No. 3 USC Set To Defend Crown At 2009 Pac-10 Championships

April 22, 2009

The No. 3 USC women's golf team, the defending NCAA and Pac-10 champions who feature three All-Americans and the current No. 1 NCAA golfer in the country, sets out to defend its 2008 conference crown at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships, set for Friday through Sunday (April 24-26) at the Stanford (Calif.) G.C.

Action begins Friday at 8:30 a.m. on the Par 71, 6,117-yard course. Tee times Saturday and Sunday are at 7:30 a.m. The ultra-competitive Pac-10 features the top 3-ranked teams in the country: No. 1 Arizona State, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 USC. Arizona is No. 21, Stanford is No. 24, Cal is No. 26, Oregon is No. 36, Washington is No. 40, Oregon State is No. 64 and Washington State is No. 71.

Live scoring will be available at Golfstat.com. The Pac-10 is also scheduled to stream live coverage from the 18th hole for free through a CBS College Sports All-Access promotion. To view the Championship content, go to the Pac-10 Championships site and click the Pac-10 All-Access banner on the right hand side of the screen.

LEXUS GAUNTLET
Within the USC-UCLA Lexus Gauntlet competition, the season-long battle between Trojans and Bruins in all sports, points for women's golf are awarded to the highest finisher between the crosstown rivals at the Pac-10 Championships. Five points are up for grabs for both women's golf. The winning school needs 57.5 points to clinch. USC currently leads 45-40.

USC'S PAC-10 HISTORY
The Women of Troy won their second Pac-10 title in 2008 and the first under 13th-year head coach Andrea Gaston with a dominating 26-stroke win. Serving as host school, USC combined for an 8-over 860 (285-292-283) to win during a windy three-day event. Troy was led by senior Paola Moreno, who won USC's third individual crown with a 1-under 212 (70-75-67), the Trojans' best ever 54-hole total at a conference championship. She led five Trojan golfers who all finished in the top 8. Moreno joined USC's previous two individual Pac-10 title winners Candie Kung (2000) and Jennifer Biehn (1994) ... USC's other team title came in 1989 and Troy has finished second or third an additional seven times. USC also won a conference crown inn 1986 when it was called the Pacific West Conference ... Prior to its 2008 win, USC finished third the previous three years. Moreno (2008) and Anna Rawson (2001) share the Trojans' record for lowest Pac-10 Championships round at 67.

STREAKS
USC has finished in the top 2 in eight of the past 11 events and has 17 consecutive top 5 finishes, 21 consecutive top 6 finishes and 27 consecutive top 10 finishes in non-match play events.

USC RECENT HISTORY
The Women of Troy have finished among the top five teams at the NCAA championships in four of the past six years, including titles in 2003 and 2008 ... USC, which made its 17th consecutive NCAA appearance last season and its 11 straight in the championships final, led wire-to-wire in both the 2008 NCAA final and West Regional. The NCAA title was its fourth consecutive tournament win, a first in program history ... USC had five All-Americans in 2008 for the first time in school history (Dewi Claire Schreefel, Paola Moreno, Belen Mozo, Stefanie Endstrasser, Lizette Salas).

Jr. Belen Mozo
Junior Belen Mozo is a two-time All-American (first team in 2008, honorable mention in 2007) who led USC last season with seven top 10 finishes and a team-best stroke average of 72.29. She had a streak of having finished no lower than a tie for 18th snapped in the fall at 14 events. In six events as a junior, Mozo has two top 6 finishes and two other tie for 14th ... Mozo, ranked No. 16 in the nation, posted a third-place finish at the Stanford Intercollegiate at 4-under 209 (68-71-70) and tied for sixth at the UCF Challenge with a 5-under 213 (74-65-74). Her 65 tied for the second-lowest round ever at USC ... She tied for 14th at the 2009 Fall Preview and the Arizona Wildcat Invitational ... Mozo has 10 career rounds in the 60s, two off the USC career record, held by Irene Cho.

So. Lizette Salas
Sophomore Lizette Salas, the current No. 1 ranked golfer in the country, earned All-American second-team honors as a 2008 freshman and is gunning for first-team status in 2009. Salas posted seven top 15 finishes last season, including a tie for 15th at the NCAA Championships and a sixth at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships. In 2009, she has finished in the top 10 in all seven starts, including two first-place finishes and three other in the top 4. In the season opener, she set USC bests with a third-place finish and a final-round 68. Her previous USC low was a 71. She followed that with a tie for 10th at the Mason Rudolph at 2-under 214 (71-73-70). Salas then became a first-time collegiate winner and posted a new 18-hole best with a victory at the Stanford Intercollegiate, winning with a 7-under 206 (66-72-68). At the rainy and windy Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Salas fought her way to a tie for fourth. She then claimed a share of her second title at the 2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational with a 3-under 213 (73-71-69). She tied for 10th again at the UCF Challenge with a 4-under 214 (71-70-73) and then took third at the Ping/ASU Invitational with a 3-under 213 (73-66-74) ... Her current team-best stroke average (71.48) is on pace to break USC's season mark of 72.06 (Irene Cho). She also has a team-best five rounds in the 60s, three short of the season record (eight, Irene Cho) ... She was named Golf World's Collegiate Player of the Week (Feb. 23-March 1) following her win at the Wildcat Invitational.

Jr. Stefanie Endstrasser
Junior Stefanie Endstrasser earned All-American second-team honors as a 2008 sophomore, her first season with the Trojans (she transferred to USC after playing for Purdue in 2007). She finished with the third-best stroke average on the team last season (73.55) and had five top 16 finishes in seven outings. Endstrasser matched her best effort as a Trojan at the 2008 Mason Rudolph, tying for third with a 6-under 210 (71-70-69). She also tied for 35th in USC's first event this season.

Fr. Jennifer Song
Freshman Jennifer Song, one of the top international amateur players to join the NCAA ranks in 2009, has broken onto the collegiate scene in a tremendous way with five top 10 finishes in seven starts. The No. 4-ranked individual player in the country, she made her first splash by tying for ninth in her USC debut at the 2009 Fall Preview with a 2-over 218 effort. She followed that with a tie for third at the Mason Rudolph at 6-under 210 (71-68-71) and a tie for 14th at the Stanford Intercollegiate. She tied for second at the rainy and windy 2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge and tied for seventh at the 2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational. She posted a season-best second at the Ping/ASU Invitational with a 4-under 212 (70-74-68) ... She is second on the team lead with three rounds in the 60s and is also second in stroke average (71.88).

Jr. Caroline Kim
Junior Caroline Kim played in two tournaments as a sophomore last season. She has been a much more integral part of USC's team in 2009, playing in seven tournaments so far. She played in USC's first 2009 outing, taking 57th, and then tied for 38th at the Stanford Intercollegiate, her best finish as a Trojan. She carded her low round as a Trojan (69) during the Hooters Collegiate Match Play qualifying rounds (finishing 24th in individual scoring). She has been among USC's starting five six times this year.

Fr. Inah Park
Freshman Inah Park has made immediate contributions as a freshman, playing in five events, four as a starter. She posted a season-best tie for 27th at the Ping/ASU Invitational. She is fourth on the team in scoring average (76.71).

Sr. Victoria Alimonda
Senior Victoria Alimonda saw action in four events as a 2008 junior. She posted a season-best tie for 50th at the Kent Youel Invitational and had a season-low round of 72 at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. In her first action of the season, she tied for 83rd at the Mason Rudolph and also played in the Hooters Collegiate Match Play and the UCF Challenge.

Sr. Shelcie Takenouchi
Senior Shelcie Takenouchi played in two tournaments as a 2008 junior. She made her 2009 debut at the Mason Rudolph Championship, tying for 87th.

Head Coach Andrea Gaston
Andrea Gaston is in her 13th year as the Head Coach for USC women's golf and has led USC into the NCAA Championships final each of the past 11 years. One of the most successful coaches in the nation, she has guided USC to two national titles (2003 and 2008), five NCAA regional championships and one Pac-10 crown. Three Trojans (Jennifer Rosales, 1998, Mikaela Parmlid, 2003, and Dewi Claire Schreefel, 2006) have won NCAA individual titles under her watch and two have won the Honda Award for women's golf player of the year (Parmlid in 2003 and Irene Cho in 2006).

TOURNAMENT RECAPS


2008 Fall Preview
USC turned in the low final round and rallied to a second-place finish at the season-opening 2008 Fall Preview at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md., on Sept. 8. The Trojans combined for a 3-under 285 to wrap up the tournament and finished at 16-over 880 (298-297-285). They were eight strokes behind first-place Arizona State (872). Lizette Salas's final-round 68 was her lowest round as a Trojan (it was 71 previously) and helped her finish at 1-under 215 (73-74-68), good for third overall, her best finish as a Trojan. Belen Mozo carded a 2-under final round to move into a tie for 14th at 4-over 200 (76-74-70). Her finish extends her streak of top 18 finishes to 14.

2008 Mason Rudolph Championship
USC finished second at the 2008 Mason Rudolph Championship, extending its streak of finishing no lower than second to six events. USC finished at 8-under 856 (288-285-283), six strokes back of winner UCLA (850). Stefanie Endstrasser (71-70-69) and freshman Jennifer Song (71-68-71) tied for third at 6-under 210. For Endstrasser, it tied her lowest finish as a Trojan, matching her effort at the 2008 NCAA West Regional Championship. It was also Song's best at Troy, topping her ninth-place mark in her debut tournament earlier this month. Lizette Salas also clocked out with her second top 10 finish of the season, tying for 10th at 2-under 214 (71-73-70). She was third in USC's first event. USC also lengthened streaks for consecutive top 5 finishes (12), consecutive top 6 finishes (16) and consecutive top 10 finishes (22).

2008 Stanford Intercollegiate
Lizette Salas won her first career collegiate title while the No. 1 USC women's golf team posted its seventh consecutive top 2 finish at the 2008 Stanford Intercollegiate at Stanford G. C. (Oct. 17-19). USC finished the 54-hole event at 5-under 847 (279-286-282), three behind first-place UCLA (844) and 10 ahead of third-place Stanford (857). Troy, which began the day three back of UCLA, battled the Bruins throughout the day and flirted with first place before falling back on the final few holes. Still, in addition to extending its top 2 streak to seven, USC now has 13 consecutive top 5 finishes, 17 consecutive top 6 finishes and 23 consecutive top 10 finishes. Salas won the individual title with a 7-under 206 (66-72-68), taking over the lead during a 2-under front 9 and sealing it with a 1-under on the back 9. Salas, who didn't break 71 during an All-American freshman season last year, has gone under 70 three times in three events as a sophomore and has finished no lower than 10th (she is the only Trojan to post three top 10 finishes this season). Mozo, meanwhile, turned in a 1-under final round, bogeying the 2nd hole and birdying the 11th and 12th holes. Her third-place finish is her best on the season and her highest since tying for third at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships.

2008 Hooters Collegiate Match Play
USC opened the Hooters event fourth after 36 holes of stroke play to qualify for the winners bracket of the 16-team field at Ginn Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. Jennifer Song turned in a 4-under 140 (72-68) Lizette Salas tied for 10th at even 144 (73-71). USC, playing without starters Belen Mozo and Stefanie Endstrasser, faced Duke next and lost on a tiebreaker. In a winners consolation bracket matchup, USC fell to UCLA, 4-1, and later fell to Virginia.

2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
Freshman Jennifer Song tied for second and sophomore Lizette Salas tied for fourth to lead USC, which finished fourth at the 2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge (Feb. 9-11). In a tournament played in constant cold and windy conditions (with rain in the opening round),USC finished at 67-over 919 (313-299-307). Arizona State finished first at 46-over 898 with Wake Forest climbing into second (916) and UCLA taking third (917). USC extended its steak of top 5 finishes to 14 events. It was also its 18th straight top 6 finish and its 23 consecutive top 10 finish. Song's tie for second was a USC best for the freshman. She completed 54 holes at 9-over 22 (79-70-73). Song shook off a shaky first round to post the best combined second- and third-round total (143) of any in the draw. Salas's tie for fourth marked her fourth top 10 finish in as many starts this season.

2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational
Sophomore Lizette Salas claimed a share of her second title this season to pace the then-No. 2 USC women's golf team to a tie for second at the Arizona-hosted 2009 Wildcat Invitational at Peninsula G.C. in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico (Feb. 22-24). USC finished at 14-over 878 (302-287-289), tied for second with Arizona State (295-290-293). UCLA won at 4-over 869 (287-295-287). USC notched its eighth top 2 finish in the past nine events and its 15th consecutive top 5 finish. Salas, who hasn't finished outside of the top 10 this season, finished tied for first at 3-under 213 (73-71-69) with New Mexico's Jodi Ewart (72-71-70). Freshman Jennifer Song tied for seventh at 1-over 217 (73-72-72). It was her fourth top 10 finish in five starts this year. Junior Belen Mozo also played strong for the second day in a row and tied for 14th at 4-over 220 (78-71-71).

2009 UCF Challenge
Junior Belen Mozo tied for sixth and sophomore Lizette Salas tied for 10th - extending her streak of top 10 finishes to six - as the duo led the No. 3 USC women's golf team to fourth at the 2009 UCF Challenge at the RedTail G.C. in Sorrento, Fla., on Tuesday (March 11). Troy finished fourth with a 54-hole 8-over 872 (291-286-295). UCLA took first (850) while Arizona State was second (857) and Oklahoma State was third (861). Troy extended its streak of finishing no lower than sixth to 20 consecutive tournaments. Mozo turned in her second top 10 and fourth top 20 finish on the season with a 3-under 213 (74-65-74). A day after finishing within a stroke of tying the school record for low round, Mozo was 2-over, including an early birdie and three bogeys. Salas finished at 2-under 214 (71-70-73), keeping her top 10 streak alive with a 1-over final round. She birdied the second hole and had just two bogeys the rest of the way.

2009 Ping/ASU Invitational
Freshman Jennifer Song and sophomore Lizette Salas finished second and third, respectively, for the third-ranked USC women's golf team, which finished fourth on the final day of the 2009 Ping/ASU Invitational at the Karsten G.C. in Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday (April 5). Oklahoma State won the event at 17-over 881, edging Purdue by one stroke. Host Arizona State fell from first to third at 886 while USC, playing in its final regular-season event of the season, was fourth at 27-over 891 (297-296-298). Song used a final-round 68 to finish at 4-under 212 (70-74-68), securing her fourth top 4 finish of the season. She opened her round with three consecutive birdies and had another on 13 and completed her round without a bogey. Song finished one back of first-place Maria Hernandez of Purdue. Salas finished third at 3-under 213 (73-66-74), her seventh top 10 finish in as many events. A day after firing a 6-under second-round, Salas was still fighting for the individual crown before three late bogeys dropped her out of first. Freshman Inah Park produced her best finish as a Trojan, tying for 27th at 11-over 227 (75-76-76).

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