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Hole Out

USC men's golf saw its season come to an end in the NCAA Quarterfinals against Illinois today at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL.

Click here for the full recap!

The sixth-seeded Trojans were competing in their third straight NCAA match play bracket, looking for the program's first-ever national title.

But the third-seeded Illini, playing just over two hours from campus, came back from early deficits in three matches to clinch a 3-1-1 victory.

Despite the disappointing end to the season, USC, which won five tournaments this season, still stands as one of the most successful programs of the past few years. The Trojans have racked up three straight Top 10 finishes -- their most in a row since earning five straight from 1973-77.

Three Trojans took their final swings in Cardinal and Gold today: seniors Rico Hoey and Andrew Levitt, and junior Sean Crocker, who announced his decision to go not long after the match ended.

The Trojans will reload this offseason and head into 2017-18 ready to pursue a national title once again.

First Things First

No. 1 USC men's golf has only one goal in mind: winning the program's first national championship. For the 11th consecutive season, tying the nation's longest active streak, the Trojans have put themselves in position by qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

USC bested the field at the Washington Regional as Rico Hoey, Sean Crocker and Justin Suh all finished in the individual top 5. The Trojans only needed to make the top 5 as a team to qualify for NCAAs, but instead, they won their fifth tournament of the season and third regional ever.

Next up, USC men's golf heads to Sugar Grove, Illinois, from May 26-31 for the final test at Rich Harvest Farms.

State of Troy - May 2017

Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

usc-beach-volleyball-pepperdine-ncaa-championship-mcgillen-050617-8842.jpgSwann on USC beach volleyball's third consecutive national championship...

Winning a championship is everybody's goal, but it is hard to attain. A three-peat is absolutely remarkable. It is one of the unique historical accomplishments to happen in any sport. For our top pair, Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes, their record is extraordinary. They will not realize how big this is for quite some time, and it is only going to get bigger.

Swann on the reaction to the recently-unveiled Coliseum seating plan after the renovation...

The messaging that went out last week was really well received. Most importantly, people understand it. Of course, there are a few folks fearful of change, but change is inevitable in any renovation and necessary in our situation. We will be sure to communicate with every one of our Trojan Athletic Fund members and season-ticket holders one-on-one to address their concerns as we believe that we have a suitable option for everyone. The fundraising support has been tremendous, and we are extremely grateful to all our loyal alumni and fans. At the end of the day, I believe that the Trojan Family will be happy with the changes that we are making and embrace the new seating grid. We will come together, support this football program, support this cause and turn out in full force for years to come. We will Fight On.

Click here for more information on the Coliseum renovation!

Swann on the APR report...

I'm very proud of our student-athletes for their conscientious efforts in the classroom that have led to a best-ever department APR of 976. To have nearly half of our 21 teams record their highest APR in history is a testament to our focus on the "student" part of the student-athlete equation. We should also acknowledge the emphasis our coaches put on the academic performance of their teams and the support provided by our staff in the Stevens Academic Center.

Swann on Commencement Week...

This is my first time here for graduation week as the athletic director, and it is very exciting. Congratulations to all the seniors and post-grads on earning your degrees. I am looking forward to the Student-Athlete Graduation on Thursday and then the main ceremony on Friday. Unfortunately, some of our student-athletes will miss graduation because they are competing in postseason tournaments. It is one of the difficult aspects of being an athlete. But, our student-athletes put so much time and effort into competing for championships that I know they are willing to make the sacrifice to reach for their goals.

usc-womens-water-polo-princeton-2017-mcgillen-5185.jpgSwann on the rest of the spring sport calendar...

Men's and women's golf are beginning their road to the NCAA Championships. The men are in a great position as head coach Chris Zambri has done an excellent job. They had to battle snowy conditions at the Pac-12 Championships in Colorado, which maybe threw them off their game a bit, but they have an opportunity to win the program's first national championship. Andrea Gaston always seems to put the women's team in a position to succeed in the postseason, so I look forward to seeing what they do as well.

Women's water polo will battle for the NCAA title this weekend in Indianapolis. They will go in as the three-seed. They are used to being on top, but they have taken a couple losses lately. It all comes down to the NCAA Tournament though, and Jovan Vavic knows how to win championships.

Men's and women's tennis also begin NCAA Tournament play this week. The men have been playing beautifully, including winning the Pac-12 Tournament, and I expect them to compete for more hardware at the NCAA Championships. The women's team has really improved late in the season, so they could have a good showing as well.

Women's lacrosse has to travel to Florida for the postseason. Coach Lindsey Munday has had this team ready to play from day one. They have grown in confidence every step of the way. I look for them to continue their outstanding play.

Men's and women's track & field will battle for the conference championship this weekend up in Oregon. They have had a great season. I really enjoyed the Dual Meet win for the Women of Troy over UCLA, but the men fell a little bit short. I think both teams are peaking towards postseason competition.

Baseball continues on with a trip to Utah this week. We hope to put together a late season run after a tough couple of weeks.

Women's rowing is working hard. They have a difficult schedule with all the travel, but I think they will make a good showing at the Pac-12 Championships this week. It's that time of year. Everybody is competing and pushing to win hardware.

Golden Golfers

Senior men's golfer Rico Hoey became the second player in program history to earn All-Pac-12 First Team honors four straight years, leading USC's five conference honorees this season.

Click here for the full release!

Hoey, who ranks second on the team in stroke average (70.88) this year, joins Sam Randolph as the only Trojans to accomplish the feat. Hoey is coming off a tie for second place at the Pac-12 Championships -- USC's best finish at the event since 2011.

Hoey is joined on the first team by Sean Crocker and Justin Suh. It's Crocker's third conference honor, after earning second team status last season and first team his freshman year. The Zimbabwe-born junior leads the team in stroke average (70.76) this year. Suh managed five Top 10 finishes including one win this season, and ranks third on the team in stroke average (71.21) to earn his second conference honor after making the All-Freshman team last year.

USC's three first teamers are its most since 2009 and the most of any school in the Pac-12 this year.

In addition to Hoey, Crocker and Suh, junior Jonah Texeira and freshman Cheng Jin earned Pac-12 Honorable Mention, while Jin was also named to this year's All-Freshman team.

Texeira earns his third straight conference honor after finishing in the Top 10 three times this season, including one win. Jin has finished in the Top 20 three times.

The Trojans earned a No. 1 seed in the upcoming Sammamish, WA NCAA Regional, which begins on May 15.

Snowy Session

The Trojan men's golf team braved the elements to tie for third at the Pac-12 Championships in Boulder, CO this weekend.

USC was tied for fourth after one day of play, but saw play suspended on Saturday due to the five inches of snow that fell overnight and the freezing temperatures.

The Trojans got back to it on Sunday, managing a 1-over final round to finish at +32 1082 (366-365-351), tied with Washington for third. Oregon and Stanford finished first and second, respectively.

Senior Rico Hoey tied for second in individual play -- USC's highest finish at Pac-12s since 2011. Sophomore Justin Suh, meanwhile, used a huge final round to tie for ninth in the tournament.

Crock Of Gold

USC men's golf junior Sean Crocker was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award, the Colonial Country Club, the Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) announced yesterday.

Click here for the full release!

The Ben Hogan Award is given annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer for his achievements in collegiate and amateur competitions over 12 months.

Past winners include Hunter Mahan (2003), Bill Haas (2004) and Rickie Fowler (2008).

Crocker, who was born in Zimbabwe but prepped at Westlake High in Westlake Village, CA, leads No. 1 USC in stroke average this year (70.15) and has finished under par in eight straight tournaments (combined 26-under par in those events).

Crocker is one of five golfers from the Pac-12 to make the cut. The list of semifinalists will be cut down to three finalists on May 3, making this month's Pac-12 Championships crucial for Crocker. The Pac-12 Championships run from April 28-30 in Boulder, CO.

Check out USC's top-ranked men's golf team on Twitter and Instagram to follow Crocker's quest.


Finish Strong

USC men's golf closed out the regular season with a win at the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo G.C. (Santa Cruz, CA).

Click here for the full recap!

Sophomore Justin Suh led the way, winning the tournament with a 5-under 205 (68-67-70). It marked Suh's third Top 3 finish this season and first win of his collegiate career.

Suh and junior Sean Crocker, who tied for second in the field, helped the No. 1 Trojans finish even at 1050 (347-348-355), 18 strokes ahead of second-place Stanford.

The win is USC's third of the season, and sixth straight Top 2 finish.

The top-ranked Trojans now head to Boulder, CO for the Pac-12 Championships at the end of the month.


Low Am High Point

USC men's golf alum Stewart Hagestad made the most out of his first appearance at the Masters, taking the low amateur crown, a longstanding tradition at golf's first major. He tallied four consistent rounds, posting 74-73-74-73 en route to finishing tied for 36th at 6-over.

"It's a dream come true," Hagestad said about being low amateur. "It's something I've long thought about and to have it come to fruition is an absolute dream come true."

Hagestad, who works as a financial analyst by day in New York, earned his way into the field by winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He became the first U.S. Mid-Amateur champion to make the cut since 1989.

On the day before his 26th birthday, Hagestad ended up winning the low amateur title by three strokes over Curtis Luck. He needed a strong back nine on Sunday to close it out.

"I just kind of said, 'Hey, we're playing Augusta National on Sunday afternoon, the day before my birthday, and it's a perfect day. It doesn't get much better than this,'" Hagestad told Golfweek. "Obviously, low amateur was important to me and it was a huge goal, but I think one part of getting older is that there's so much more to it than that."

Anytime, Anywhere

USC men's golf is the top-ranked team in the nation, and has finished first or second in each of its last six events.

After falling in last season's NCAA semifinals, the Trojans have their eyes on the NCAA title this year.

We caught up with two of USC's standouts, Sean Crocker and Rico Hoey, practicing their craft on the team's simulator on campus.

Green But Golden

Written by Rachel Frain, USC blog contributor

With a playoff win at the U.S. Mid-Amateur last September, USC men's golf alum Stewart Hagestad cemented a trip to Augusta, GA to compete in a tradition unlike any other: the Masters Golf Tournament.

Hagestad.jpegIn his time at USC, Hagestad rarely started for the golf team. During his senior year he was a reliable reserve, often used if a starter was injured or in a slump. He spent his undergraduate years pursuing a finance degree from the Marshall School of Business, and is now working for Oak Tree Residential, a real estate firm in Manhattan.

So how did Hagestad go from sitting on the bench at USC to securing a spot in the most famous golf tournament in the world?

Since his move to the Big Apple, Hagestad has adopted his own kind of training program. He hits balls on a simulator during the weekdays, plays local courses on the weekends and competes in national amateur tournaments every so often.

Now, Hagestad, whose younger brother, Richard, is a walk-on safety on the USC football team, is preparing for the biggest weekend of his life thus far. In an interview with USA Today, Hagestad reflected on his last visit to Augusta National.

"I got to play it in college, which was obviously a dream come true," said Hagestad. "I was so enamored, but you have to look at it a little differently now. You're in tournament mode."

Although just 25 years old, Hagestad has a great deal of confidence in himself.

"I can keep up with the guys off the tee. If I start rolling in a few putts, I'd like to think I can compete with anybody," Hagestad told USA Today writer Luke Kerr-Dineen.

Every golfer competing in the Masters will participate in a Par 3 competition tomorrow before play begins, and Hagestad will have his father serve as his caddie for the day.

"There isn't any way in the world it wouldn't be my dad," said Hagestad. "He's supported me so much through the years, always been there for me."

The Masters begins on Thursday and continues through Sunday.

Good Showing At The Goodwin

This weekend, USC men's golf earned its sixth straight Top 2 finish, coming in second out of 24 teams at The Goodwin (Stanford G.C.).

The top-ranked Trojans finished nine strokes behind host Stanford, with a 6-over 846 (285-280-281).

USC sat in fourth place after Round 1 and moved into within a stroke of first after a strong second round, but the Cardinal utilized a 7-under 273 final round to take home the title.

Junior Sean Crocker (pictured) led the way for the Trojans, tying for fifth, while sophomore Justin Suh tied for 11th.

The Trojans are gearing up to head north again, with the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz, CA (Pasatiempo G.C.) on the horizon. There, they'll face Stanford again as well as Oregon, Texas, Arizona State and more.


Two's Company

IMG_7692.JPGAfter impressive showings in their first few tournaments of the year, both USC's men's and women's golf teams moved up to No. 2 in the nation this week.

The men's team jumped up five spots in the national rankings after topping the 15-team field at the Southern Highlands Collegiate last week. Since the fall season began, USC has won three events and has finished in the Top 2 in five straight events. At the end of this month, the Trojans take their talents to The Goodwin at Stanford G.C.

The Women of Troy have also been contenders in nearly every event in recent history, winning 25 of their past 44 outings, including two this season. Next up is the Gifford Great 8 Collegiate Match in Brentwood, CA. USC enters the event as the No. 1 seed.

Runners Up

Out of a field of 14 at the Southwestern Invitational at the North Ranch Country Club, USC men's golf finished in second place yesterday.

As a team, the Trojans shot 5-under 859 (289-282-288), 16 strokes behind host Pepperdine.

Click here for the full recap!

USC has now finished on top or in second in four consecutive events. This time, senior Rico Hoey led the way, tying for fifth place with a 6-under 210 (67-68-73). He's finished in the Top 10 in each of his last five events.

Junior Sean Crocker was just behind at 4-under 212 (73-69-72) to finish in seventh place. Freshman Cheng Jin, meanwhile, finished strong to land in a career-best 11th place.

Next up for No. 4 USC is the Southern Highlands Intercollegiate in Las Vegas, which the team won last year.

Follow the Trojans on Twitter to stay up-to-date!

Hoey and Crocker for Hogan

USC men's golf senior Rico Hoey and junior Sean Crocker have been foundational pieces of the program's ascendancy to annual national title contenders under head coach Chris Zambri. The talented duo, which led the Trojans to back-to-back NCAA Championships semifinal appearances, made the 2017 Ben Hogan Award watch list.

Click here for more.

Hoey (pictured) and Crocker are being touted among the top 28 golfers in the country after outstanding fall seasons. Hoey boasts a pair of first-place finishes at the Gifford Collegiate and the Amer Ari Invitational as well as a team-best eight rounds under 70. Sporting a 70.12 stroke average, he has four top 10s, all in his last four events. He is a combined 33-under par in his last eight rounds.

Crocker leads USC in stroke average at 70.00 and has five top 16 finishes in as many starts this season, including three in the top 10. He has seven rounds under 70 and is a combined 17-under in his last four outings.

The Trojans, ranked No. 7 in the country, have four more tournaments before postseason play. For its next stop, USC will drive up to Westlake Village for the Southwestern Invitational (February 27-28).


Trojans Come Out on Top

Yesterday, USC's No. 6 men's golf team won the Gifford Collegiate Championship in a head-to-head battle with No. 8 Stanford.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans beat Wisconsin, 5-0-1, and Northwestern, 4-2, to advance to the finals of the tournament in Napa, CA. They were locked in a 2-2-2 tie with the Cardinal, but Andrew Levitt and Justin Suh's victories earned USC a 7&6 tiebreak edge and the win.

USC has now won two straight team events after taking the Cypress Point Classic last week to bring the fall season to a close.

The golf team gets a break in competition before resuming on Feb. 2, 2017, at the Amer Ari Invitational in Waikoloa, HI.


21 Pilots

Heading into the 2016-17 season, representatives from each of USC's 21 sports met on top of the AT&T Center for the annual "All 21" photo shoot. The AT&T Center, just two miles from campus, overlooks the skyline of downtown Los Angeles, where the Trojans call home.

Top row, from left to right: Nick Bell (men's water polo), Nina Kelty (lacrosse), Rebekah Ent (cross country), Anika  Apostalon (women's swimming), Eric Sloan (men's track & field), Courtney Jaco (women's basketball), Karen Chung (women's golf), Lucas Yoder (men's volleyball), Reed Malone (men's swimming), Brianna Daboub (women's water polo), Sara Hughes (beach volleyball), Jeremy Martinez (baseball)

Bottom row, from left to right: Zach Banner (football), Zoe Katz (women's tennis), Jordan McLaughlin (men's basketball), Amalie Iuel (women's track & field), Madara Strautmane (rowing), Nick Crystal (men's tennis), Collin Pollard (men's diving), Taylor Whittingham (women's volleyball), Savannah Levin (women's soccer), Sean Crocker (men's golf), Madison Witt (women's diving)

Hole in Two

USC men's golf will open the 2016-17 season ranked No. 2 in the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll.

Click here for the full story.

The Trojans, led by 11th-year head coach Chris Zambri, are coming off an impressive season which saw them advance to the NCAA semifinals. This year, they return all five starters from that squad, plus two top-notch recruits.

Only Texas is ranked ahead of USC in the preseason poll.

golf rank 2.jpg

Open Invitation

USC men's golf rising sophomore Justin Suh advanced through U.S. Open qualifying to earn a spot in the field at Oakmont this week.

Suh, known to his teammates as "Boomer", fired back-to-back 67s to book his ticket to the 116th U.S. Open. He is grouped with fellow Americans T.J. Howe and Frank Adams III in the second to last threesome to go off on Thursday (11:42 a.m. PT).

Fans can follow @USCMensGolf on Twitter for live updates of Suh's adventures on golf's biggest stage. Here is a sampling of his experience so far:

Keep Pushing

For the second consecutive season, USC men's golf made a deep postseason run, only to be turned away just shy of the program's first national championship. The Trojans entered match play as the No. 4 seed, defeating No. 5 Vanderbilt, 4-1, in the NCAA quarterfinals, before falling to No. 1 Texas, 4-1, in the national semifinals.

With the loss, USC officially tied for third, giving it its first back-to-back NCAA top 3 finishes since the Trojans came in third three years in a row between 1964-66. USC fell in the NCAA final a year ago.

"We fought hard all day, but we came up a little short," said junior Rico Hoey. "It was a great win in the morning, but we fell a couple matches short of our goal. We have a lot of talent on this team and luckily, no one is leaving, and I think this will make us stronger for next year."

Click here for the recap.

Hoey led the way all tournament long, taking second overall in the individual stroke play event, USC's highest finisher since Jamie Lovemark in 2007. He then won both his points in the match play, including pasting his Longhorn opponent, 6&5.

The Trojans will return their core talent next season, putting them among the favorites to contend for the crown yet again. Along with Hoey, freshman Justin Suh and sophomores Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira picked up the points in the win over Vanderbilt.

First Things First

USC men's golf made it all the way to the NCAA Championship Match last year before being forced to settle for runner-up. Returning the same core players, the Trojans have been motivated all season to finish the tournament off this time around, but first, they need to qualify for the match play by finishing in the top eight of the four-day stroke play event in Eugene, Oregon.

Click here for a preview.

No. 3 USC won three times this season, so they remain one of the favorites to contend for the crown. The Trojans, who will tee off on Friday at 12:20 p.m., are led by All-American duo Rico Hoey and Sean Crocker.

Here is Hoey on the team's camaraderie ahead of the NCAA Tournament:

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