Women of Troy return to the links

After a monthlong break, the No. 4 USC women’s golf team finishes its regular season this weekend at the PING/ASU Invitational at the Karsten Golf Club in Tempe, Ariz.

The tournament is the last chance for the Women of Troy to gain momentum heading into the playoffs. The team has had a very inconsistent invitational season, winning three tournaments and finishing out of the top 10 in two others.

This week, the team will send four All-Americans to Tempe to capture a fourth title.

Sophomore Jennifer Song leads the team, fresh off her recent 21st place finish at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship. Song was the highest finishing amateur at the event, one of the four majors on the professional tour.

“I had a lot of fun there, but I was struggling with my shots, especially in the third round,” Song said. “I was disappointed in my finish because I know I can do better.”

Despite that disappointment, she feels she has gained confidence heading back into her final few amateur events. The No. 2 golfer in the country has two individual wins and two additional top-10 finishes in five tournaments in her sophomore season. Song, an All-American as a freshman, was recently named one of the 14 finalists for the Sullivan Award, given annually to the top amateur athlete in the country.

Two-time All-American junior Lizette Salas is seeking her second individual victory this season in Tempe. Salas enters the tournament ranked 15th in the country and has three top-five finishes in six tournaments this season, highlighted by her first place finish at the Turtle Bay Collegiate Invitational last November.

Three-time All-American senior Belen Mozo is coming off her first top-10 finish of the season at the Bruin Wave Invitational a month ago. Mozo struggled through the fall with an injury, but has gotten progressively healthier throughout the year.

As her health has improved, so has her placement. Mozo enters her final regular season event as the Women of Troy’s career leader in rounds under 70, leading teammate Song by one.

All-American senior Stephanie Endstrasser has struggled during the season with inconsistent play and is hoping to return to form in time for the postseason. Rounding out the Women of Troy this week is freshman Cyna Rodriguez. She had her best finish as a Trojan at the Bruin Wave, where she tied for 15th.

The last time the Women of Troy won their final regular season event, they went on a winning streak that ended with a victory at the 2008 national championship tournament. The team hopes to capture similar momentum this weekend.

“We want another championship on our belt,” Song said.