Kou shines in USC debut, Trojans place seventh at ANNIKA Invitational

The Trojans kicked off their 2021-22 campaign in Minnesota.

A photo of USC freshman golfer Cindy Kou crouching on the green behind a golf ball.

No. 11 ranked USC women’s golf traveled to Lake Elmo, Minn. to face off against 11 elite Division I programs in the annual ANNIKA Invitational. At the end of three days the Trojans finished the 54-hole event with a respectable 3-over-par, netting them a seventh place finish at the tournament.

The star of the week was freshman Cindy Kou, who placed third individually. Kou began the week strong, with a 4-under 68 on Monday. She then followed that performance with a 1-over 73 on Tuesday, setting her up tied for sixth place going into the final round of the week.

Kou finished Wednesday’s final round with an outstanding 5-under par score of 67, netting her within four strokes of first place at 8-under 208. She finished the tournament with thirteen total birdies; USC as a team had 46.

“Her iron game and ball striking is proving to be at an elite level,” head coach Justin Simmons said. “Her overall management of her game is really solid.”

USC also saw solid rounds from senior Katherine Muzi and sophomore Brianna Navarrosa, who posted a 3-under 69 on Monday and a 2-under 70 on Wednesday, respectively.

“Everyone played really well in spurts this week,” Simmons said.

Muzi and Navarrosa tied for 20th at 2-over 220 in the tournament and finished with eleven and seven birdies, respectively. Navarrosa started her final round off strong with four birdies in her first nine holes on Wednesday; while Muzi notched an impressive eagle on her 15th hole of the day.

Sophomore Christine Wang and junior Alexa Melton also finished strong in the final round of the tournament, posting tournament-best scores of 1-over 73 on Wednesday. Wang tied for 44th at 9-over 227 (78-76-73) and Melton took 50th at 11-over 227 (78-76-73).

“While we are always disappointed to not accomplish our goal of winning the event, [assistant coach] Katie [Woodruff] and I were able to see our team do some great things,” Simmons said. “We’ll take the next couple weeks to make adjustments and get this roster ready for our next event.”

Up next, the Trojans return home for two weeks to prepare for the Windy City Collegiate, set to start on Oct. 4-5.