USC’s golf weekend highlighted by women’s second-place finish

The men’s and women’s golf teams participated in tournaments with up and down results.

USC’s golf teams competed in two different tournaments this week, finishing with both successes and struggles. While the No. 3 women’s golf team finished second at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, the No. 38 men’s golf team posted an uncharacteristic 12th at the Amer Ari Invitational.

Given the differences in scores, it is safe to say the Trojans had a tumultuous week of highs and lows. Past performances in the same tournaments suggested that both golf teams would easily top scoreboards, but that seemed too difficult for the men’s team and too easy for the women’s team.

USC women’s golf won the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge four times before, most recently in 2017. Last year, the Trojans posted third, and the previous season saw USC consistently finish top five in all matches. Expectations were high, and the Trojans did not disappoint. It came as no surprise when USC placed second [+2, 854].

Hosted by Ohio State at the Palos Verdes Golf Club, women’s golf kicked off the spring season close to home. USC faced off against teams from all over the country, including No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arizona State. After three days of play, No. 4 Duke posted an unprecedented first [-5, 847] — a monumental event for the team, which has made eight previous appearances at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge without a single win. Unable to defend its title, No. 14 UCLA placed fourth [+6, 858], one spot behind Texas [+3, 855].

USC’s returning players include senior Allisen Corpuz, juniors Gabriela Ruffels and Amelia Garvey and sophomore Malia Nam. New to the course were senior Aiko Leong and junior Alyaa Abdulghany.

The team finished with a wide range of scores from Garvey’s three-under-par [210] to Leong’s 17-over-par [230]. However, because Leong played as an individual, her score did not affect USC’s standing overall.

The men’s golf team also finished with a range of scores. Hosted by the University of Hawaii-Hilo in Waikoloa, HI, the Amer Ari Invitational saw 54 rounds of play over the course of three days.

USC’s men’s golf posted a disappointing 12th out of 20 teams — the lowest it has placed through both its most recent fall and spring seasons. However, this poor finish was not due to any one player’s error. With scores ranging from junior Leon D’Souza’s three-under-par [213] to senior Kyle Suppa’s twelve-over-par [228], the Trojans played as they normally did. While no member of the team scored an all-time low, it seemed as if the entire team gradually lost its energy throughout the course of the tournament.

The men’s team started with a strong showing, scoring birdies and a few bogeys across its scorecard, but as the days progressed, double and triple bogeys began to appear. On the final day of the match, every member of USC’s men’s team hit at least one double bogey. It seems the Trojans’ Achilles’ heel was the 16th hole, where D’Souza, freshman Yuxin Lin and senior Kyle Suppa all hit double bogeys. Also present during the match were juniors Kaito Onishi and Issei Tanabe and freshman Tyler Guo.

The Trojans’ performance at the Invitational is not their worst showing of the season score-wise. At the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, USC posted 16-over [830] and placed 11th overall. In contrast, at the Amer Ari Invitational, they posted three-under [861], yet placed worse in overall rankings. While USC’s players usually finish in the top 10, this time around they had a difficult time entering the top 40. The vast chasm between scores goes to show that while the Trojans played well, every other school played better.

Pepperdine freshman William Mouw and ASU junior Mason Andersen shared first with an unprecedented 13-under [203]. No. 1 Pepperdine improved upon an already good season by placing first overall [-39, 825], while second place went to Texas [-37, 827] and third place went to Arizona State [-36, 828].

Like the women’s team, the men’s team was also faced with upholding previous legacies. USC has won the Amer Ari Invitational twice: in 2009 and 2016. Players from USC have also ranked first three times, with the latest being the recently graduated Justin Suh in 2018.

Both USC’s men’s and women’s teams will return to the course at Las Vegas. While the men’s team will resume play March 1 at the Southern Highlands Collegiate, the women’s team will return Feb. 17 at the Rebel Beach Showdown.