No. 13 Trojans Set For Ninth Straight Championship Final Appearance

    May 25, 2015

    The No. 13 USC men's golf team, led by sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Sean Crocker, is set for its ninth consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships finals, Friday to Wednesday (May 29-June 3), at the Concession G.C. in Bradenton, Fla.

    The top 15 teams after 54 holes (May 29-31) on the challenging par-72, 7,483-yard course advance to a final stroke play round (June 1), when the field will be trimmed to eight teams who advance to a three-round match play tournament for the NCAA title. Quarterfinals and semifinals are set for June 2 with the final on June 3. The final stroke play round on June 1 will determine the individual champion.

    Action begins at 7 a.m. ET each of the first three days. USC will tee off Friday (May 29) at 4:20 a.m. PT and will play in the afternoon wave on Saturday. Results will be available here.

    Golf Channel will broadcast coverage of the final day of stroke play on June 1 from 1-4 p.m. PT. It will air match play action June 2 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. and from 12:30-4 p.m. PT and will cover the championships match June 3 from 12-4 p.m. PT.

    The Trojans will play the same course where the NCAA Women's Golf Championships were held.

    USC is making its 56th team trip to the NCAA final (third most behind Oklahoma State's 68 and Texas' 61, including this season) and its ninth trip in a row under ninth-year head coach Chris Zambri. USC is tied for second with Texas for the longest active streak at nine. UCLA owns the longest streak at 12 ... The match play system to determine the NCAA champion returned in 2009, the only year USC advanced out of the stroke play portion of the championships. That year, USC rallied from a rough start to tie for third (led by Tom Glissmeyer, who also tied for third). The Trojans then fell to Michigan in the quarterfinals ... The Trojans are still after the program's first NCAA title ... USC struggled to 30th in 2014, tied for 23rd in 2013, tied for 15th in 2012, tied for 12th in 2011 and was 15th in 2010.... USC's highest finish at an NCAA Championship final is third, something the Trojans did most recently in 2008, when they finished just two strokes out of first. That was Troy's top result since a third in 1975. The Trojans' most recent top 10 finish prior to 2008 came in 2005, when they took sixth ... Troy boasts four NCAA individual title winners. Scott Simpson won back-to-back NCAA crowns in 1976 and 1977 and Ron Commans did it in 1981. A long drought ended in 2007 when then-freshman Jamie Lovemark came from behind to win the individual title ... After failing to advance as a team in 2006 (though Taylor Wood qualified individually and tied for 27th), USC returned to the NCAA Championships final in 2007. Though USC was cut after three rounds, Lovemark's score, however, allowed him to continue as an individual entry, setting himself up for his final-round run to the title.



    Sean Crocker was tabbed the 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and joined sophomore Rico Hoey as All-Pac-12 first team selections. Crocker, from Westlake Village, Calif., provides the Trojans with back-to-back Freshman of the Year honors (Hoey won in 2014), and is the sixth Trojan to earn the award. USC ninth-year head coach Chris Zambri has coached five of the six USC golfers who have been named Freshman of the Year. In addition to Hoey and Crocker, T.J. Vogel was co-Freshman of the Year in 2010, Matt Giles won in 2008 and Jamie Lovemark won in 2007. Hoey earned All-Pac-12 first team honors for the second straight year while Jonah Texeira joined Crocker on the All-Pac-12 Freshman Team.

    Sophomore Rico Hoey was among 24 NCAA golfers selected to the first 2015 Ben Hogan Award watch list. The Ben Hogan Award is presented annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the past 12-month period. Hoey is just one of seven underclassmen on the list.

    Rico Hoey
    * Sophomore Rico Hoey, a 2014 All-American, is second on the team with a stroke average of 70.55 and has a team-high 18 rounds in the 60s.
    * Hoey has six top 5 finishes, most recently helping USC qualify for the NCAA Championships final thanks to a fourth at the NCAA Bremerton Regional at 8-under 208 (69-69-70). He was third at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at 5-under 205 (66-65-74), second at the Bill Cullum Invitational at 12-under 204 (65-67-72), tied for second (while playing individually) at the Western Refining College All-America at 7-under 206 (69-66-71), tied for fifth at the Amer Ari Invitational at 12-under 204 (66-66-72) and was fourth at the Jones Invitational at 3-under 213 (70-72-71).
    * Among his 13 tournaments, he's gone under 70 in the second round eight times.
    * He carded a 74 as one of 14 collegiate players that competed in the inaugural Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase on Feb. 16 at the Riviera C.C. He tied for sixth in the 14-player field.

    Sean Crocker
    * Freshman Sean Crocker is off to a tremendous start to his career with a team-best-tying 18 rounds in the 60s in 13 events. He tops the team in stroke average (70.20) and has been USC's top finisher six times, including in three straight events at one point and in four of the past seven.
    * He has six top 6 finishes and eight in the top 10, including a tie for first at the Jones Invitational where he carded an 8-under 208 (69-73-66) before falling in the second hole of a playoff.
    * He tied for second at 5-under 208 (68-72-68) at the Southwestern Intercollegiate, took fourth at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at 2-under 208 (73-68-67), tied for fourth at The Prestige at PGA West at 10-under 206 (69-69-68) and was fifth at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters at 7-under 209 (70-69-72).
    * In his first two collegiate postseason events, he tied for sixth at the Pac-12 Championships at par 280 (72-68-72-68) and was ninth at the NCAA Bremerton Regional at 5-under 211 (66-72-73).
    * He has finished worse than a tie for 21st only twice this year.

    Jonah Texeira
    * Freshman Jonah Texeira, like fellow frosh Sean Crocker, has gotten off to a strong start and is third on the team in stroke average (71.70) to go with 11 rounds in the 60s.
    * Texeira has a trio of top 10 finishes and eight in the top 23, including a third at the Bill Cullum at 11-under 205 (67-66-72), a tie for sixth at the Jones Invitational at 1-under 215 (70-70-75) and a tie for 10th at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at 1-under 209 (67-69-73). He was USC's high finisher at the Western Intercollegiate with a tie for 17th at 5-over 215 (74-66-75).
    * At the Pac-12 Championships, he tied for 15th at 3-under 213 (71-74-68).

    Bobby Gojuangco
    * Junior Bobby Gojuangco is fifth on the team in stroke average (72.70), has 10 rounds in the 60s and has a quartet of top 11s, tying for seventh at the Bill Cullum Invitational at 5-under 211 (68-71-72), posting a tie for 10th at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at 1-under 209 (69-67-73) and tying for 11th at the Amer Ari Invitational at 10-under 206 (69-67-70) and at the Jones Invitational at par 216 (68-75-73).
    * He fired a USC career best 65 in the final round of The Goodwin, where he led USC with a tie for 20th at -1 209 (72-72-65).

    Eric Sugimoto
    * Senior Eric Sugimoto is sixth on the team with a stroke average of 72.81 and has a pair of top 15 results, including a tie for ninth in the season-opening Southwestern Intercollegiate at 3-over 216 (72-76-68). He also tied for 14th at the Gifford Collegiate-CordeValle at 1-over 214 (70-74-70).

    Paul Smith
    * Senior Paul Smith is fourth on the team at 72.42 with seven rounds in the 60s.
    * He finished a season-best tied for third at the Gifford Collegiate-CordeValle at 7-under 206 (67-73-66) and has three other top 23 finishes.

    * Sophomore Danny Ochoa has seen action in four events with a season-best tie for 44th at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate. Junior Andrew Levitt has played twice with a season-best tie for 48th at the Southwestern Intercollegiate. Freshman Bakari Bolden played in the season-opening Southwestern Intercollegiate, tying for 42nd. Sophomore Khaled Attieh has not seen action yet this year. USC has also added spring semester junior transfer from David Kim.

    2014-15 OUTLOOK IN BRIEF
    USC returns three starters from last year's squad that made its eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship final round (tied for second longest active streak nationally), including Hoey and returning seniors Paul Smith and Eric Sugimoto.

    Hoey put together one of the top seasons in Trojan golf history as a 2014 freshman, leading USC in stroke average (71.36), top 10 finishes (eight), rounds in the 60s (16), birdies (165) and eagles (eight) en route to 2014 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, All-Pac-12 first team and GCAA All-West Region honors. A 2014 Palmer Cup pick, Hoey's 16 rounds in the 60s and his 26 rounds of par or better were the most since Jamie Lovemark's 20 and 27, respectively, during his 2007 freshman season. Hoey's eight top 10s were actually all top 7 or better, including six in the top.

    Smith had five top 20 finishes last season, including a tie for seventh at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. He has three rounds in the 60s, each coming in final rounds, and was fifth on the team with a 73.44 stroke average.

    Sugimoto joined the Trojans in spring and was third on the team in stroke average (72.96) while posting a pair of top 10 finishes.

    Also back and looking for increased roles are junior Bobby Gojuangco and sophomores Khaled Attieh and Danny Ochoa. Bolstering the lineup as well is a trio of freshmen in Sean Crocker, Jonah Texeira and Bakari Bolden. USC has also added spring semester junior transfer David Kim, who played his first two years for Illinois.

    Key losses from last year included departed senior and former All-American Jeffrey Kang, senior and frequent starter Ramsey Sahyoun and departed junior Anthony Paolucci, who left school a year early to pursue a professional career.


    Southwestern Intercollegiate
    Freshman Sean Crocker tied for second at 5-under to lead USC's season-opening efforts at the 2014 Southwestern Intercollegiate, the Trojans taking second after final-round play finished at the North Ranch C.C. in Westlake Village, Calif., on Sept. 9. USC combined for a three-round 11-over 863 (288-292-283), finishing 15 back of winner Stanford (848). Washington State was 10 back of the Trojans for third (873) while Pepperdine, co-hosting with Troy, was seventh (885). Crocker tied for second at 5-under 208 (68-72-68) after his second 3-under round of the tournament. He was 1-under going out and 2-under coming home with four birdies on the day. Senior Eric Sugimoto tied for ninth at 3-over 216 (72-76-68) while sophomore Rico Hoey, in his first event after his All-American freshman campaign, tied for 16th at 6-over 219 (74-73-72). Sugimoto opened play 4-under through 10 before settling for 3-under with a five-birdie round. Hoey was 1-over on the front with two birdies and even on the back with two more birdies.

    Itani Quality Homes Collegiate
    Sophomore Rico Hoey took third while the USC men's golf team rallied to tie Oregon and force a playoff before falling on the first hole on the final day of the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at the Paolouse Ridge in Pullman, Wash. The Trojans finished at 6-under 834 (273-270-291) during a windy final round and tied with Oregon after a tight final few holes. In the playoff on 18, Oregon finished with one birdie, two pars and two bogeys to best USC's three pars and two bogeys. Cal took third at 3-under 837. Hoey finished third at 5-under 205 (66-65-74) while junior Bobby Gojuangco (69-67-73) and freshman Jonah Texeira (67-69-73) tied for 10th for collegiate bests at 1-under 209. Hoey finished one stroke back of first and had four birdies against six bogeys in the day for his first top 10 of the year. He had eight last year.

    Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational
    Freshman Sean Crocker finished fourth to lead the USC men's golf team on the final day of the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at the Colonial C.C. in Fort Worth, Texas. The Trojans finished sixth at 32-over 872 (293-289-290), 21 back of first-place Oregon (851) while Stanford took second (857) and Oklahoma third (860). USC had finished in the top 2 of its first two events in the fall. Crocker posted his second top 4 finish of the season with today's result after tying for second at the season-opening Southwestern Intercollegiate. Crocker carded a team-best fifth round in the 60s this season to finish at 2-under 208 (73-68-67). Starting on the 10th hole, he was 3-under through 9 and got back to 3 under with a birdie on 9 to finish the day. Sophomore Rico Hoey tied for 22nd at 10-over 220 (72-71-77). He was 1-over on the front 9 but couldn't get untracked on the back 9, going 6-over.

    Bill Cullum Invitational
    Sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Jonah Texeira finished second and third, respectively, while freshman Sean Crocker and senior Paul Smith each closed with 5-under final rounds as the USC men's golf team won the Bill Cullum Invitational by 11 strokes on at the Wood Ranch G.C. in Simi Valley, Calif. The Trojans won at 31-under 833 (275-280-278), 11 better than second-place Arizona State and 28 better than third-place Washington State. It is USC's second first-place finish, though it fell in a playoff in the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate. Hoey finished second at 12-under 204 (65-67-72) while Texeira was third at 11-under 205 (67-66-72). It was Hoey's second top 3 finish and Texeira's second top 10. Hoey carded a pair of birdies and an eagle on the par 5 18th hole while Texeira had four birdies in the final round.

    Gifford Collegiate Championship
    Senior Paul Smith used a final-round 66 to finish a Trojan career-best third while freshman Sean Crocker tied for 10th as the No. 18 USC men's golf team took second at the Gifford Collegiate at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif., on Nov. 5 in the team's final day of fall action. The Trojans, in the six-player, count-five format, finished at 12-under 1053 (353-345-355), three back of No. 8 UCLA (1050) and 13 better than third-place No. 16 Stanford (1066). USC, which was coming off a win in its previous event (the Bill Cullum Invitational), booked its fourth top 2 finish in five fall events. Smith finished at 7-under 206 (67-73-66) to tie for third, two back of first, for his best effort as a Trojan. His previous highest finish was a tie for seventh last year. Starting on the 2nd hole in the shotgun start, he birdied three of his first seven holes en route to a six-birdie, one-bogey round. Crocker's tie for 10th at 2-under 211 (69-68-74) is his third top 10 of fall play. He was 1-under on the front 9, 4-over on the back.

    Amer Ari Invitational
    Freshman Sean Crocker fired a 5-under 67 and junior Bobby Gojuangco finished under par for the third straight day as the No. 15 USC men's golf team tied for third on the final day of the Amer Ari Invitational at Waikoloa Beach in Hawaii on Feb. 7. The Trojans started the day in second, three back of leader Washington, and vaulted to the lead after the turn, but were overtaken by a hot Arizona State squad that won at 38-under 826 (277-278-271). The Huskies finished second at 36-under 828 (277-269-282) while USC (and Oregon) tied for third at 35-under 829 (276-273-280). The finish was USC's fifth top 3 in six starts. Sophomore Rico Hoey tied for fifth at 12-under 204 (66-66-72), five back of first, the sophomore proving human Saturday after two blistering rounds to open the tournament. He had five birdies on the day, but lost ground with a triple bogey on the par 3 7th hole. Still, it was his third top 5 this season. Gojuangco proved steady again, tying for 11th at 10-under 206 (69-67-70). He was 1-over on the front 9 before finishing at 3-under on the back for his third top 11 of the year. Crocker, meanwhile, was hot all round and finished tied for 18th at 8-under 208 (70-71-67), registering his team-best ninth round in the 60s this season.

    The Prestige at PGA West
    Freshmen Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira polished off three strong days of play with final-round 68s, both posting top 15 finishes, to lead the No. 4 USC men's golf team during the third round of The Prestige at PGA West, Wednesday (Feb. 18), on the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course in La Quinta, Calif. The Trojans placed eighth at 15-under 849 (283-284-282), finishing outside the top 3 for only the second time in seven events this season. Arizona State won the tournament at 31-under 833 (279-274-280) while Stanford was second at 27-under 837 (288-281-268). Crocker tied for fourth at 10-under 206 (69-69-68), his third top 4 finish and fourth in the top 10. His final round was his fourth straight in the 60s and was his team-best 12th this year (in 21 rounds). He was 3-under on the front 9 with five birdies and was 1-under on the back with his sixth birdie on 13. Texeira tied for 14th at 6-under 215 (70-72-68) for his third top 15 this year and he now has seven rounds in the 60s.

    The Jones Invitational
    Freshman Sean Crocker fired a final-round 66 to earn a share of the individual title and lead the No. 4 USC men's golf team to its third win of the year, a 16-stroke victory at the Jones Invitational at the Valencia (Calif.) C.C. on Feb. 24. The Trojans combined for a 54-hole 14-under 850 (277-288-285) to claim their third win of the season as four players finished in the top 11 to help USC distance itself from the field. Kennesaw State was second at 2-over 866 with Northwestern third at 6-over 870. Crocker tied for first at 8-under 208 (69-73-66), using a 6-under final round to grab a share of first and force a playoff with Winthrop's Zach Seabolt. After the two holed pars on the first playoff hole, Seabolt made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 2nd hole for the win. Crocker's final round featured six birdies, five during a 5-under back 9 that included birdies on 15, 17 and 18 to catch Seabolt. Sophomore Rico Hoey also turned in a strong tournament and took fourth at 3-under 213 (70-72-71) for his fifth top 5 this year. He had four birdies on the day.

    Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
    Freshman Sean Crocker finished fifth for his third straight top 5 finish to pace the No. 3 USC men's golf team on the final day of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in Las Vegas on March 11. The Trojans finished ninth at 3-over 867 (287-283-297). Texas won at 26-under 838 while Oklahoma was second at 16-under 848. Crocker moved to five top 5 results after finishing at 7-under 209 (70-67-72), eight back of run-away winner Robby Shelton of Alabama. Crocker was even on both nines today, mixing four birdies against four bogeys. Senior Eric Sugimoto tied for 30th at par 216 (71-72-73) with three birdies and two double bogeys in his final round. Sophomore Rico Hoey tied for 48th at 4-over 220 (72-69-79).

    Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
    Junior Bobby Gojuangco carded a final round and USC career best 65 to lead the No. 9 USC men's golf team during the final round of The Goodwin on March 28 at the Stanford (Calif.) G.C. The Trojans finished a combined 4-over 844 (290-277-277), in eighth, rallying from a tough first round to finish with back-to-back 3-under rounds. Gojuangco turned in his 5-under 65 to finish tied for 20th at 1-under 209 (72-72-65). He had six birdies on the day, including four on the front nine. His previous best round as a Trojan was a 67. Junior Rico Hoey (75-68-67) and senior Eric Sugimoto (70-66-74) tied for 24th at par 210. Hoey had five final-round birdies, Sugimoto one.

    Western Intercollegiate
    Freshman Jonah Texeira tied for 17th to pace the USC men's golf team as the Trojans took seventh to wrap up regular season play at the Western Intercollegiate at the Pasatiempo G.C., in Santa Cruz., Calif. USC combined for a six-player, count-five 43-over 1093 (357-370-366). Texas won at 2-over 1052. Texeira tied for 17th at 5-over 215 (74-66-75) for his sixth top 21 finish this year while sophomore Rico Hoey tied for 26th at 7-over 217 (71-78-68). Freshman Sean Crocker tied for 40th at 11-over 221 (72-76-73), senior Paul Smith, playing individually, was 49th at 12-over 222 (76-73-73) and senior Eric Sugimoto was 50th at 13-over 223 (69-79-75).

    Pac-12 Championships
    Freshman Sean Crocker used a final-round 68 to tie for sixth while the No. 16 USC men's golf team finished the 2015 Pac-12 Men's Golf Championships in fourth on April 29 at the Palouse Ridge G.C. in Pullman, Wash. The Trojans combined for a 72-hole 17-over 1417 (355-344-361-357), 21 back of first-place Stanford (1396). Oregon finished second at 10-over 1410, one better than third-place and day three leader Arizona State (1411). Washington was fifth at 35-over 1435. Crocker tied for sixth at even 280 (72-68-72-68) for his seventh top 10 this year. He had four birdies on the day, including three in a row between 14 and 16. His final round gives him a team best 17 rounds in the 60s. Sophomore Rico Hoey tied for 17th at 4-over 284 (68-74-69-73). His final round got off to a slow start, 5-over through 9, but he finished the back 9 at 2-under. It was his eighth top 20 this season.

    NCAA Bremerton Regional
    Junior Bobby Gojuangco fired a 5-under 67 while sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Sean Crocker posted top 10 finishes to lead the No. 14 USC men's golf team to third place - and a spot in the 2015 NCAA Championships final -- at the NCAA Regional at Olympic Course at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash., on May 16. The Trojans earned their ninth straight trip the NCAA final - the second longest streak in the country -- at a combined 17-under 847 (281-288-278), closing with a 10-under final round. UAB won the regional at 21-under 843 while the region's top seed, South Carolina, was second at 19-under 845. TCU and the region's host, Washington, tied for fourth to capture the final two spots from the region at 10-under 854. Hoey finished fourth at 8-under 208 (69-69-70) while Crocker took ninth at 5-under 211 (66-72-73). Hoey had three birdies today and finished the final 14 holes at 3-under. Crocker was 3-over on his front, including an eagle, and was 2-under on the back with two birdies. Freshman Jonah Texeira tied for 15th at 3-under 213 (71-74-68) thanks to a five-birdie day, including three over the final five holes. It was his 11th round under 70 this year.