No. 13 USC In Texas For Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational|
Sept. 30, 2016
The No. 13 USC men's golf team, a 2015 and 2016 NCAA Championships semifinalist, continues the fall schedule this week at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at the Colonial C.C. in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday through Tuesday (Oct. 2-4).
Ranked No. 2 in the preseason, the Trojans return their entire starting lineup that is bolstered by a pair of strong newcomers. Under the leadership of 11th-year head coach Chris Zambri, the Trojans join host TCU, Arizona, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, Texas, USC, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Washington on the 7,209-yard, par 70 course.
Action will begin with a shotgun start on Sunday 5:45 a.m. PT. Monday's round starts at 6 a.m. PT off of 1 and 10 while Tuesday's final round starts at 5:30 a.m. PT. Live results will be available here each day.
Oregon won the inaugural event in 2014 while Wake Forest won the 2015 tournament. The Trojans tied for second last season, three back of Wake Forest at 34-under 826 (272-276-278). They were led by senior Andrew Levitt, who tied for fifth overall at 9-under 206 (69-70-67).
USC opened the 2016-17 season at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite two weeks ago, tying for eighth at 34-over 874 (296-288-290). Junior Sean Crocker led the team with a tie for seventh at 1-over 211 (69-73-79).
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.
EVENT-BY-EVENT STARTING LINEUPS
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.
2016-17 MEN'S EVENT RECAPS
OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite