No. 1 USC Moves Into Contention At Pac-12 Championships

    April 26, 2014

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    Sophomores Kyung Kim and Annie Park and junior Doris Chen were all under par to lead No. 1 USC's charge up the leader board and into contention during the second round of the 2014 Pac-12 Championships at the Trysting Tree G.C. in Corvallis, Ore.

    The Trojans rebounded from a 6-over first round with a 4-under second round - despite a slow start today that saw them fall behind by 13 strokes -- and are a combined 2-over 578 (294-284), now five back of first-place No. 2 UCLA (573). No. 11 Arizona is second (574) and No. 9 Stanford (577) is third. Washington (583) and Arizona State (587) remain in the mix as well.

    "It was one of those rounds where I was hoping we could just hang around," USC Coach Andrea Gaston said. "We didn't get the start we were hoping for, but the team hung tough on the back 9 and made some crucial birdie putts to turn things around."

    "With Chung and (Sophia) Popov struggling, we just needed one of them to hang in there and give us a decent counter score. Popov's birdie on 14 from six feet and a great birdie on the par 3 17th from off the green gave us the score we needed."

    Park, the defending individual champion is now third at 3-under 141 (70-71), one back of the lead, while Chen is tied for seventh at even 144 (74-70) and Kim is tied for 10th at 1-over 145 (76-69).

    Kim was near perfect en route to her eighth round in the 60s this year, which included birdies on 6, 12, 13 and 15 before finishing with a bogey on 18. She is challenging for her fifth top 10 this year.

    Chen, the 2012 Pac-12 champion who tied for seventh last year, was a model of steadiness with birdies on 3 and 13 and pars the rest of the round. She is after her fourth top 10.

    Park got off to her second straight slow start but picked up momentum on the back nine, going 3-under again on the backside of the course. After a 2-over front, she birdied 13, eagled 14 thanks to a marvelous chip in from about 30 yards, and birdied 15 before finishing, like Kim, with a bogey on 18.

    Senior Sophia Popov is tied for 38th at 7-over 151 (77-74) while freshman Karen Chung is tied for 48th at 10-over 154 (74-80). Popov fought off struggles on the front with a 1-under back 9, which included her birdies on 14 and 17.

    USC, the defending conference champion looking to add to its school-record eight wins this year, will tee off with the third-place Cardinal beginning at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday. Rain, however, is forecasted to fall throughout the round.