No. 3 USC Third After NCAA Third Round|
May 29, 2016
Junior Rico Hoey’s 1-under 69 and sophomore Sean Crocker’s 1-over 71 spearheaded No. 3 USC’s third round at the 2016 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships on Sunday (May 29) at the Eugene (Ore.) C.C., the Trojans safely making the 15-team cut in third and putting them in solid position to advance to the eight-team match bracket after Monday’s final round.
The Trojans posted a program-best runners-up finish in 2015 and need a top eight spot after 72 holes for another crack at it and are on track to secure just that. After 54 holes, the Trojans’ 10-over 850 (283-282-285) puts them five strokes back of leader Vanderbilt (5-over 845) and three back of Texas (7-over 847). LSU (851) is fourth and is followed in the top eight by Oregon (852), Arkansas (855), Arizona State (857) and California (858).
Hoey is in a four-way tie for fourth at 2-under 208 (70-69-69), four back of Oregon’s Aaron Wise’s 6-under. He opened with an even front 9 mixing three birdies and bogeys. He was 1-under on the back with four birdies against a triple bogey on 14.
Freshman Justin Suh, who led entering Sunday’s play, finished the third round tied for ninth at par 210 (68-67-75). Suh, who is looking for just his second top 10 this year, had two birdies on the day.
Both golfers still have an eye on USC’s first individual NCAA title since Jamie Lovemark won it in 2007 as well as Troy’s first top 10 finish since Tom Glissmeyer tied for third in 2009, the first year of match play format (though stroke play was just 54 holes then).
Should either Hoey or Suh make a run to the top of the leader board Monday, they would join Lovemark, Ron Commans (1981) and Scott Simpson (1976 and 1977) and USC’s NCAA winners.
Senior Andrew Levitt continued his solid play and is tied for 36th at 5-over 215 (70-72-73) with a three-birdie day, including one on 16.
Crocker (78-74-71) joins sophomore Jonah Texeira (75-76-72), tied for 112th at 13-over 223. Crocker’s best effort this week included a 2-under front 9 with birdies on 8 and 9. Texeira, who also had his best round this tournament, had two birdies.
“The team hung in tough today and we set ourselves up to hopefully medal tomorrow,” Hoey said. “We just have to stick to our game plan and keep executing.”
USC will join leader Vanderbilt and Texas with a 12:50 p.m. tee time Monday.
USC finished fifth in stroke play last year to earn its second match-play berth since the format changed 2009. It was that year when the Trojans secured their other match play spot after a third place finish (ultimately losing in the quarterfinals).