Rico Hoey, Cheng Jin Post Big Amateur Wins|
July 11, 2016
Senior Rico Hoey won the 117th SCGA Amateur Championships on Sunday while incoming freshman Cheng Jin won the 17th Players Amateur on Monday, the duo complementing junior Sean Crocker's win at the Monroe Invitational in June as the USC golf team churns right along after a strong 2015-16 season.
USC golfers, who reached the 2016 NCAA Championships semifinals in May after finishing as runners-up in 2015, have had a busy and fruitful summer, as witnessed this weekend.
First it was Hoey, who won the SCGA title at Barona Creek in San Diego by four shots with a 19-under 269 (66-70-66-67), closing with a 5-under round to set a tournament low by three strokes.
Hoey, who was second at the 2016 NCAAs in the individual stroke play portion, opened the final round with a one-streak lead but ran away from the field with a flurry of birdies. Senior teammate Andrew Levitt had a strong week as well, tying for 12th at 4-under 284 (72-70-75-68).
Jin, who played in the The Master's in May thanks to his 2015 win at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, earned another PGA berth today with his win at the Players Amateur in Bluffton, S.C.
Jin, like Hoey, started the final round with the lead but bogeyed his first three holes and fell off the top of the leader board. After much jockeying, he re-claimed first with a birdie on 16 to get to 12-under and secured the title with another birdie on 17. He finished at 13-under 275 (69-67-69-70) and won by two strokes.
The title earns him an exemption into the PGA's RBC Heritage in April in Hilton Head, S.C.
A month earlier, Crocker won the Monroe Invitational Championship in Pittsford, N.Y., posting a four-stroke win after a final-round 63. The blistering finish helped erase a tough second round as he finished at 3-under 277 (69-77-68-63).
Also in June, rising sophomore Justin Suh played in the U.S. Open, though he missed the cut by three shots after 36 holes at 8-over 148 (75-73).