March 29, 2017
The No. 1 USC men’s golf team, a 2015 and 2016 NCAA Championships semifinalist coming off five straight top 2 performances this season, including three wins, continues through the spring season at The Goodwin, Thursday through Saturday (March 30-April 1), at the Stanford G.C.
USC, which last won the event in 2008 when it was called the United States Intercollegiate, joins host No. 12 Stanford in the 24-team field along with No. 10 Oregon, No. 17 UNLV, No. 18 Colorado, BYU, Cal Poly, Chico State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Marquette, Nevada, Northern Colorado, Oregon State, Pacific, Pepperdine, San Jose State, Southern Methodist, St. Mary’s, UC Davis, UCLA, USF, Washington and Wyoming.
The field begins play in two flights for each round, at 7:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. USC starts at 12:15 p.m. Thursday and at 7:41 a.m. Friday. Results will be available here.
The Trojans were ranked No. 2 in the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll released in August and received four first-place votes, one of just two schools to receive multiple first-place selections. The other was No. 1 Texas, which defeated the Trojans in the 2106 NCAA semifinals before falling to eventual champion Oregon. Host Illinois joined the Trojans and Longhorns in the 2016 NCAA semifinals.
USC earned the high ranking thanks in part to its best depth in years. Zambri returns seniors Rico Hoey and Andrew Levitt, juniors Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira and sophomore Justin Suh, all starters during a 2015-16 campaign in which Troy was ranked No. 1 for much of the season.
Opinions on the team were also bolstered, no doubt, by its newcomers and overall depth. Added to the mix this season is freshman Cheng Jin, from China, one of the top amateurs in the world, as well as talented freshman Kyle Suppa, both of whom will push for starting spots. Also back are seniors David Kim and Danny Ochoa, sophomore Ryan Slater (USC’s most-used reserve last year) and redshirt freshman Ing Ratanavadi.
2016-2017 EVENT-BY-EVENT STARTING LINEUPS
Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational: Hoey-Crocker-Suh-Levitt-Ochoa
OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite: Crocker-Jin-Hoey-Levitt-Texeira
Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate: Crocker-Jin-Hoey-Levitt-Suh
Cypress Point Classic: Crocker-Jin-Hoey-Levitt-Suh-Texeira
Gifford Collegiate: Crocker-Jin-Hoey-Levitt-Suh-Texeira
Amer Ari Invitational: Crocker-Hoey-Levitt-Suh-Texeira
Southwestern Invitational: Crocker-Hoey-Jin-Suh-Texeira
Southern Highlands Collegiate: Crocker-Hoey-Jin-Suh-Levitt
USC Men’s Notes
* Junior Sean Crocker, who currently leads the No. 1 Trojans this year in stroke average, has been selected to the United States Arnold Palmer Cup. Crocker, who will make his first Arnold Palmer Cup appearance, was selected as a committee selection for the 10-man American team that will take on a 10-man European squad at the annual Ryder Cup-style competition to be played June 9-11 at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Both he and senior Rico Hoey and are also on the 2017 Ben Hogan Award Watch List.
* Crocker spent USC’s spring break at the Italian International Amateur in Acaya, Italy, where he posted a wire-to-wire win. He won at 7-under 277 (68-69-70-70) with a five-shot win.
* Crocker is ranked No. 10 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings with Hoey 17th.
* Former Trojan Stewart Hagestad will make his Masters debut next week after winning the 2016 U.S. Mid-Am. He did so after coming from four holes down with five to go, winning in a playoff. He made five birdies over the final six holes.
* Senior Rico Hoey, ranked 11th nationally, is second on the squad in stroke average (70.30) and first in top 10 finishes (five, including two wins), and rounds in the 60s (10) … Hoey, USC’s low scorer in four straight tournaments, was credited with a win with his 36-hole 12-under 132 (65-67) at the Gifford Collegiate before he went 2-0-1 in three rounds of match play there. He tied for first at the Amer Ari Invitational at 16-under 200 (67-63-70) before falling in a playoff. Hoey’s second round 63 was USC’s best round since then-senior Sam Smith posted a 62 in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Pullman Regional. He tied for fifth at the Southwestern Invitational at 6-under 210 (69-68-73), was fifth at the Western Refining College All-American at 5-under 208 (73-66-69) and tied for ninth at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate at 4-under 212 (76-70-66).
* Junior Sean Crocker, ranked fifth nationally, leads USC in stroke average (70.30), and is second in top 10 finishes (four, with seven finishes in the top 16), and rounds in the 60s (nine). He was fourth at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at 3-under 207 (71-67-69), seventh at the Southwestern Invitational at 4-under 212 (73-69-70), tied for 10th in the 36 holes of the Gifford Collegiate at 5-under 139 (68-71) and tied for seventh at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite at 1-over 211 (69-73-69).
* Junior Jonah Texeira, ranked 78th nationally, is third on USC with a stroke average of 71.36. He has a pair of top two finishes, including a win at the Bill Cullum Invitational at 14-under 202 (66-68-68) and a second in the 36-hole stroke play portion of the Gifford Collegiate at 10-under 134 (67-67). He went 2-1 in his stroke play matches at Gifford as well.
* Sophomore Justin Suh, in his second year as a starter and ranked 51st, is fourth on the squad with a 71.65 stroke average with three top 10 finishes, including a second at the Western Refining College All-American at 9-under 204 (69-68-67) and a third at the Southern Highlands Collegiate at 5-under 211 (70-68-73). He also tied for 10th at the Gifford Collegiate at 5-under 139 (71-68). He is third on the team with eight rounds under 70.
* Senior Andrew Levitt, ranked 120th and sporting a stroke average of 72.50, has three top 21 finishes this year, highlighted by a tie for ninth at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate with a 4-under 212 (74-66-72). He tied for 18th at the Gifford Collegiate at 1-under 143 and tied for 21st at 1-over 211 (72-71-71). He has four rounds in the 60s.
* Freshman Cheng Jin, ranked 104th, has seen immediate action this year, playing in seven events, topped by a tie for third at the Southern Highlands Collegiate at 5-under 211 (69-73-69) and an 11th at the Southwestern Invitational at 1-under 215 (73-72-70). He tied for 18th at the Gifford Collegiate at 1-under 143 (75-68). He won once and tied twice in match play at the Gifford Collegiate.
* Senior Danny Ochoa has played in three events and has a stroke average of 74.44, tying for 15th at the Bill Cullum Invitational at 3-under 213 (72-70-71). Freshman Kyle Suppa has played three times and turned in a top 20 showing at the Amer Ari Invitational, where he finished 19th at 7-under 209 (64-69-76). His opening round was USC’s best since 2013. Also, at the Bill Cullum, he tied for 32nd at 1-over 217 (74-70-73). Senior David Kim has played twice and posted a USC career best tie for 28th at the Southwestern Invitational at 6-over 222 (80-72-70). Freshman Ing Ratanavadi made his Trojan debut at the Southwestern Invitational, finishing 80th, while sophomore Ryan Slater has yet to play.
USC golfers had a successful summer, highlighted by a variety of top finishes.
Hoey, who finished second at the 2016 NCAAs at 3-under 277 en route to PING All-American second team honors, won the 117th SCGA Amateur title in July. Crocker, an All-Pac-12 second teamer, won the Monroe Invitational Championship, posting a four-stroke victory.
Suh, a PING All-American honorable mention pick last season, played as an amateur in the U.S. Open this summer while Jin played in The Master’s in May and won the Players Amateur title in July to earn an exemption into the PGA’s RBC Heritage next spring.
Seven Trojans, including five on this year’s team, played in the 2016 U.S. Amateur, where Texeira carried USC’s flag all the way to the semifinals before bowing out. Texeira’s trip to the U.S. Amateur semifinals repeated Crocker’s run in 2015.