Trojans Begin Quest For First Men's Golf NCAA title
May 24, 2007
The USC men's golf team, ranked No. 5 in the latest Golfworld.com poll, begins its quest for its first ever NCAA team title next week at the 2007 NCAA Championships final, set for May 30-June 2, at Golden Horseshoe G.C. in Williamsburg, Va. The four-round tournament hosted by VCU begins each day at 7 a.m. (EDT).
USC, under first-year head coach Chris Zambri and 13th-year director of golf Kurt Schuette, is coming off of a dominating Pac-10 Championships title and a tie for third in the recently completed NCAA West Regional. The Trojans are making their 37th consecutive NCAA appearance and are competing in the NCAA Championship final for the fourth year in the past five.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION
Thirty squads, which advanced out of three 27-team regionals, will participate in the NCAA Men's Golf Championships. Alphabetically, they are Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Duke, East Tennessee State, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Lamar, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
Along with the 150 players from the above schools, six additional golfers will battle for the individual title, including Daniel Summerhays (BYU), Kyle Stanley (Clemson), Chance Piptone (Pennsylvania), Zach Sucher (UAB), Tim Streng (Western Illinois) and Dan Woltman (Wisconsin).
The Golden Horseshoe course, opened in 1963, is a par 71, 6,817-yard course with a slope rating of 138. This is the first time the course has hosted an NCAA Championship final.
USC is grouped with UCLA and Florida for the first two rounds. The schools will tee off of the 1st hole at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and will start play at 7:20 a.m. off the 10th hole on Thursday (EDT). Tee times for Friday and Saturday will be determined after 36 holes. The bottom half of the field will be cut after three rounds.
USC AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
USC's highest finish at an NCAA Championship final is third, something the Trojans have done six times, most recently in 1975. The Trojans' last top 10 finish came in 2005, when they took sixth. USC's closest finish to first place came in 1963, when the Trojans (in fourth) finished six strokes behind winner Oklahoma State.
Troy, which has appeared as a team at the NCAAs 48 times, boast three NCAA individual title winners. Scott Simpson won back-to-back NCAA crowns in 1976 and 1977 and Ron Commans did it in 1981.
A year ago, USC participated in the NCAA East Regional, but did not qualify for the NCAA Championships after finishing tied for 15th. Then-senior Taylor Wood, however, finished tied for second to earn a spot as an individual in the NCAA Championships. He finished tied for 27th.
USC AT THE 2007 NCAA WEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
USC, behind freshman Jamie Lovemark's tie for second, finished tied for third at the 2007 NCAA Championships West Regional at host Arizona State's Karsten G.C., in Phoenix. The Trojans finished a combined 40-under 824. Lovemark tied a USC single-round record with a second-round 63 and ran his streak of consecutive sub-70 rounds to seven. Freshman Rory Hie was USC's next highest finisher, tying for 14th. Each Trojan finished under par for the tournament.
USC AT THE 2007 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
USC won its Pac-10 best 18th conference championship, Jamie Lovemark became Troy's 20th conference individual title winner and senior Joshua Wooding and Rory Hie finished third and fourth, respectively, as the Trojans ran away from the field at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships at the Eugene (Ore.) C.C. USC combined to fire a 16-under 344 final round for a 72-hole, 51-under 1389 (358-342-345-344). USC's 1389 was its lowest 72-hole total ever at the Pac-10 Championships and was just five strokes off the conference record of 1384, set by Arizona State in 2000. USC's 36-stroke margin of victory was the biggest Pac-10 title victory since the Sun Devils' 37-shot win in 2000. The team title is USC's first since winning back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002.
USC TEAM AND PLAYER NOTES
As a team in 2006-2007, USC has finished below a tie for fifth only once in 12 events. USC has won three titles, starting with the Inverness Intercollegiate and followed by the Oregon Duck Invitational and the 2007 Pac-10 Championships. USC also has three second-place finishes and another three in third.
Freshman Jamie Lovemark, a semifinalist for the 2007 Ben Hogan Award, which goes to the nation's top men's golfer, is currently ranked the nation's No. 1 collegiate men's golfer by Golfweek.com.
On April 25, he won his third tournament of the season, a six-stroke victory at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships. He became USC's first Pac-10 winner since Sam Randolph in 1983, though Randolph tied for first that year. USC's last outright champion came in 1976 when Scott Simpson won the conference's southern division title. For his efforts, he was named Pac-10 Co-Golfer of the Year (with Arizona State's Niklas Lemke) and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
Lovemark's final round 67 was his fourth straight sub-70 effort of the event for a 19-under 72-hole 269. It marked the biggest individual margin of victory since UCLA's John Merrick's 10-stroke win in 2003 and was the lowest 72-hole finish since Arizona's Ricky Barnes won the 2001 Pac-10 title with a 268. It was also the most under par at the Pac-10 Championships since Sun Devil Paul Casey's 23-under effort in 2000.
One event later, Lovemark extended his current sub-70 streak to seven (the second time he's done it this season) after tying for second at the 2007 NCAA West Regional, where he finished with a 15-under 201 (69-63-69). His 63 tied a USC single-round record (shared by Hunter Mahan and Al Geiberger) while his three rounds in the 60s give him 19 on the season.
On March 27, Lovemark tied for the individual title at the Oregon Duck Invitational with 214 (67-75-72). It complemented his first win of the season, a victory at the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge in October.
Lovemark leads the Trojans in stroke average (70.35) and has been USC's highest finisher in seven of 12 starts. Prior to his 63 at Karsten, he fired a then-USC season low 64 at the USC Collegiate Invitational. He has seven top 3 finishes on the season and finished outside the top 18 only once this year.
In his first win, he led wire-to-wire to win the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, posting an eight-shot victory. The title was USC's first since Ben Hayes won to kick off the 2004-2005 season and was Troy's first by a freshman since Mahan won back-to-back events in the fall of 2000.
Earlier this year, Lovemark earned an invite to play as an amateur in the 2007 Buick Invitational (Jan. 25-28) and parlayed it into a tie for 39th. He finished with a 72-hole 285 (66-74-73-72, -3).
On April 12, Lovemark was among eight Americans selected to represent the United States in the 2007 Palmer Cup presented by Monster. The annual Ryder Cup-style competition between American collegiate golfers and their counterparts from Europe will be played June 7-8, at Caves Valley G.C.
Freshman Rory Hie has been almost as strong of late as Lovemark and was named the Pac-10 Men's Golfer of the Month for March. He kicked off the month with a win at the USC Collegiate Invitational, a two-shot victory. He fired a three-round 208 (69-68-71) for the title, helping Troy to a second-place finish. He then led USC at the General Jim Hackler Championship, where he tied for sixth with a 212 (70-73-69), leading USC to third. He ended the month with a tie for 12th at the Oregon Duck Invitational, helping the Trojans to the team title in that event with a 220 (72-73-75).
At the 2007 NCAA West Regional, Hie tied for 14th with an 11-under 205 (67-71-67). Prior to that, he posted back-to-back top four finishes. First, he tied for third at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational with a 205 (67-69-69). Next, he took fourth at the Pac-10 Championships with a four-round 279 (-9, 72-67-74-66). His final round was a USC career best.
Hie, ranked No. 43 in the nation, is second on the squad in stroke average (72.08), has four top 10 finishes, eight in the top 20 and has carded 13 rounds in the 60s.
He has four top 10 finishes and five in the top 20. He tied for ninth at the Pac-10 Championships with a four-round, 3-under 285 (73-70-71-71) and then tied for 40th at the NCAA West Regional with a 6-under 210 (73-69-68).
He finished fifth at the season-opening Inverness Intercollegiate and tied for fifth at the UH Hilo Intercollegiate with a 201 (66-66-69), USC's top score of the event. The three sub-70 rounds gave him five straight at the time.
Glissmeyer also tied for 12th at the CordeValle Collegiate after back-to-back 69s to close out the tournament and tied for eighth at the General Jim Hackler Championship with a 213 (67-68-78). He has nine rounds in the 60s this year.
Senior Joshua Wooding posted the second best finish of his USC career at the Pac-10 Championships, a third-place, 10-under 278 (74-69-66-69). Wooding entered the championships with three rounds in the 60s this season and matched the total in three days of play. His Pac-10 finish was his best since his second-place effort at the Inverness Intercollegiate at the start of the 2005-2006 season.
At the NCAA West Regional, Wooding tied for 62nd with a 3-under 213 (71-70-72).
A top 25 finisher in seven of his last 10 outings, his best outing prior to the conference championships was a fifth at the Oregon Duck Invitational with a 218 (72-76-70).
Wooding, ranked No. 101, tied for 11th at the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge and tied for 19th at the CordeValle Collegiate to close out the fall schedule. He tied for 18th at the General Jim Hackler Championship
Fourth on the team with a stroke average of 72.81, his six rounds in the 60s this year includes a 65 at the CordeValle Collegiate, third lowest on the season for USC.
He tied for ninth at the Pac-10 Championships with a 3-under 285 (73-70-70-72), his second straight top 10 effort at the conference tournament. This year's finish was his best in any event since last year's Pac-10 outing. At the NCAA West Regional, Nasser tied for 43rd with a 5-under 211 (70-71-70).
Nasser posted a then-season-best tie for 17th at the Oregon Duck Invitational, where he finished with a 221 (71-76-74). He tied for 29th in the opener, tied for 27th at PGA West, tied for 28th at the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge and tied for 30th at the General Jim Hackler Championship. He has carded a 72 or lower 14 times.
Sophomore Ryan Linton is the only other Trojan to play in more than event. In four starts, Linton tied for 30th as an individual at the USC Collegiate Invitational (75-72-73, 220), tied for 69th at the Oregon Duck Invitational, tied for 14th at the ASU Thunderbird (70-73-70, 213) and tied for 19th at the Pac-10 Championships with a 289 (+1, 71-76-71-71). Each of his rounds of 71 at the Pac-10s counted toward USC's team totals.