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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Par for the Course

In what's become somewhat of a regular phenomenon, the USC men's golf team is on it's way back to the NCAA Championships final for the 10th straight time. Sophomores Jonah Texeira and Sean Crocker, as well as freshman Justin Suh, all recorded 1-over 73s to lead the Trojans in a superb final round to a third place finish in the NCAA Albuquerque Regional on Wednesday. 

Despite the less than ideal weather conditions on USC's final day, including unusually high winds, the team pulled together to post the day's second-best final round at a combined 31-over 895 (291-311-293). Crocker anchored the Trojans' all weekend, tying his season-best effort with a second-place finish at 1-over 217. Suh tied for 17th at 10-over 226, recording a 73 in the final round to match his performance from day one. The sophomore Texeira matched Suh's 73 on Wednesday, finishing the weekend 22nd at 11-over 227. 

"Coach Goulding and I are so proud of our players," USC head coach Chris Zambri said. "In conditions that were so unlike what we play and practice in daily, our guys came through in a big way. It was trying to say the least and they had great attitudes all week. We are so pumped to get to Eugene and try to win a national championship."

In 2015, the Trojans reached the NCAA Championships match play final before falling to LSU in what was a best-ever postseason finish for the program. This season, they're looking to raise the bar just one peg higher and return to USC with a championship trophy. 

USC is one of 30 teams from six regionals to advance to the NCAA Championships set for May 27-June 1 at the Eugene (Ore.) C.C. Be sure to follow @USCMensGolf for a closer look at the Trojans' pursuit of a national championship! 

Championship Season

With six active teams in the national Top 5, including four conference title winners and two programs on undefeated runs, USC is ready for championship season.

Hoey Leads the Way

pac12-RICO.jpgNo. 3 USC men's golf has enjoyed a resurgence over the last three seasons thanks in large part to Rico Hoey, the first piece of the program's renovation. The junior leader was named All-Pac-12 First Team for pacing the Trojans in stroke average, rounds in the 60s (12) and top 10 finishes (eight).

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Hoey was joined on the conference honor roll by second team selections sophomores Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira. Senior Andrew Levitt made honorable mention, while Justin Suh earned All-Pac-12 Freshman.

The Trojans will find out their NCAA Championships Regional destination on Thursday when the NCAA announces its field. They were the national runners-up last year and reached the No. 1 ranking this season.

Greatness Continues

USC men's and women's golf have championship caliber teams this season as the NCAA Tournament nears, but both programs also have storied pasts upon which the foundation for success was built. Trojan golfing history was recognized by the Pac-12, which placed four men and two women on the All-Century Teams.

The USC men had the Pac-12's Coach of the Century, Randy Lein, as well as four players: Scott Simpson, Sam Randolph, Craig Stadler and Dave Stockton - the most by any school in the conference. Two Women of Troy, Lizette Salas and Annie Park (pictured), were given all-century designation.

Click here for the full story on the men.

Click here for the full story on the women.

The men's quartet represents the historical greatness of the program highlighted by Stadler, the 1982 Masters winner, and Simpson, the 1987 U.S. Open champion. The Women of Troy have been a dominant program over the last decade led by national champions Salas, a four-time All-American, and Park, the 2013 National Player of the Year.


Trojans Finish Fifth

Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor 

USC_Golf_North_rach_7033.jpgThe 2016 Pac-12 Championships concluded this weekend for USC's men's golf, as the Trojans placed fifth. No. 2 USC came into the fourth round 2-over and solidly in third place. They trailed just Stanford and California heading into the final round of play on Sunday in Utah.

Despite a strong showing through three rounds, the Trojans hit some rough patches on Sunday, but were able to finish in the Top 5. Rico Hoey led the way, finishing the weekend at even par 284 (70-70-72-72), which landed him in a tie for 11th.

There was another bright spot for the Trojans as UCLA finished behind them in the Pac-12 Tournament,  collecting 10 points in the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup, which USC officially clinched this weekend.

With the Pac-12 Championships over, the Trojans will turn their attention to the NCAA Regional Championships in hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. The Regional Championships will take place May 16-18 at a location to be determined later.

Peaking for Postseason

No. 1 USC men's golf finished the regular season strong with a second place showing at the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz. The Trojans had four different golfers in the invidual Top 10 led by Jonah Texeira, Rico Hoey and Andrew Levitt (pictured) who all finished in a tie for fourth.

Click here for the complete recap.

"We had a solid regular season. We had three wins and saw very good play out of our entire starting lineup," USC head coach Chris Zambri said. "We are ready for a big finish to our year. The three biggest events by far lay ahead. Our season basically starts anew at the Pac-12 Championship."

The conference tournament begins on April 29, and the three-day championship will be hosted by Utah in Salt Lake City. After that, USC will look to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which are also out west in Eugene, Oregon (May 27 to June 1).


An Experience Unlike Any Other

USC is as proud of its tradition as any institution, but the Masters claims to be "a tradition unlike any other." Incoming freshman Cheng Jin can cast the deciding vote after he experiences both.

Jin, from Beijing, China, qualified for Augusta this year thanks to his win at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. He is one of six amateurs competing for the Silver Cup, given annually to the low amateur that makes the 36-hole cut at the Masters since 1952.

Of course, if the weekend goes really well, Jin will dream of the Green Jacket, the ultimate prize in golf. On Thursday and Friday, the 18-year-old is paired with 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler, two men with slightly better odds to don the prized sport coat, but whatever his score, Jin (pictured with two-time Masters champion Tom Watson) will undoubtedly find the experience worth its weight in gold.


No Sophomore Slump

playerofthemonth-crocker.jpgNo. 1 USC men's golf has built on its surprising run to the 2015 NCAA Championship Final by winning three events this season led by sophomore Sean Crocker, who was named the Pac-12 Men's Golfer of the Month. The 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year has been playing stellar golf of late, finishing second at the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas, an event which the team won.

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Crocker and company will tee it up next at the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz (April 11-13).

Photo Gallery: Men's Golf Riding Highlands

USC men's basketball is not the only Trojan program living large in Las Vegas. No. 4 USC men's golf picked up back-to-back tournament victories by besting the field at the Southern Highlands Collegiate.

Click here for the recap.

The four-stroke win was keyed by the usual suspects as sophomore Sean Crocker finished second overall and junior Rico Hoey carded a team-best 72 in the final round. Crocker turned in his fourth top 8 this year and his second in a row, finishing at 3-under 213 (70-68-75). Hoey kept his impressive streak of top 10 finishes alive, extending it to six in a row with a tie for eighth at 2-over 218 (76-70-72).

Here are the John McGillen photos from Las Vegas:

Leave It To Levitt

USC men's golfer Andrew Levitt is already hard at work making the most of his final season as a Trojan. On Tuesday, the senior put together a a 68 on the final round at the Southwestern Jones Invitational to pass teammates Jonah Texeira and clinch his first career collegiate victory. The Trojans won their second tournament of the season at 26-under 838, 20 better than the second place team.

Levitt (below) won the tournament at 8-under 208 (72-68-68), golfing a 3-under front 9 followed by a 1-under back to clinch the third round comeback. Texeira, who led for most of the three rounds, tied for second at 7-under (69-67-73). It was a career-best finish for the sophomore.

"Winning always feels good and I'm happy for all the guys on the team," USC head coach Chris Zambri said. "But I'm especially happy for Andrew, a senior who won his first collegiate tournament."

Next up, USC will play at the Southern Highlands Intercollegiate in Las Vegas from March 7-9. Follow @USCMensGolf for tournament updates, photos and more!


Golfing Spotlight: Jonah Texeira

No. 6 USC men's golf is in full swing as the Trojans take on a competitive field at the Southwestern Jones Invitational in Westlake Village on Monday and Tuesday. With All-Americans Rico Hoey and Sean Crocker leading the lineup, USC has the talent to beat anyone as long as the Trojans continue to develop their depth.

Sophomore Jonah Texeira is a key piece to that championship puzzle. After making the All-Pac-12 freshman team, he has continued to improve, posting three Top 8 finishes and ranking second on the squad with a 72.06 stroke average.

Click here for the complete profile.

"Jonah does everything well," USC head coach Chris Zambri said. "He has been playing high level golf for so long that his short game is extremely developed. He has a bunch of length off the tee which is very beneficial. His desire to play great golf has never been higher since he's been a Trojan. His fine play of late is directly related to his renewed dedication."


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