some of her teammates this week, including returning All-Americans Belen Mozo and Lizette Salas, as well as Kim and Park. Mozo is playing her second tournament this season following shoulder surgery over the summer, and Salas is returning to the competitive roster after missing the last tournament to attend a wedding. Kim and Park have both competed at the first two events of the season.
Endstrasser’s return to form would give the Trojans seven golfers to fill five roster spots, and would give coach Andrea Gaston the depth she was hoping would be provided in the fall season. This tournament is especially crucial in developing depth, as the National Championship will be held in the same location in June 2010.
Other teams scouting out the course include No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 Purdue and four other teams from the top 10.