USC primed for an NCAA Championship Run?
09 Mar 2017
by Sam Dostaler of amateurgolf.com
(March 9, 2017) -- No school in the country has won more men's NCAA National Championships than USC. However, not one of the schools men's 84 National Championships belong to the golf team. With that said the 2016-2017 version of the Trojans men's golf team has a chance to rewrite history.
Currently ranked fourth in the nation and with their entire line up from last years run to the NCAA Championship semifinals back the Trojans are picking up steam at just the right time of the season.
On Wednesday USC dominated a loaded Southern Highlands Intercollegiate field that included nine ranked teams on their way to a 10-stroke victory. The win for USC at Southern Highlands Golf Club was their third of the season and it came on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes. USC previously won the Cypress Point Classic and Gifford Collegiate during the fall portion of their schedule.
Leading the way this season for USC has been junior Sean Crocker and senior Rico Hoey.
For Crocker, the season has been one of consistency. So far Crocker has finished between fourth and tied for 16th in every event.
Hoey has played in eight events this season and besides two mediocre showings in the first two tournaments of the year he has finished outside the top-10 just once. During the run Hoey has twice pocketed medalist honors, at the Gifford Collegiate and Amer Ari Invitational (shared).
Also back from last years national semifinalist team are redshirt senior Andrew Levitt (1 top-10 finish), sophomore Justin Suh (3 top-10 finishes) and junior Jonah Texeira (1 medalist title). In addition, the Trojans have added freshman Cheng Jin (1 top-10 finish, 3 top-20 finishes) to the mix.
Despite the deep line up something to keep an eye on is the recent injury to Texeira. As reported by Golfweek, while playing in a Southern Highlands Intercollegiate practice round Texeira had his hat fly off while driving a cart and as he reached back to grab it he jammed his left index finger into the roof. The injury turned out to only be a sprain but it forced him to withdraw from the event and it is something to monitor in the coming weeks.
USC will round out the regular season at The Goodwin (3/30-4/1) and the Western Intercollegiate (4/8-4/9) before playing in the Pac-12 Championships (4/28-4/30).
The men's team isn't the only USC golf team that has a chance at a 2017 NCAA Championship with the women being among the nations elite as well.
Presently ranked second in Golfstat Top-25 the Trojans are in search of their fourth national title (03, 08, 13).
NCAA Championship quarterfinalist a year ago, USC has played in five team events this season never finishing worse than fourth. They kicked off their season with a victory at the Annika Intercollegiate and then added a second team title in February at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge.
Sophomore Robynn Ree is leading USC in scoring average at 71.57 and although the Trojans only competed as individuals she was able to win the Nanea Pac-12 Preview at the end of October.
USC has received strong play this year from redshirt senior Victoria Morgan (4 top-15 finishes), senior Gabriella Then (3 top-20 finishes) and freshman Allisen Corpuz (2 top-20 finishes).
The women's USC Trojans have a busy close to the regular season with still five events remaining on the schedule prior to the Pac-12 Championships (4/24-4/26).