Sugimoto, Smith Finish Top 10, USC 5th At Pac-12 Championships

    Junior Eric Sugimoto

    April 27, 2014

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    Junior Eric Sugimoto tied for fourth thanks to a final round 68 while junior Paul Smith capped a strong four days with a tie for ninth, leading the No. 20 USC men's golf team, which finished fifth at the 2014 Pac-12 Championships on Sunday (April 27) at The Galley at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.

    The Trojans combined for a 72-hole 43-over 1483 (377-263-379-364) for fifth. Stanford won the event at 2-under 1438. USC finished two spots ahead of seventh-place UCLA, earning five points in the Crosstown Gauntlet, the all-sport competition between the two schools. Points between men's and women's golf are annually awarded at the conference event to the higher finisher between the two schools.

    "We're certainly not happy to finish fifth, but that being said, it is very promising to have our fourth and fifth players finish in the top 9," USC Coach Chris Zambri said. "We have a lot to look forward to with regionals and NCAA finals. We have a chance, a real chance, to finish the year off with a flurry."

    Sugimoto opened with birdies on 1 and 2 en route to a 4-under front 9. A birdie on 10 dropped him to 5-under, where he stayed until a bogey on 13 and one on 16. But the junior finished with a birdie on 18 to finish a season-best fourth at 1-under 287 (74-72-73-68), six back of Stanford winner Patrick Rodgers.

    Smith, who was in the top 5 most of the tournament, wasn't as sharp in today's final round as he was earlier in the event, but it was good enough to tie for ninth, his second-best effort of the season, at 4-over 292 (71-71-72-78). He was in the hunt for a top 5 finish at 2-over before a quad on the par 5 15th set back much of his hard work earlier in the event. He had birdied the hole the previous three rounds.

    Senior Jeffrey Kang tied for 31st at 12-over 300 (79-72-78-72) while freshman Rico Hoey tied for 45th at 16-over 304 (78-73-78-75). Kang had four birdies in his final round, and was even on his back 9. Hoey was 4-over on the front before a 1-under back that featured an eagle on the 15th.

    Junior Anthony Paolucci tied for 47th at 17-over 305 (76-80-78-71) while senior Ramsey Sahyoun tied for 65th at 33-over 321 (78-76-89-78). Paolucci was 1-under on both nines today with four birdies.

    Next up for USC is the NCAA Regionals, scheduled for May 15-17. Location is to be determined.