Runners-Up Last Year, No. 3 Trojans Set For 2016 NCAA Championships

    May 25, 2016

    2016 Men's NCAA Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    The No. 3 USC men's golf team, a three-time winner this spring led by All-American duo Rico Hoey and sophomore Sean Crocker as well as sophomore Jonah Texeira, returns to the NCAA Championships finals for a national co-leading 10th year in row in pursuit of its first national title, May 27-June 1, at the Eugene (Ore.) C.C.

    The top 15 teams after 54 holes (May 27-29) will advance to a final stroke play round (May 30), 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 May 31 with the final on June 1. The final stroke play round on June 1 will determine the individual champion.

    Action begins at 7 a.m. PT each of the first three days. USC will tee off Friday (May 27) at 12:20 p.m. PT with fellow top seeds Texas and Stanford and will play in the morning wave on Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. PT. The final stroke play round on May 30 is scheduled to start at approximately 11:30 a.m. The match play quarterfinals begin May 31 at 7 a.m. with semifinals to follow and the championship match on June 1 will start at approximately 2:10 p.m. Results will be available here.

    The Golf Channel will provide three days of live coverage, beginning with the final day of stroke play on May 30 between 4-7 p.m. PT. It will air quarterfinal (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and semifinal (3:30-7 p.m.) coverage on May 31 and will broadcast the championship match from 3-7 p.m. on June 1.

    The NCAA Championships 30-team field includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, California, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Purdue, San Diego State, Stanford, South Carolina, South Florida, USC, Texas, TCU, Vanderbilt, Virginia, UAB and Wake Forest.

    USC, the NCAA runner-up in 2015, is making its 57th team trip to the NCAA final (third most behind Oklahoma State's 69 and Texas' 62, including this season) and its 10th trip in a row under 10th-year head coach Chris Zambri. USC and Texas own the nation's longest active streak of NCAA final appearance (10) and USC, Texas and Illinois are the only schools to advance out of NCAA regional play each season since it was split into six sections in 2009... Before last year, 2009 was the lone year USC had advanced out of the 54-hole stroke play portion of the championships and into the eight-team match-play playoff when the Trojans 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 ... In 2015, the Trojans defeated Texas, 3-0-2, in the NCAA quarterfinals and downed Illinois, 3-1-1, in the semifinals before falling to LSU, 4-1, in the final ... The Trojans are still after the program's first NCAA title ... Before 2015, USC's previous highest finish at an NCAA Championship final was 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.

    USC Advances Out Of NCAA Albuquerque Regional
    The Trojans battled strong winds throughout three days at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional and flirted with the cut line for the first two rounds, but turned in the second-best final round to finish third at the New Mexico Championship course at 31-over 895 (291-311-293) to earn the program's co-nation-leading 10th straight trip to the NCAA finals. With the third-place finish, USC earned a chance to go one step further than it did last year when the Trojans reached the NCAA Championships match play final before falling to LSU. Sophomore Sean Crocker was USC's rock throughout the blustery three days in New Mexico, tying his season-best effort with a second-place finish at 1-over 217 (70-74-73). He had three birdies in his final round, including on 14 and 18 to close his day.

    USC Men's Notes
    *Junior Rico Hoey earned All-Pac-12 first team honors for the third year in a row while sophomores Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira earned second team notice, leading a group of five Trojans who were honored May 4 on the 2016 All-Pac-12 Men's Golf team, as selected by the conference's coaches. Hoey leads the Trojans in stroke average (71.03), rounds in the 60s (12) and top 10 finishes (eight). Crocker, first team a year ago, claimed second team honors with Texeira. Senior Andrew Levitt, in his first year as a starter, claimed All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors while freshman Justin Suh, like Texeira and Crocker last year, earned All-Pac-12 Freshman notice.

    * Junior Rico Hoey earned his second spot on the U.S. Arnold Palmer Cup team on April 15 as an automatic pick thanks to a top 6 points ranking (he was also on the team in 2014). Sophomores Sean Crocker and Jonah Texeira were both ranked in the top 25 earlier in the season. The U.S. vs. Europe Arnold Palmer Cup will take place at Formby Golf Club June 24-26.

    * For the second year in a row, junior Rico Hoey was named to The Ben Hogan Award Watch List while sophomore Sean Crocker was on it for the first time. USC was one of just three schools with multiple players on the watch list, joining Illinois' three and Wake Forest's two.

    Rico Hoey
    * Junior Rico Hoey, ranked 13th nationally, leads USC in stroke average at 71.03 with a team-best 12 rounds in the 60s. He has eight top 10 finishes, five in the top 5 and 10 in the top 20. He placed a season-best second at the Amer Ari Invitational with a 14-under 202 (68-68-66), was fourth at the Husky Invitational at par 213 (74-70-69) and tied for fourth at the Western Intercollegiate at 2-under 208 (67-68-73). He was fifth at The Prestige at PGA West at 6-under 207 (68-71-68), was a team-best tied for fifth at the U.S. Collegiate Championship at 5-under 211 (70-70-71), tied for seventh at the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America at even 213 (65-76-72) and tied for eighth at the Southern Highlands Collegiate at 2-over 218 (76-70-72). Hoey led USC at the Pac-12 Championships, tying for 11th at even 284 (70-70-72-72). He split his two matches at the East Lake Cup Championship Match Play, including a 3&2 win over LSU's Zach Wright. Hoey had a streak of eight straight rounds of 72 or better earlier this year, including the first seven rounds of the spring season.

    Sean Crocker
    * Sophomore Sean Crocker is second on the team in stroke average at 72.11 with eight rounds under 70. He has five top 10s and seven top 20 finishes, including a second at the Husky Invitational at 6-under 207 (69-68-70), a second at the Southern Highlands Collegiate at 3-under 213 (70-68-75) and a second at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional at 1-over 217 (70-74-73) in tough windy conditions. He also has a tie for fifth at the Southwestern Invitational at 5-under 211 (69-68-74) and a tie for eighth at the Patriot All-American at 3-over 216 (71-73-72). Crocker was the only Trojan to win twice at the inaugural East Lake Cup Championship Match Play, defeating Illinois' Nick Hardy, 2&1, and LSU's Sam Burns, 3&2. He was named the Pac-12 Men's Golfer of the Month for March.

    Jonah Texeira
    * Sophomore Jonah Texeira is second on the squad in rounds in the 60s (10) and is third in stroke average (72.62). He has five top 8 outings this year, including a career-best tie for second at the Southwestern Jones Invitational at 7-under 209 (69-67-73). He tied for fourth at the Western Intercollegiate at 2-under 208 (72-67-69), tied for fifth at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at 9-under 206 (70-67-69), tied for eighth at the U.S. Collegiate Championship at 4-under 212 (73-69-70) and was seventh at the Amer Ari Invitational at 8-under 208 (70-67-71). He split his two matches at the East Lake Cup Championship Match Play, including a 3&2 win over LSU's Eric Ricard.

    Andrew Levitt
    * Senior Andrew Levitt has a trio of top 5s this year, including the first collegiate victory of his career at the Southwestern Jones Invitational when he won at 8-under 208 (72-68-68). He also tied for fourth at the Western Intercollegiate at 2-under 208 (68-68-72) and tied for fifth at the Nike Golf Collegiate at 9-under 206 (69-70-67), a then career-best effort. He started for the Trojans at the East Lake Cup Championship Match Play. He lost twice, but took both matches to the wire. He also has a pair of recent top 30 finishes, tying for 27th at the Southern Highlands Collegiate at 7-over 223 (77-71-75) and tying for 29th at The Goodwin at 4-over 214 (75-70-69). He has seven rounds in the 60s. He is fifth on the team in stroke average at 72.94.

    Justin Suh
    * Freshman Justin Suh, a starter from day one in the fall, is fourth on the squad with a stroke average of 72.79 and he has five top 19 finishes, including three in a row and four in the spring. He got his spring semester off to a strong start in his fifth start by tying for 13th with a 5-under 211 (70-69-72) at the Amer Ari Invitational. He almost matched it with a tie for 14th at the Southern Highlands Collegiate at 3-over 219 (73-71-75). He posted a season-best tie for eighth at the Western Intercollegiate at 1-under 209 (67-74-68), tied for 19th at the Pac-12 Championships at 4-over 288 (70-69-71-78'0 and tied for 17th at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional at 10-over 226 (73-80-73). His fall action was topped by a tie for 39th at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at par 215 (67-71-77). He split his two matches at the East Lake Cup Championship Match Play, including a 5&3 win over LSU's Nathan Jeansonne.

    * Freshman Ryan Slater has played in seven events and registered a career-best tie for 13th at the Southwestern Jones Invitational at par 216 (70-73-73) while playing individually. He also tied for 22nd in the Husky Invitational. He started at the Pac-12 Championships, tying for 28th at 8-over 292 (70-69-75-78), his second round a Trojan career best. Senior Bobby Gojuangco posted his top effort this year at the Farms Collegiate Invitational, tying for 28th at 12-over 228 (79-68-81). Danny Ochoa was 46th and David Kim was 64th.

    USC Leads Pac-12's All-Century Team
    USC had a conference-high four selections on the Pac-12's Men's Golf All-Century team -- Scott Simpson, Sam Randolph, Craig Stadler and Dave Stockton -- while the Pac-12's Coach of the Century, Randy Lein, directed the Trojans for almost a decade as well. The 12-member Men's Golf All-Century Team was voted on by a panel of 30 consisting of coaches, players, administrators and members of the media. Each member of the chosen based on their collegiate careers in the Conference. USC's four selections were followed by Stanford (3), Arizona (2), Arizona State (2) and UCLA with one. Out of 70 total nominees, the players named to the team have won 14 College Player of the Year Awards, 6 NCAA individual titles, 34 Majors and 10 Masters. In all, there are 374 professional wins from members of the team.

    USC Men's Outlook in Brief
    The Trojans, under 10th-year coach Chris Zambri, returned four of its five starters from its 2015 postseason run to the NCAA Championships final, including junior Rico Hoey, sophomore Sean Crocker, senior Bobby Gojuangco and sophomore Jonah Texeira. Other returning golfers included senior Andrew Levitt and juniors Danny Ochoa and David Kim. Kim was a 2015 spring semester transfer in January but redshirted last season.

    Zambri welcomed three freshmen into the Trojan Family, including Justin Suh, Ryan Slater and Ing Ratanavadi.

    Crocker, a 2015 GCAA All-American third-teamer, is coming off one of the top seasons ever by a Trojan freshman in 2015 when he led the team in stroke average (70.39), rounds in the 60s (19) and top 10 finishes (eight). Crocker's 19 rounds under 70 were the most by a Trojan since Jamie Lovemark had 20 as a 2007 freshman.

    Hoey, a 2015 GCAA All-American honorable mention pick, was second on the team with a 70.86 stroke average, 18 rounds in the 60s and six top 5 finishes.

    Both were also All Pac-12 first team picks while Crocker, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, joined Texeira on the All-Pac-12 freshman team.

    USC's run to the 2015 NCAA Championship match play final began with a fifth-place finish after four rounds of stroke play, earning a match play spot for the first time since 2009. The Trojans then defeated Texas, 4-1, in the NCAA quarterfinals and dispatched of Illinois, 3.5-1.5, in the semifinals. USC faced LSU in the final and fell 4-1, with three of the five matches decided with just one hole to play.

    2015-16 MEN'S EVENT RECAPS

    Sophomore Sean Crocker fired his third consecutive round under par to finish second at 6-under, junior Rico Hoey staged a late rally to capture fourth at par as the then-No. 5 USC men's golf team finished fourth overall in the season-opening Husky Invitational in Suncadia, Wash., on Sept. 22. The Trojans wrapped play at 18-over 870 (300-284-286) with their second straight strong round. USC finished five back of Oregon and Washington, which tied for first at 13-over 865. Oregon State was third at 17-over 869. Troy's final two rounds were the best combined rounds among the 14 teams. Crocker, who had eight top 10 finishes last year, took second at 6-under 207 (69-68-70) while Hoey, who had six top 5s last year, was fourth at even 213 (74-70-69) as the pair picked up where they left off from their 2015 All-American seasons. Crocker eagled 3 and 15 in the final round to go with birdies on 11 and 16, though late bogeys on 17 and 18 cost him a chance at his second career win.

    Senior Andrew Levitt's final-round 67 and his tie for fifth were career bests while sophomore Jonah Texeira also tied for fifth to lead the USC men's golf team to a tie for second at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at Pumpkin Ridge Oct. 6. The Trojans combined for a 34-under 826 (272-276-278), tied for second with Duke, three behind winner Wake Forest. USC's counting four golfers were a combined 12-under on the back 9 to make it close, but Troy couldn't catch a Deamon Deacon team that led the entire tournament. Levitt (69-70-67) and Texeira (70-67-69) tied for fifth at 9-under 206. Levitt's three rounds were the three best of his Trojan career, spent mostly as a reserve. Levitt was even going out but 5-under during a blistering back 9 that included six birdies. Texeira was also hot coming home, going 4-under with four birdies. Sophomore Sean Crocker tied for 16th at 6-under 209 (67-68-74), junior Rico Hoey tied for 19th at 5-under 210 (69-73-68) and freshman Justin Suh tied for 39th at par 215 (67-71-77).

    Junior Rico Hoey tied for fifth while sophomore Jonah Texeira tied for eighth, pacing the No. 7 USC men's golf team during the final round of the U.S. Collegiate Championship at The Golf Club of Georgia's Lakeside Course in Alpaharetta, Ga., on Oct. 18. The Trojans combined for a 7-over 871(298-287-286), finishing eighth in the 17-team field, 16 back of co-winners Auburn and Wake Forest. USC finished 3-under over its final 36 holes. Hoey posted his third consecutive top 20 to start the season thanks to a 5-under 211 (70-70-71) while Texeira notched his second straight top 10 at 4-under 212 (73-69-70). Hoey was 2-over going out on the back 9, but birdied 1, 2 and 3 to finish under par in each round in Georgia. Texeira, meanwhile, was 1-under going out with birdies on 10 and 11 and 1-under on his final 9.

    The No. 3 USC men's golf team defeated LSU, 4-1, in the consolation match of the inaugural East Lake Cup at the East Lake G.C. in Atlanta on Nov. 3 after falling by the same score to Illinois in the semifinals. In an event that featured the 2015 NCAA Championships match play semifinalists, USC got a measure of redemption with its consolation win, defeating a Tiger team that edged the Trojans for the 2015 NCAA title. Freshman Justin Suh got USC on the board first with a 5&3 win over LSU's Nathan Jeansonne. He trailed briefly after 6 holes, but won four straight holes between 16 and 1 and took holes 5 and 6 to clinch the match. Sophomore Sean Crocker defeated Sam Burns, 3&2, leading for all but four holes, and junior Rico Hoey clinched the consolation final win with a 3&2 victory over LSU's Zach Wright. Hoey led the entire way. Sophomore Jonah Texeira also never trailed in his match against Eric Ricard and was credited with a 3&2 win while senior Andrew Levitt fell to Brandon Pierce, 2&1. In USC's semifinal loss to Illinois, Crocker earned Troy's only point with a 2&1 win over Nick Hardy. Troy's other four matches all came down to the final hole, but the Trojans finished on the wrong side of all of them.

    The Trojans came out victorious at the Amer Ari Invitational on Feb. 6 in Waikoloa, Hawaii at the Waikoloa Kings' Course. As a team, the Trojans combined for 29-under (278-275-282). UCLA closed in at second place, finishing at 27-under (279-272-286). Junior Rico Hoey fired a 14-under 202 (68-68-66) and took second place, which marks his season-best and fourth top-seven finish this year. Sophomore Jonah Texeria finished at 8-under 208 (70-67-71) and in seventh place. This is his third-straight top-10 finish. Freshman Justin Suh tied for 13th at 5-under 211 (70-69-72), a career-best.

    Junior Rico Hoey polished off his fourth straight top 7 finish while sophomore Jonah Texeira matched Hoey's Wednesday output with a 3-under 68 to lead No. 7 USC men's golf on the final day of The Prestige at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. The Trojans finished fifth at a combined 5-over 857 (285-293-279). LSU used a 19-under final round to win the event at 26-under 826, 18 strokes better than second-place Arizona State. Hoey made a run northward toward the top of the leader board during a final round that saw him go 5-under through 12 before he ultimately finished the tournament fifth at 6-under 207 (68-71-68). USC's most consistent player thus far this season turned in his fifth top 10 this year and broke 70 for the ninth time out of 18 rounds this year. Freshman Justin Suh tied for 29th at 4-over 217 (72-74-71) while Texeira scraped up to a tie for 34th at 5-over 218 (73-77-68) thanks to his fifth round in the 60s this year, second on the squad behind Hoey's total.

    The No. 6 USC men's golf team turned in a dominating performance to win the Southwestern Jones Invitational on March 1 at North Ranch C.C. while senior Andrew Levitt fired a final-round 68 to catch and pass teammate Jonah Texeira and clinch his first career collegiate victory. The Trojans won their second tournament of the season at 26-under 838 (280-282-286), 20 better than host Pepperdine and 25 better than third-place San Diego State. Levitt won at 8-under 208 (72-68-68), combined a 3-under front 9 with a 1-under back to secure his first win as a Trojan. Levitt overtook sophomore Jonah Texeira who tied at 7-under 209 (69-67-73). Texeira led for most of the three rounds and was 3-under through 10, but hit his first rough match during the home stretch, bogeying three late holes. Texeira's tie for second was still a career-best finish as a Trojan and marked the fourth top 8 he's had this season.

    Junior Rico Hoey carded a team-best final round 72 while sophomore Sean Crocker finished second overall to lead the No. 4 USC men's golf team to a hard-fought four-stroke win at the Southern Highlands Collegiate at the Southern Highlands C.C. in Las Vegas, on March 9 for the team's third win this spring. The Trojans, one of four top 10 teams and one of nine top 20 teams in the field, finished 5-over 869 (292-280-297), four better than No. 12 Florida, which turned in the second-best round of the day at 4-over 873. Crocker turned in his fourth top 8 this year and his second in a row, finishing at 3-under 213 (70-68-75). Playing in the final pairing with Texas No. 1 Beau Hossler and Arizona State's highly ranked Jon Rahm, Crocker turned in a solid closing 18 with two birdies and five straight pars to finish. The second-place effort tied his season-best finish, set in the season opener. Hoey kept his impressive streak of top 10 finishes alive, extending it to six in a row with a tie for eighth at 2-over 218 (76-70-72). He birdied 7 and 9 en route to an even front and strung together nine straight pars to close his round. Hoey now has seven top 10s overall this year.

    Junior Rico Hoey fired a 5-under 65 while senior Andrew Levitt carded a 3-under 67 to lead the No. 1 Trojans to a 6-under final round at The Goodwin on March 26 at the Stanford G.C., bouncing back after two challenging opening rounds. The Trojans finished the event ninth at 17-over 857 (293-290-274). UC Davis maintained its hot hand and won the event at 13-under 827, 10 better than second-place UNLV and 12 better than host Stanford. Sophomore Sean Crocker led all Trojans, tying for 17th at 2-over 212 (73-69-70). He had three birdies during his final round. Hoey (72-77-65) and Levitt (75-70-69) tied for 29th at 4-over 214. Hoey bogeyed 1 today to start his round, but birdied four times on the front 9 and two more on the back to notch his 65. Levitt opened his day with three straight birdies and was still3-under before a pair of late bogeys.

    Freshman Justin Suh turned in a 2-under 68 to register his first top 10 finish while sophomore Jonah Texeira carded a 1-under 69 as the No. 1 USC men's golf team came from behind to flirt with first before finishing second in the regular-season finale at the Western Intercollegiate at the Pasatiempo G.C. in Santa Cruz, Calif. On April 13. The Trojans took second at 1-over 1051 (346-352-353), 10 back of winner Stanford. Oregon was third at 9-over. USC, which turned in its fifth top 2 finish this season, caught the Cardinal midway through the final round before Stanford pulled away. Texeira (72-67-69) joined seniors Rico Hoey (67-68-73) and Andrew Levitt (68-68-72) in a tie for fourth at 2-under 208. For Hoey, the finish marked his team-best eighth top 10 finish this season while it was the fifth for Texeira and the third for Levitt. Texeira turned in a five-birdie round to give him 10 rounds in the 60s this year, second-most on the team. Suh tied for eighth at 1-under 209 (67-74-68) thanks to a five-birdie round. It was his best finish since a tie for 13th in the Amer Ari Invitational to open the spring season.

    The No. 2-ranked USC men's golf team, behind junior Rico Hoey's 11th place finish, placed fifth at the 2016 Pac-12 Championships that concluded May 1 at The Country Club in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Trojans, who began the fourth round at a combined 2-over, finished the tourney at a 28-over 1448 (356-348-363-381) after shooting 26-over (381) on the final day. No. 4 Stanford won the Pac-12 title at 18-under 1402 (352-336-348-366) despite shooting its worst round of the tournament on Sunday (366, 11-over). No. 13 California finished second, 29 strokes behind the Cardinal at 11-over 1431(350-343-355-383) after a 28-over 383 final round. No. 10 Arizona State was third at 19-over 1439 (359-352-364-364) while shooting Sunday's low round of 9-over 364 and No. 24 Washington was fourth at 23-over 1443 (360-355-360-368). Hoey, after posting a fourth round 1-over 72, finished the tourney at even par 284 (70-70-72-72) to tie with 2 others for 11th place.

    Sophomores Jonah Texeira and Sean Crocker and freshman Justin Suh all carded 1-over 73s to lead the No. 3 USC men's golf team during a strong final round at the 2016 NCAA Albuquerque (N.M.) Regional, the Trojans finishing third to secure a trip to their 10th consecutive NCAA Championships final. During another 18 holes at the University of New Mexico Championships course marked by strong winds and challenging conditions, USC turned in the day's second-best final round and finished the three-day event at a combined 31-over 895 (291-311-293). Arizona State won the Albuquerque Regional at 12-over 876 while TCU was second at 24-over 888. South Florida took fourth at 35-over 899 while San Diego State defeated Texas A&M in a playoff for the final berth after schools tied for fifth at 40-over 904. Crocker was USC's rock throughout the blustery three days in New Mexico, tying his season-best effort with a second-place finish at 1-over 217 (70-74-73). He had three birdies in his final round, including on 14 and 18 to close his day. Suh turned in his third top 19 effort in a row and the fifth this year with a tie for 17th at 10-over 226 (73-80-73). He was 5-over through 13 after a triple bogey on 13, but rebounded with birdies on 15 and 16 and an eagle on 18.