The top-ranked USC women’s golf team will attempt to win its third straight tournament this weekend at the annual Liz Murphy Collegiate Invitational, which runs Friday through Sunday, at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
The defending national champions have won seven wins out of their past eight tournaments; if they are going to win this weekend’s tournament, however, they will need to do it without their best individual player, sophomore Annie Park. Park, the No. 3-ranked collegiate golfer and the No. 2-ranked amateur player, will instead head to the LPGA’s Kraft Nabisco Championship today through Sunday, at Mission Hills C.C. in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Another challenge for the Women of Troy will be the alternative format at the Liz Murphy Invitational. The tournament will not follow normal tournament rules; instead, it will be structured to resemble the future format of the NCAA Championship tournament.
Friday’s stroke play will divide the field into top and bottom brackets consisting of eight teams each. Teams will then play two rounds of match play Saturday, and one round on Sunday, to determine the tournament winner.
The Women of Troy have winning experience with various combinations of starters, which will hopefully prove effective considering the absence of Park. Traveling to Georgia in the starting lineup will be junior Doris Chen, sophomores Kyung Kim and Victoria Morgan and freshmen Gabriella Then and Karen Chung. Chung, who hails from Livingston, N.J., recently won her first collegiate event at USC.
USC women’s golf team is ranked No. 1 in the country for many reasons, an important one being their depth. The loss of Park is expected to present some adversity for the team, but the Women of Troy have consistently proved that they can compete at any level with many different members of their team.
USC will hope to add to its record-breaking season this weekend in Athens, but as usual, they will face some of the nation’s toughest opponents during the competition. In addition to host Georgia, the tournament will include No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Arkansas, No. 16 Northwestern, No. 21 Iowa State and No. 22 Michigan State, as well as other competitive teams from across the country.
Play begins at 8 a.m. each day and can be followed live on birdiefire.com.