After a long day of fighting the wind, the USC men’s golf team sits in sixth place out of 12 at the Gifford Collegiate Championships in San Martin, Calif.
The Trojans scored a 23-over-par 378 in the first round of play, three strokes behind fifth-place Oregon and 11 behind first-place UCLA. Also competing are Augusta State, Arizona, Lamar, Long Beach State, Northwestern, Oklahoma, San Diego, Stanford and Washington.
For the first time this season, no USC golfers scored under par in the opening round, but because of the strong winds, they were not alone in falling short — only three golfers participating in the tournament achieved the feat.
Sophomore Martin Trainer attributes the high scores across the board mostly to the terrible conditions.
“It was really windy out there, it made it hard,” he said. “You’ve got to play great to shoot under par.”
Because of the tournament’s “best five out of six” format, USC is facing a 12-team, 76-man field — one of the largest they’ve seen all season.
The Trojans leader, junior Steve Lim, is locked in a six-way tie for fifth place at 1-over-par 72. Lim had four bogeys and three birdies on the day.
While Lim is the USC leader after the first round, his opening round didn’t keep pace with his recent success — the junior started off the last tournament with two 3-under-par rounds.
Trainer posted the second-best score for the Trojans. The sophomore is just one stroke behind Lim at a 2-over-par 73, but sits six places behind in a two-man tie for 11th place. Trainer hit four bogeys and two birdies in his round.
Trainer said he was happy with his play despite the rocky start for the team, and is optimistic about the rest of the tournament.
“I actually had a really good round going until the end, where I had a couple bogeys,” Trainer said. “Hopefully I can do as good or better tomorrow, and break into the top ten.”
Sophomore T.J. Vogel placed third for the team and 25th overall.
Vogel is tied with eight other golfers at 4-over-par 75. His round was the most tumultuous he’s played all season, with two double bogeys, four bogeys and four birdies.
The next three golfers for USC — freshman Jeffery Kang, freshman Ramsey Sahyoun and senior Bo DeHuff — did not fare as well: all are caught in a 10-way tie for 59th place, at 8-over-par 79.
Dehuff, playing in his first tournament this season for the Trojans, recorded three double bogeys, three bogeys and a single birdie.
Dehuff had a rough first nine holes, going 5-over par before entering the back nine. He was able to rally for the second half of the round, hitting just 3-over-par.
Sayhoun hit two double bogeys, five bogeys and a birdie. The freshman started off last tournament with a high score but was able to bounce back and post lower ones in later rounds.
Kang, who has been one of the squad’s most consistent golfers of late, had one of the most turbulent rounds he has seen this season, with one double bogey, nine bogeys and three birdies. Six of his nine bogeys came on the last nine holes.
The action continues today and Wednesday.