Trojan Men Cruise To Pac-10 Championship
April 25, 2007
EUGENE, Ore. - Jamie Lovemark couldn't have summed it up any better.
'It's a great day for Trojan golf,' the USC freshman said Wednesday afternoon, after shooting a final-round 67 at Eugene Country Club to clinch medalist honors for himself and the team title for Southern California at the 2007 Pacific-10 Conference men's golf championship.
Lovemark finished the three-day event 19 strokes under par, carding just one bogey over 72 holes on the 7,033-yard, par-72 course. His 269 total helped the Trojans finish a collective 51-under par and 36 strokes ahead of second-place UCLA, the third-largest margin of victory in the event's history.
Southern California posted the best score in the field each of the tournament's three days, finishing five strokes off the tournament record of 56-under par, achieved by Arizona State in 2000. That group of Sun Devils won the tournament by 37 strokes and the 1990 ASU team won by a record 54 strokes, the only two margins wider than USC's this week.
'We want to be the best team in the country when it's all said and done,' said first-year USC coach Chris Zambri, whose team received an automatic bid to regionals May 17-19 in Tempe, Ariz. 'That just means you've got to prove yourself every day, and I thought we proved ourselves again today.'
Lovemark, who was ranked fifth in the country entering the tournament, took sole possession of the lead with a 66 in the second round Monday and then finished with consecutive rounds of 67. He three-putted No. 5 on Wednesday but rallied to birdie both No. 6 and No. 8 to hold off second-place finisher Niklas Lemke (-13).
'It still hasn't hit me yet,' Lovemark said. 'It's a long couple days. Every day is a grind, especially when you're competing against these players. But you can't let your mind slip at all. If you do, they'll catch you. ...
'Some of the pins were pretty tough today. I knew I had a pretty big lead and I knew the team had a big lead, so there was no need to force anything.'
Lemke, the No. 2 player in the country entering the week, closed with his second straight 68 to finish at 275. He was the tournament's runner-up for the second straight year.
Defending champion Daniel Im of UCLA closed with a 73 to fall from a tie for second to fifth at 8-under. USC teammates Joshua Wooding (-10) and Rory Hie (-9) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Im started well Wednesday but began his slide after finding the water on No. 5 while playing in the final group with Lovemark and Lemke.
'I was 40 yards behind both of them on every tee shot, and I think that intimidated me a little bit the first couple holes,' Im said. 'I got back into my groove but just couldn't score today.'
Hie, like Lovemark a freshman, matched the tournament's best score by shooting a 66 to lead the field Wednesday.
'I made a lot of putts today that I usually don't,' Hie said. 'I made a lot of 20-footers off the green, 25-footers. And I made most of my 10-footers today. I just took it one shot at a time today, instead of, like yesterday, trying to catch up with Jamie. That worked well.'