Feb. 28, 2014
The USC men's golf team, ranked No. 23 and coming off its second second-place finish this season, squares off against crosstown rival UCLA on Monday at the Valley Club in Santa Barbara, Calif., in an eight-man match-play event.
The Trojans, who just missed winning their first event of the season after finishing second by one stroke at the Jones Invitational on Tuesday, will take on the Bruins in this uniquely scored 18-hole match.
Each head-to-head round counts as one point, as do each of the head-to-head front and back 9s. The most combined points of the match wins. The matches will tee off between 11:40 a.m. and 12:10 p.m.
USC, under eighth-year head coach Chris Zambri, who has led Troy to the NCAA Championships each of his first seven seasons, is led by seniors Jeffrey Kang, a 2012 All-American, and Ramsey Sahyoun, as well as junior Anthony Paolucci.
Joining the Trojans are a host of newcomers including junior Paul Smith, the younger brother of the recently graduated All-American Sam Smith, sophomore transfer Bobby Gojuangco and freshmen Rico Hoey, Danny Ochoa and Khaled Attieh. USC has also added junior transfer Eric Sugimoto, who joined the Trojans in the spring semester.
Junior Anthony Paolucci won his first collegiate tournament at the recent Jones Invitational, holding on for a one-stroke victory thanks to a birdie on the 18th hole to win at par 216 (70-73-73). The win was also his fourth top 10 and fifth top 12 finish this season ... He is first on the team in stroke average (71.33) to go with a team-high-tying seven rounds in the 60s and is ranked No. 51. He has a trio of top 5 finishes and five in the top 12. He claimed second at the Gifford Collegiate at 7-under 203 (68-66-69) and tied for fifth at the Arizona Intercollegiate at 1-over 214 (65-70-79) where his first round was a collegiate best. He also tied for ninth at the Amer Ari Invitational at 10-under 206 (68-67-71) and tied for 12th at the William H. Tucker Invitational at 5-over 221 (73-73-75) ... A fast starter, Paolucci has fired sub-70 rounds in four of eight starts this year and has not shot higher than 73 in any first round. His second rounds haven't been too bad, either with nothing worse than a 74.
Freshman Rico Hoey is second on the Trojans with a 71.48 stroke average to go with a team-high-tying seven rounds in the 60s. He boasts one of USC's two wins this season, a victory at the Gifford Collegiate in November when he finished at 8-under 202 (68-66-68). He is USC's highest ranked player in Golfweek.com's individual rankings at No. 47. Hoey also tied for fourth at the U.S. Collegiate Championship at 4-under 212 (70-71-71), took fifth at the Jones Invitational at 5-over 221 (74-73-74) and tied for seventh at the Amer Ari Invitational at 11-under 205 (65-69-71). He was in the top 10 mix in his collegiate debut at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational, but was disqualified after signing for an incorrect scorecard. He has four top 10 finishes this year.
Senior Jeffrey Kang, an All-American as a 2012 sophomore, is third on the team with a stroke average of 72.71 and he has posted five top 12 finishes, including a second-place at the Amer Ari Invitational at 15-under 201 (66-67-68). It was USC's lowest 54-hole score since Rory Hie won the 2008 U.S. Intercollegiate at 10-under 200. Kang tied for eighth at the Kikkor Individual at 4-over 217 (72-70-75), tied for 10th at the Jones Invitational at 7-over 223 (76-73-74), tied for 12th at the William H. Tucker at 5-over 221 (74-74-73) and tied for 12th at the Arizona Intercollegiate (70-73-75).
Junior Paul Smith, the younger brother of former Trojan All-American Sam Smith and a first-year Trojan, has a trio of top 20 finishes this season, including a tie for seventh at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational at 2-under 214 (72-73-69) and a tie for 18th at the Gifford Collegiate at 3-over 213 (75-70-68). He then tied for 19th at the Jones Invitational at 10-over 226 (74-76-76). He has two rounds in the 60s.
Eric Sugimoto is the squad's newest member, the junior joining the Trojans this spring after two seasons at Pacific. He won the 2013 Big West Championships title as a sophomore for his first collegiate win and earned All-Big West first team honors. He has seen action in every spring event, including a tie for 20th at the Amer Ari Invitational at 8-under 208 (70-70-68) and a tie for 15th at the Jones Invitational at 9-over 225 (74-74-77).
Senior Ramsey Sahyoun, who has been a regular contributor for the Trojans throughout his career, has seen action in seven events this season, highlighted by a tie for 34th at the Kikkor Individual.
Bobby Gojuangco, Danny Ochoa, Khaled Attieh
USC's remaining newcomers include sophomore transfer Bobby Gojuancgo, who came from San Diego State, and freshmen Danny Ochoa and Khaled Attieh. All three are from San Diego.
Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational
In USC's season-opening event, the Trojans, featuring a lineup that included four newcomers, tied for seventh at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. Smith, the junior transfer, led USC with a tie for seventh at 2-under 214 (72-73-69). Hoey had put together a great first tournament at 4-under 212 (73-68-71), but a scorecard error on a 5-over final hole disqualified his round.
William H. Tucker Invitational
Kang, making his season debut, and Paolucci tied for 12th to lead then-No. 23 USC men's golf team to third place at the William H. Tucker Invitational at the University of New Mexico Championship Course on Sept. 28. The Trojans, who registered the second-lowest final round, finished at 23-over 887 (291-302-294), 24 back of host and winner New Mexico (863) and six behind second place Arizona State (881). Kang (74-74-73) and Paolucci (73-73-75) tied for 12th at 5-over 221.
U.S. Collegiate Championship
Hoey posted a collegiate best tie for fourth while Paolucci tied for 23rd to lead USC at the U.S. Collegiate Championship, where USC finished ninth. The Trojans finished at 5-over 869 (290-289-290), remaining in ninth for the third day in a row in a tough 15-team field. No. 5 Oklahoma State claimed the top spot while host No. 2 Georgia Tech finished second. Hoey tied for fourth at 4-under 212 (70-71-71). He opened his final round with an eagle on the par 5 1st hole, bogeyed 3 and 5 and finished the front 9 with birdies on 6, 7 and 9. He cooled off with a 2-over back 9 but still finished under par for the third day in a row.
Gifford Collegiate Championship
Hoey finished his final three holes at 4-under to collect his first collegiate win, leapfrogging junior teammate and second-place finisher Paolucci in the process, the duo helping the USC men's golf team rally to a second-place finish on the final day of the Gifford Collegiate Championship on Nov. 5. The Trojans, who began the final round nine back of top-ranked Alabama, finished second at 4-under 836 (283-277-279), just three behind the victorious Crimson Tide (836=275-276-285). Hoey claimed the top spot at 8-under 202 (68-66-68), as he and Paolucci became USC's first golfers to post three sub-70 rounds in an event since Kang did it as a sophomore at the Amer Ari Invitational from Feb. 1-3, 2012.
Paolucci tied for fifth while Kang tied for 12th to lead the No. 22 Trojan men's golf team, which finished fourth at the Arizona Intercollegiate at the Sewallo G.C. in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 28. The Trojans took a two-stroke lead into the final day and were engaged with a back-and-forth with California for much of the final round, but slipped off the pace on the back 9 and finished at 20-over 872 (281-283-308). Cal won with a 1-over 853 with host Arizona second (15-over 867) and New Mexico third (19-over 871). Paolucci led by two strokes after the 36-hole first day and actually extended the lead early in the final round with a 1-under front 9, but a forgettable back 9 cost the junior a shot at his first collegiate victory as he finished at 1-over 214 (65-70-79). Despite the rough finish, it was his second straight top 5 mark.
Amer Ari Invitational
Senior Jeffrey Kang turned in another strong effort and came oh-so-close to his second career tournament win while junior Anthony Paolucci and freshman Rico Hoey also posted top finishes as the No. 24 USC men's golf team tied for third at the 24th annual Amer Ari Invitational at the Waikoloa (Hawaii) G.C., on Saturday (Feb. 8). USC, which won the event in 2009, finished a combined 29-under 835 (273-280-282). Oklahoma State won at 45-under 819 with Washington second at 33-under 831. Kang, who claimed his first collegiate title in Waikoloa in 2012 after defeating current PGA player Jordan Spieth, seemed poised to win again with a late lead. But Oklahoma State's Jordan Niebrugge caught fire on the back 9, going 5-under over the last five holes, including an eagle on the par 5 18th, to win at 16-under 200. Kang took second at 15-under 201 (66-67-68), USC lowest 54-hole total since Rory Hie carded a 200 in 2008. Kang started on the fourth hole and got to 16-under with a birdie on 2, but finished with a bogey on 3 to close his round. Still, it was Kang's first time that he strung three sub-70 rounds in the same event since his last win in Hawaii. Hoey tied for seventh at 11-under 205 (65-69-71) while Paolucci tied for ninth at 10-under 206 (68-67-71). It was the third top 10 finish for each player. They share the team lead with six rounds in the 60s.
Prestige at PGA West
Freshman Rico Hoey fired a final-round 69 while junior Eric Sugimoto topped USC's individual finishers with a tie for 21st as the No. 22 USC men's golf team completed play at the Prestige at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., on Wednesday (Feb. 19). The Trojans finished ninth at 3-over 855 (288-286-281). Stanford (831) held off Washington (833) to claim the team title. Sugimoto topped USC's team for the first time in his brief Trojan career, tying for 21st at par 213 (73-70-70). His final round was highlighted by three consecutive birdies mid-round. Junior Paul Smith tied for 28th in his first spring start at 2-over 214 (73-71-71) and finished his round with three straight birdies. Junior Anthony Paolucci, who began the day looking for his fourth straight top 10, tied for 35th at 4-over 216 (69-71-76). In a roller coaster final round, Paolucci mixed five birdies with a handful of uneven holes that cost him a shot at a top 10 finish.
Junior Anthony Paolucci birdied 18 to secure his first career collegiate victory while the No. 23 USC men's golf team fell one stroke short of forcing a playoff, taking second place overall, during the final round of the Jones Invitational at the Saticoy C.C. in Somis, Calif. The Trojans finished the 54-hole event at a combined 18-over 882 (292-293-297), one back of San Diego State, whose final round 292 was the best of the day. USC's finish was its second second-place finish this season and fourth in the top 3. Paolucci took first at par 216 (70-73-73), one better than the Aztecs' Riccardo Michelini. They entered the final round tied and Paolucci led by two before he bogeyed 13 and Michelini birdied 14. In a two-person battle for first, both players parred 15, 16 and 17 before Paolucci broke the stalemate with his birdie on 18.