Trojans Climb To Second Halfway Into 2009 NCAAs

May 20, 2009

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A par round from junior Belen Mozo, complimented by solid performances from sophomore Lizette Salas, freshman Jennifer Song and junior Caroline Kim, helped the No. 3 USC women's golf team move from fourth to second place and remain firmly in the title hunt after day two of the 2009 NCAA Championships on Wednesday (May 20) at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md.

The defending national champion Trojans, seeking their third team title, were six strokes better in the second round than the first, combining for a 7-over 295 and are now 20-over 596 (301-295) through 36 holes. USC trails first-place No. 2 UCLA (589-296-293) by seven strokes and is two ahead of third-place No. 13 Denver (598-294-304). Top-ranked Arizona State, No. 12 North Carolina and No. 4 Oklahoma State are tied for fourth at 24-over 600.

USC 13th-year coach Andrea Gaston, directing the Trojans in the NCAA Championship final for the 12th year in a row, was pleased with Troy's improved play. USC's second-round 295 was second best of the day behind UCLA's 293.

'Obviously that was our goal, to improve each day. You hope to learn something about the course each day, play patiently and make intelligent decisions,' Gaston said. 'It was good to see. I don't feel like we left as many shots today on the course as we did yesterday. Overall, we had a really good day.'

USC, playing in the NCAA Championships without a senior and with only two of the five golfers that secured the 2008 NCAA crown (Mozo and Salas), started the second round in the early wave of teams off of the 10th tee.

Song remains USC's low scorer and is fifth at 1-over 145 (72-73). Similar to her first round, the freshman got off to a fast start and was 3-under after five holes. She dropped to par after a bogey and double bogey on 17 and 18 and finished her final 9 holes at 1-over.

Salas turned in her second consecutive 2-over 74 and is now tied for 14th at 4-over 148. She was 1-over on both the front and back 9 with one birdie against two bogeys on both sides.

Mozo turned in the biggest one-day turnaround on the team, moving up into a tied for 20th after shaving six strokes off her first round and is now 6-over 150 (78-72). A bogey on 13 and a birdie on 14 had her at even on the front 9. She birdied hole 1 to go 1-under but fell back to 1-over after bogeys on 6 and 8. Mozo finished the round with a birdie on 9 to get to back to where she started the day, at even.

Kim also improved on day two and is tied for 48th at 9-over 153 (77-76). She was 2-over on both the front and back and also birdied her final hole.

Freshman Inah Park is tied for 88th at 14-over 158 (79-79). She was holding steady at 1-over after the front 9, but lost six strokes on the way in.

Action continues Thursday and Friday. USC tees off with leader UCLA and third-place Denver beginning at 12:50 p.m. EDT.

There will be online webstreaming coverage both days.

Click here for webstreaming coverage of holes 16-18 on Thursday (Third Round).

Click here for webstreaming coverage of holes 16-18 on Friday (Final Round).

Coverage scheduled both days from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3-6:30 p.m. (or until completion of play).

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