USC wraps up fall play in Northern California

The USC men’s golf team wraps up its fall season this week with a trip to Northern California to compete in the Gifford Collegiate Championship in San Martin, Calif.

In its last tournament, the Trojans led the pack in the first round of the U.S. Collegiate Championship and tied for third place at the end of the second round. Despite starting off strong, USC finished seventh overall.

Senior Steve Lim led USC tying for 13th overall at 1-under-par, notching four bogeys during his final round and 14 pars. Highly touted freshman Anthony Paolucci tied for 31st at 4-over-par.

“We were competing against four of the best teams in the country and we were right up there with them,” USC coach Chris Zambri said. “It felt great to be in contention up until that final round.”

Despite placing just seventh and 10th, Zambri said he is pleased with the Trojans’ play thus far. He believes in the talent of his squad, but also feels it needs to work on its efficiency to finish tournaments strong.

“We talked about what each guy needs to do and what each of the guys want to improve upon,” Zambri said. “We have bright kids on the team that are able to manage themselves and continue to improve each week.”

CordeValle Golf Club won’t be a foreign course to USC, as this will be the sixth consecutive year in a row the Trojans have played there. The the coaching staff believes the familiarity bodes well for the team.

“It is in Northern California and is a very good course,” Zambri said. “Five of our six guys have already played there so we have plenty of experience with it.”

The Gifford Collegiate Championship is hosted by UCLA. The Bruins are fresh off of a victory last week after placing first at the U.S. Collegiate Championship. Zambri realizes the championship is the perfect opportunity for his squad to face a tough UCLA squad.

“We are definitely cognizant of their program,” Zambri said. “We like to use it as motivation to help us continue to improve.”

Last year the Trojans tied for fourth at the Gifford Collegiate Championship. USC will compete against a field of 14 teams at CordeValle, including Stanford, Oklahoma, Washington, San Diego and 2010 NCAA champion Augusta State. It is the only NCAA golf event that uses a foursome format. The format pairs two players from one team with two players from another team.

The Trojans tee off Monday at CordeValle Golf Club. The event concludes Wednesday.