No. 1 USC Still Atop NCAA Leaderboard Through Most Of Three Rounds|
May 24, 2015
The No. 1 USC women's golf team, with junior Annie Park and sophomores Gabriella Then and Karen Chung leading the way, took another big step Sunday (May 24) toward advancing to the NCAA Championships' match-play tournament, finishing the day with a three-stroke lead at the Concession G.C. in Bradenton, Fla.
Well, make that a three-quarter step as all teams, for the third straight day, failed to complete play due to weather stoppages and play slowed by a challenging course. The Trojans, who golfed some two hours in the morning to complete the second round, were midway through the back 9 when play was halted Sunday night due to darkness.
USC was a combined 4-over for the round when the horn blew, five strokes worse than they were 30 minutes prior but still better than all but one other team in the field.
The Trojans will join second-place Duke and fourth-place Tennessee at 7:30 a.m. ET on the back 9 while South Carolina, Wake Forest and UCLA will pick up play on the front 9. The 15 teams that make the cut are scheduled to begin final-round play at 10:50 a.m. ET.
A top 8 finish after tomorrow sends teams into quarterfinal - and hopefully semifinal - play on Tuesday (May 26) with the final match play round scheduled for Wednesday (May 27). USC, a three-time NCAA champion in the previous 72-hole stroke play format, is currently 22 shots better than the eighth-place team, Washington.
Park, the 2013 NCAA individual champion, is in third at 2-over with five holes still to go in her third round. Leader Emma Talley of Alabama has completed three rounds and sits at par while Arizona State's Monica Vaughn is 1-over with one hole left.
If Park were to win, she would become the first NCAA woman to win two individual titles and USC would become the first school to boast an individual winner three straight years (Doris Chen, not playing this year, won it in 2014). Park junior had four birdies in 13 holes Sunday, including three between 7 and 12.
Then is tied for 11th at 6-over. She was 1-under through 12 holes with a birdie on 3 before late bogeys on 13 and 14 as the day's light faded away.
Chung found her first groove of the week today and birdied three in a row between 10 and 12, finishing the day at 2-under through 15 and 10-over overall, tied for 25th.
Junior Kyung Kim is tied for 42nd at 13-over while freshman Amy Lee is tied for 78th at 20-over. Lee had her most solid stretch of the tournament between 7 and 14, going 1-under in that eight-hole span.