USC Nails Down Spot Into 3rd Straight NCAA Match Play Bracket|
May 22, 2017
Senior Tiffany Chan locked up an NCAA top 10 finish thanks to a 3-under 69 and led No. 6 USC to a tie for fifth to close stroke play at the 2017 NCAA Women's Golf Championships at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., on Monday (May 22) -- as the Trojans clinched a spot into the eight-team match play tournament to decide the national champion.
USC finished tied for fifth with a 50-over 914 (315-303-296) after starting the day in seventh. In a field packed solid among the top 12 teams, USC remained inside the top 8 throughout the afternoon, reaching as high as a tie for third.
Northwestern led the entire tournament -- shortened by a round due to rain on Saturday -- and finished stroke play first at 33-over 897. Stanford was second at 41-over 905 and was followed by ASU (909), Ohio State (913), USC and Florida (914), Baylor (917) and Kent State (919). North Carolina finished one stroke out of a playoff (920).
The Trojans, in their national-best 20th straight NCAA Championships, became just one of two teams to reach the match play bracket each of the three years since the new format began in 2015. The other is Stanford.
USC which was tabbed the fifth-place spot over Florida, will face four-seed Ohio State at 7:50 a.m. off the 10th tee. If Troy wins, it will face the winner of top seed Northwestern and eight seed Kent State Tuesday afternoon. Two seed Stanford will face seven seed Baylor on the other side while three seed ASU will take on six seed Florida. The national title match is set for Wednesday.
Chan secured her second straight NCAA top 10 finish with a tie for eighth at 6-over 222 (77-76-69) thanks to a strong final round that saw her sink six birdies, including a 25-footer on her final hole on 9 that gave USC the fifth seed.
Sophomore Robynn Ree tied for 32nd at 14-over 230 (83-72-75), bouncing back with two strong rounds after an opening 83.
All of the Trojans made big putts down the stretch to help earn the match play berth, including Chan's 25 footer on 18, just a bit longer than Then's similar putt to close her round with five straight pairs. He finished with four straight pars while Ree had five pars over her final six holes. Morgan, though not a counter today, shook off a rough start to finish with 11 straight pars.
The Trojans have now had a top 10 NCAA finisher in five straight years, including Chan the last two years, Then's tie for 10th in 2015, Doris Chen's win in 2014 and Annie Park's win in 2013 (while Sophia Popov and Kyung Kim tied for sixth that same year).