Men's Pac-10 Golf Championship: Day 1

April 23, 2007

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EUGENE, Ore. -- Paced by freshmen Jamie Lovemark and Rory Hie and a torrid second round overall, sixth-ranked Southern California jumped out to an eight-stroke lead after the opening day of the Pac-10 Conference men's golf championships Monday at the Eugene Country Club.

Lovemark, ranked fifth nationally, shot a field-leading 9-under-par 135 over the first two rounds on the par-72, 7,033-yard course to hold a four-stroke advantage. Hie, who was tied for 21st after the first round, made six birdies his second time through to finish the day tied for second place at 5-under with Niklas Lemke of Arizona State.

Their success helped propel USC into first place at 20-under-par 700, including an18-under-par 342 second round. The Trojans had been in a tie for fourth place with Oregon after the opening round.

Seventh-ranked UCLA is in second at 12-under, while No. 2 Stanford, the pre-tournament favorite sits in third place at even par.

'It was great,' Trojan coach Chris Zambri said. 'I think we got off to somewhat of a slow start in the morning and then the guys got it together and we had a great second round.

'I'm not that surprised, even though it was some pretty darn good golf. I think we have a good team and I'm not totally surprised they went out and did something like that in the second round.'

Lovemark, the highest-ranked freshman in the country, had rounds of 69 and 66, respectively, with nine birdies and no bogeys.

'I feel really good about both rounds,' Lovemark said. 'Obviously, with these conditions you want to play as well as possible and try and get a good advantage on the field.'

It was an atypical spring day in the Willamette Valley, with clear skies and temperatures in the low 60s. Rain is expected for Tuesday's third round.

'The weather couldn't get any better and I doubt that's going to be the same the next couple of days,' Lovemark said. 'Birdies were plentiful today, and tomorrow it might not be the case.'

Hie, who came in ranked 81st, made four birdies on the final five holes of the front nine in his second round to move into second.

'You know, he's actually had our lowest spring scoring average,' Zambri said. 'Rory's been playing great all spring. He's finished in the top 12 in five of his last seven events.'

The Bruins, who shot 5-under to lead after the first round, have two individuals -- No. 16 Kevin Chappell and 2006 conference champion Daniel Im -- tied for fourth at 4-under.

Both shot 71 in the first round and 69 in the second.

'I started pretty slow,' said Im, who also helped the Bruins win the team title last season. 'I made a bogey on two, another bogey on a par-3. I just kept fighting... made a couple of close shots and took the momentum from there.

'Yesterday I was pretty frustrated with my game. I couldn't really do anything and I hadn't performed well all year. I was pretty frustrated and uptight. I had a couple of words with my coach and he told me to relax.'

Fourth-ranked Lemke, the 2006 runner-up , shared the lead with Lovemark and Oregon's Derek Sipe at 3-under after the first round. But he shot a 70 in the afternoon to slip back a spot.

Stanford, which has four players ranked in the top-25, got its best round from No. 15 Rob Grube, who is tied for sixth with Arizona's Nathan Taylor at 3-under.

All together, 18 players shot under par and 22 were at par or lower.

The 19th-ranked Sun Devils are in fourth place at plus-2, while Washington is in fifth (plus-5), Oregon sixth (plus-12), Arizona and Washington State are at plus-13, Oregon State plus 16 and California is at plus-21.

Tuesday's round begins at 8 a.m.

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