Junior Lisa McCloskey and the No. 2 USC women’s golf team had a day for the record books Wednesday at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to push the Women of Troy past No. 5 California and into first place.
McCloskey, a transfer from Pepperdine, has played only three matches with the Women of Troy to make her mark on the team. She fired a final round 8-under-par 64 to finish tied for fourth at 5-under-par 211 (72-75-64).
Eight-under ties McCloskey with Irene Cho’s second-round 64 at the Guadalajara Invitational in 2006. McCloskey opened the final round with a bogey before making three birdies on the front nine and six birdies on the back nine, including four birdies on her final five holes.
“It feels really good after having a mediocre round [Tuesday],” McCloskey said. “Just a real solid round with lots of greens and few putts.”
McCloskey’s final round pushed USC to a final round of 13-under-par 275, the lowest round in team history. In the end, however, the Women of Troy finished second at 15-under-par 849 (285-289-275), two strokes behind Cal at 17-under-par 847 (284-283-280). The final round of 13-under is three strokes better than the previous low, set two weeks ago in the final round of the Mason Rudolph Championship. That marks two straight record-setting final rounds for the Women of Troy.
“I think it’s great to close a tournament strong, but we’ve got to lower our scoring averages for the first two rounds,” USC coach Andrea Gaston said. “[Yesterday], we didn’t have anyone do poorly, but we didn’t have any great scores. You need everybody playing well and have one or two that play extremely well.”
The team certainly had two players playing extremely well in McCloskey and senior Lizette Salas. Even with McCloskey’s record-setting round, Salas bested her on the leader board, finishing in second place at 7-under-par 209 (71-71-67). Six birdies successfully offset one bogey on her way to her second top-three finish of the year.
Freshman Sophia Popov tied for fifth at 2-under-par 214 (68-74-72). Popov had three bogeys balanced by three birdies while bouncing back from her season debut, where she finished 67th.
Sophomore Inah Park had a career-best finish for the Women of Troy, tying for 11th at 3-over-par 219 (74-71-74). Her five birdies were cancelled out by six bogeys and a double bogey on the first hole.
Sophomore Cyna Rodriguez finished tied for 16th at 5-over-par 221 (76-73-72). Rodriguez had five birdies and five bogeys, with four of those birdies on the back nine.
The Women of Troy now have a month before competing again at the Pac-10/SEC Challenge at the Stanford Golf Club in Palo Alto, Calif.
“We’re looking forward to hitting some teams from the South,” Gaston said. “We need to catch up on classes right now.”