No. 20 USC Men's Golf Headed To Pac-12 Championships

    April 22, 2014

    The USC men's golf team, ranked No. 20 and a top 2 finisher in three of its last four events, begins the postseason at the 2014 Pac-12 Championships at the Gallery G.C. in Marana, Ariz., Friday through Sunday (April 25-27).

    Teams, in a six-play, count-five format, will play 72 holes over three days at the par 72, 7,349-yard course, including 36 holes Friday and 18 each Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 6:30 a.m. PT each morning. USC will tee off with California and Colorado off the 1st tee at 6:30 a.m. to begin play Friday.

    Live results will be available at

    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 freshman Rico Hoey and junior Anthony Paolucci while the Trojans get senior leadership from Jeffrey Kang and Anthony Paolucci.

    Hoey is one of many newcomers on this year's squad, including junior Paul Smith, the younger brother of the recently graduated All-American Sam Smith, sophomore transfer Bobby Gojuangco and freshmen Danny Ochoa and Khaled Attieh. USC has also added junior transfer Eric Sugimoto, who joined the Trojans in the spring semester.



    The Trojans have won conference titles a Pac-12-best 19 times, including a 2011 playoff win and a dominating 36-stroke win in 2007. USC came close in 2008 with back-to-back wins (like they did in 2001 and 2002), but fell in a playoff to ASU ... USC finished third in 2012. Troy claimed the crown 15 times between 1962 and 1986 ... USC boasts 21 individual champions, most recently Martin Trainer in 2011, who outlasted Oregon State's Alex Moore during a seven-hole playoff for the win. Jamie Lovemark won in 2007, which ended a drought that dated back to Sam Randolph's tie for first in 1983 ... USC has also earned eight Pac-10 Golfer of the Year honors, including Matt Giles in 2009, Lovemark's 2007 distinction and Kevin Stadler's in 2002.

    USC freshman Rico Hoey, who has seven Top 7 finishes this year, was one of 10 players selected to represent the U.S. in the 2014 Palmer Cup on April 17. This year's event will be held June 26-28 at Walton Health Golf Club in Surrey, England. Hoey was one of six golfers selected by the Palmer Cup ranking thanks to his standout freshman season. He leads the Trojans with a stroke average of 70.59 and has a team-best 14 rounds in the 60s, including a recent streak of seven in a row. Among his seven top 7 finishes was a win at the Gifford Collegiate tournament at 8-under 202 (68-66-68). Hoey has finished in the top 5 in his last four events. Hoey will be the fourth Trojan to compete in the Palmer Cup. Brian Hull (1997) and Jamie Lovemark (2007) represented the U.S while Tim Sluiter played for Europe in 2008 and 2009. USC Coach Chris Zambri coached the U.S. team in 2010.


    Anthony Paolucci
    Junior Anthony Paolucci, ranked No. 14 in the latest Palmer Cup standings, won his first collegiate tournament at the Jones Invitational in February, holding on for a one-stroke victory thanks to a birdie on the 18th hole to win at par 216 (70-73-73) ... He has five top 10 finishes this year and seven top 12s ... He is second on the team in stroke average (71.36) to go with nine rounds in the 60s, second best on the team ... He is ranked No. 50 nationally by .... He took 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 seventh at The Goodwin at 3-under 207 (70-68-69), for ninth at the Amer Ari Invitational at 10-under 206 (68-67-71), tied for 11th at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic at even 216 (74-70-72) and tied for 12th at the William H. Tucker Invitational at 5-over 221 (73-73-75) ... A fast starter, Paolucci has fired 70 or lower in six of 11 first rounds this year and has not shot higher than 74 in any first round. In fact, he's been 73 or lower in all but one second round, too.

    Rico Hoey
    Freshman Rico Hoey, a 2014 Palmer Cup selection as a top 6 automatic pick, leads the Trojans with a 70.59 stroke average to go with a team-high 14 rounds in the 60s, including a recent streak of seven in a row ... He is ranked No. 13 nationally and 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), one of five top 10 finishes ... Hoey, who has been USC's top finisher five times this season, has seven top 7 results (with four straight in the top 5), including back-to-back second-places at The Goodwin at 8-under 202 (66-69-67) and at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic at 9-under 207 (71-69-67) and a tie for third at the Western Intercollegiate at 4-under 206 (68-68-70). He 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.

    Jeffrey Kang
    Senior Jeffrey Kang, an All-American as a 2012 sophomore, is third on the team with a stroke average of 72.43 and he has posted six 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) as well as at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic at 1-under 215 (71-73-71), 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) ... He has four rounds in the 60s this year.

    Paul Smith
    Junior Paul Smith, the younger brother of former Trojan All-American Sam Smith and a first-year Trojan, has a quartet of top 20 finishes this season, including a tie for seventh at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational at 2-under 214 (72-73-69), a tie for 16th at The Goodwin at even 210 (71-73-66), and a tie for 18th at the Gifford Collegiate at 3-over 213 (75-70-68). He also tied for 19th at the Jones Invitational at 10-over 226 (74-76-76). He has three rounds in the 60s, all coming in final rounds.

    Eric Sugimoto
    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, highlighted by a tie for sixth at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic at 2-under 214 (70-74-70). His other finishes include 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) ... He has broken 70 twice.

    Ramsey Sahyoun
    Senior Ramsey Sahyoun, who has been a regular contributor for the Trojans throughout his career, has seen action in eight 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.

    Event Recaps

    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.

    Arizona Intercollegiate
    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.

    Jones Invitational
    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.

    USC-UCLA Match Play
    Junior Paul Smith won 2.5-0.5 while seniors Jeffrey Kang and Ramsey Sahyoun and junior Anthony Paolucci posted 2-1 wins as USC and UCLA tied 12-12 in the 16-man, eight-round match-play event between the crosstown rivals at the Valley Club in Santa Barbara, Calif., on March 3. In the uniquely held event, each head-to-head round counted as one point, as did each of the head-to-head front and back 9s. The teams were set to settle the tie with a playoff, but the course was too dark to play. Smith won his overall match as well as his front and pushed the back for his 2.5-0.5 win. Sahyoun, Kang and Paolucci all won their front 9s and overall. Junior Eric Sugimoto was battling for an extra point and rallied from down 5 to tie it after 17, but lost the 18th hole and lost 1-2. Freshman Rico Hoey tied 1.5-1.5, including a push overall. Sophomore Bobby Gojuangco and freshman Danny Ochoa each lost 0.5-2.5.

    Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic
    Led by freshman Rico Hoey's final-round 67 as well as sub-par rounds from senior Jeffrey Kang and junior Eric Sugimoto, the No. 23 USC men's golf team secured its first win of the season, a seven-stroke victory at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic at the San Diego C.C. in Chula Vista, Calif. USC finished at a combined 12-under 852 (286-286-280), seven better than co-host San Diego State and 10 ahead of third-place Wake Forest. The Trojans closed with a flourish, combining for 6-under on the final four holes. The win was USC's first since back-to-back victories last year at the Prestige at PGA West and at the North Ranch Intercollegiate. Hoey notched his fifth top 7 finish this year with a second-place 9-under 207 (71-69-67), giving him a team-best nine rounds in the 60s this year. His final round included eight birdies, five on the back 9. Sugimoto, a spring semester transfer, recorded his best finish as a Trojan with a 2-under 214 (70-74-70) to tie for sixth while Kang notched his sixth top 12 this year with a 1-under 215 (71-73-71). Sugimoto had four birdies against two bogeys today while Kang and four birdies and three bogeys.

    The Goodwin
    Freshman Rico Hoey finished second while junior Anthony Paolucci tied for seventh, the duo helping No. 23 USC climb into a tie for 2nd on the final day of The Goodwin at the Stanford G.C. on Sunday (March 30). The Trojans tied for second at 5-under 835 (278-285-272) along with UCLA while host Stanford ran away with the title at 25-under 815. The finish was USC's third straight top 2 finish. Hoey and Paolucci, like the team, have been on a roll. Hoey took second at 8-under 202 (66-69-67) for his second straight top 2 finish and sixth in the top 7 while extending his sub-70 streak to five rounds. He was 2-under going out today and 1-under coming home during his five-birdie round. Paolucci, with three straight top 11 results and six in the top 12 this year, tied for seventh at 3-under 207 (70-68-69). He was 2-under through 11, bogeyed 11 and 12, and birdied 16 to finish under par for the day.

    The Western Intercollegiate
    Freshman Rico Hoey posted his fourth straight top 5 with a tie for third while No. 21 USC took sixth to close the regular season at the 68th annual Western Intercollegiate at the Pasatiempo G.C. in Santa Cruz, Calif., on April 13. USC combined for a 22-over 1072 (355-355-362). Hoey, whose streak of rounds in the 60s ended at seven, tied for third at 4-under 206 (68-68-70). He was three under with five birdies before dropping back to even for the round after 17. Hoey was second in his previous two events and fifth in the one before. Senior Jeffrey Kang tied for 23rd at 3-over 213 (69-74-70) while junior Eric Sugimoto tied for 26th at 4-over 214 (74-66-74).