The defending national champion USC women’s golf team claimed another victory Tuesday, setting multiple team and individual school records in the process.
The No. 1-ranked squad outlasted tough conditions, tight competition and scorecard confusion at the two-day Windy City Collegiate Championship near Chicago to win its record fifth consecutive match in a streak dating back to last spring. The win also marks the first time a USC team has opened a season with back-to-back wins.
In two rounds on Monday and Tuesday, the Women of Troy combined for a score of 1-over, two strokes ahead of No. 16 Oklahoma State. Pac-12 rivals No. 7 Arizona and No. 12 Stanford finished in a third place tie, and host Northwestern rounded out the top five. With the victory, USC has now won a remarkable eight out of its last nine events.
Once again leading the way for the top-ranked Women of Troy was standout sophomore Kyung Kim, who didn’t miss a beat after her season-opening victory at the Dale McNamara Fall Preview. Kim set her own school record on Monday, extending her streak of consecutive rounds in the 60s to five. Unfortunately for the sophomore, windy conditions derailed the chance of another victory. A final round 2-over 73 knocked Kim to 4-under for the tournament and forced her into a second place tie with Oklahoma State’s Julie Yang in the individual race. Arizona’s Lindsay Weaver went on to win with a score of 5-under.
Freshman Karen Chung made a strong impression in her collegiate debut finishing just behind Kim at 1-over for the tournament, good for sixth place.
Defending NCAA individual champion sophomore Annie Park would have tied Kim for the team’s lowest score, but the sophomore’s final round 1-under 70 was disqualified because of confusion in regards to her scorecard. After it was determined that Park signed an incorrect card, the Women of Troy’s ten-stroke lead seemed in jeopardy. Fortunately for the team, clutch late birdies by Kim, junior Doris Chen and freshman Gabriella Then secured a two-stroke victory.
Chen finished the tournament tied for ninth with a score of 3-over. The junior fired 15 pars and two birdies in a stellar final round to negate a difficult 4-over performance the day before. Chen was the only USC player to score under par on Tuesday, and claimed one of the field’s best scores, wind and all.
Without Chen’s stellar play, Park’s disqualification might have sunk USC’s chances at victory. Then struggled in her second collegiate event with a 9-over overall score, but her birdie on the final round’s 18th hole helped the Women of Troy hold off Oklahoma State for the victory. Park, disqualified for her final round, filled out the team standings. The sophomore was unable to take credit for a performance that would have tied her with Kim and Yang for second place overall.
The Women of Troy will next compete in the Stanford Intercollegiate from Oct. 25 to 27. Last year the team won the event behind then-freshman Kim’s first collegiate victory.
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