Both USC golf teams were in action this past weekend, as the No. 4 women’s team headed east to the aptly named Golf, Ill. to defend their title at the Windy City Collegiate Invitational, and the No. 11 men’s team traveled up north to Witch Hollow, Ore. for the Nike Golf Collegiate.
The women’s team posted another solid showing but came up just short of repeating as winners of the Windy City Collegiate Classic. The Trojans finished second in the tournament, an improvement from their fifth place performance in the season-opening ANNIKA invitational two weeks ago.
The Trojans carded 36 holes at the Glen View Golf Club on the first day, shooting 286 and 262 to place one spot back of South Carolina.
Tuesday’s round served as the deciding factor in determining who would take the top spot on the podium. Junior Jennifer Chang finished off the round with key birdies on the final par 4s, finishing with a 3-under 69. Senior Allisen Corpuz recovered from early bogeys with an eagle on hole eight and posted two birdies on the back nine to finish with a 2-under 70.
Despite taking the lead briefly before the final nine holes, the Trojans couldn’t edge out the Gamecocks, who finished with a three shot lead with a 14-under 850. Chang and Corpuz led the team individually as both finished third overall at 6-under 210.
The tournament marked a career-best performance for Corpuz, who shot under par for 54 holes and led the field in birdies. She credited her success to the additional coaching on her short game in the week leading up to the event.
“[Head coach Justin Silverstein] mentioned something about my putting stroke on Thursday at practice, and it gave me something to focus on while I was putting this week,” Corpuz said. “I just felt a lot better over my putts.”
The women’s team’s effort was spearheaded by an impressive showing from Chang, who may have played in her last tournament as a Trojan. Chang is expected to advance in the second stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, which determines if amateur competitors are ready to attain professional status on the LPGA tour.
Though Chang has not yet made an official decision, Silverstein said the coaching staff is “mentally preparing that she’s going to be gone,” adding that he has “at least five players, possibly six, [that are] eager to fill those shoes.”
Meanwhile, the men’s team ran into some difficulties in its second tournament of the season. The Trojans finished in 11th place despite solid showings from junior Issei Tanabe and sophomore Charlie Reiter. It was a step back from their fifth place finish at the season-opening Maui Jim Invitational.
Reiter said the tournament was tough for USC but still maintained optimistic for his team.
“It’s just the second tournament of the year,” Reiter said. “So we’re getting ourselves situated for the upcoming year, and we’re going to progress.”
Freshman Yuxin Lin was a notable omission from the men’s lineup. He was unable to make the tournament after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Shanghai, China, just a day prior to the Nike Golf Collegiate’s opening round.
“Him winning that tournament is amazing,” Reiter said. “He’s going to be a great contributor for this year, and we’re excited that he’s here.”
Tanabe has been one of the team’s most consistent players this season, posting a score of 68 four times in his six rounds. Tanabe finished the tournament strong, climbing up 19 spots to tie for 36th on the final individual leaderboard with a 2-over 215.
Reiter was in the top 10 early on in the tournament but eventually slipped to 19th place in the final round, posting a 3-over 74 on day three.
The women’s team will tee off next Oct. 11 in Stanford, Calif., for the Stanford Intercollegiate. The men’s team will be back in action Oct. 14 in Simi Valley, Calif., for the Bill Cullum Invitational.