USC Starts Fast At NCAA Championships

    May 29, 2015


    Sophomore Rico Hoey fired a 2-under 70 while his four Trojan teammates all carded solid 1-over 73s to lead the No. 13 USC men's golf team to third place after the first round of the 2015 NCAA Championships on Friday (May 29) at the Concession G.C. in Bradenton, Fla.

    The Trojans, who played in the morning wave of 15 teams, combined for a 3-under 289, three back of first-place Illinois and one behind second-place Georgia.

    Following 54 holes of the championship, the field will be reduced in half and a final 18 holes will be played on June 1. The individual winner will be decided that day and the top eight teams will advance into an eight-team bracket (June 2-3) to determine the national champion.

    There's a lot of golf to go before that, but USC ninth-year head coach Chris Zambri is pleased with the Trojans' start in their ninth straight appearance in the NCAA final.

    "I didn't really look at the scores after the round. When I checked, I was just happy all five guys were in it," Zambri said. "It looked like everybody had a good day. I know some guys could do better, they all could. But to have five guys in it gives us our best chance. Everyone has to be part of it and it looks like everyone has a chance to help us this week.

    "I think it's a good course for this group. It's weird to say the course fits both our long and short hitters, but it fits us well."

    Hoey opened play with a birdie on 1 and strung together nine consecutive pars before his second birdie on 11. He bogeyed the par 5 13th hole but got back to 2-under with a birdie on 15 and is tied for second, two off the lead.

    Senior Eric Sugimoto, junior Bobby Gojuangco and sophomores Jonah Texeira and Sean Crocker are all tied for 34th at 1-over 73.



    Crocker. USC's leader in stroke average coming into the event, was even at the turn and one over coming back with five birdies on the day. Texeira was also even on the front nine and was still even before a bogey on 18.

    Gojuangco was 1-under on the front with birdies on 2 and 3. His only hiccup up on the back was a double bogey on 12.

    Sugimoto was 1-over on the front with birdies on 3 and 4. He got to 1-under with a birdie on 14 before finishing at 1-over.

    USC will begin second round play, again with Virginia and Oklahoma State, beginning at 9:40 a.m. PT in the second wave of teams.