USC men’s golf competed in the Amer Ari Invitational this week, hosted by Hawaii-Hilo at the Hapuna Golf Course in Waimea, Hawaii.
After finishing sixth at last week’s Southwestern Invitational, the Trojans came in strong, posting 8-under 280 in the first round. They trailed Arizona State by five strokes and Georgia Tech by six. With two bogeys and three double bogeys in the first four holes, things were not looking too bright for USC. Luckily, the Trojans were able to get over the hump and finished the round at a season-best.
Going into the third round, USC fell just short of the lead. Though the Trojans were eight strokes behind Arizona State, they took a comfortable 16-shot lead over Georgia Tech. They improved their season-best to 10-under 278. Consistency was key as the team saw three players shoot sub-70 for the day. Notably, senior Leon D’Souza posted a 69, his first round under par this season.
The last round saw major efforts from USC to close in on the leading Sun Devils. The Trojans ended the week at 7-under 281 for the final round.
“I was hoping we could close the gap and apply some pressure by the back nine and see how they would respond and we did,” head coach J.T. Higgins said.
Ultimately, the Trojans held their second place spot to the finish, combining for 25-under 839 behind strong performances from sophomore Tyler Guo and freshman Shane Ffrench. Following the Trojans on the leaderboard was Oregon State and Georgia Tech, who tied for third.
Guo, who tied for second overall at 9-under 207 (68-68-71), had never recorded three rounds under par as a Trojan before today. He had a very consistent week, recording just one double bogey on the second to last hole of the tournament.
Tied for fifth at 7-under 209 (70-69-70) was Ffrench. Junior Cameron Henry also finished in the top ten at 5-under 211 (70-72-69) to tie for tenth place. Kaito Onishi posted a 219 (72-76-71), while D’Souza finished at 221 (78-69-74).
Arizona State took home the title with an impressive 37-under 827 (275-275-277). Leading the team and the tournament was sophomore David Puig who posted a 203 (67-68-68).
With his first top three finish in his first season as USC’s head coach, Higgins is feeling optimistic about the team’s season.
“We’re a really talented group of guys,” he offered. “My hope is that they take on a kind of fearless attitude and not be afraid to make mistakes.”
The Trojans will continue their season Feb. 15 at the Prestige in La Quinta, California.