USC Claims First Title At Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge

Feb. 10, 2010

Results at Golfstat.com

No player on Coach Andrea Gaston's USC women's golf team was especially spectacular during Wednesday's final round of the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, but sometimes, gritty, workmanlike performances from everyone on the team is all it takes.

That's what Gaston got and it worked out just fine for the No. 9 Trojans, who won the Palos Verdes Estates-based Northrop Grumman for the first time in the event's 15-year history.

USC finished at 24-over 876 (284-296-296), holding off a Pepperdine team (879-295-287-297) that had won the tournament three times in the past seven years. The three-stroke win in the first event of the spring semester was USC's second of the season. Ohio State and UCLA tied for third, but considerably behind at 45-over 897.

USC Pac-10 rivals Arizona State and UCLA had also won this event twice apiece within the past seven years, giving Gaston another reason to cherish this title as USC joined the list of Northrop winners.

'I'm so excited to finally win the Northrop Grumman. It's meant so much to me and we've put so much into it every year,' Gaston said. 'It takes a team effort. I feel like anyone on our team can step up and win. This is a team effort. Every player contributed at least two scores this week and some did three. That's what college golf is all about.'

Sophomore Jennifer Song tied for second at 1-over 214 (67-75-72) while junior Lizette Salas took fifth at 5-over 217 (72-73-73) to lead the Trojans.

Song, who struggled at the end of her second round during Tuesday's miserable weather conditions, got off to a slow start in her third round and was 5-over after six holes. But the nation's top-ranked golfer gathered herself and finished the final 12 holes at 4-under without a bogey. In three collegiate starts this season, she has two wins and a tie for second.

Salas recorded her second straight top 5 finish (and third in the top 12). She opened the final round at 2-under to help keep USC in the lead early and, despite dipping at the end, made some big putts down the stretch.

'It's really exciting to win here,' Salas said. 'It was close coming down the stretch. We're excited to start the season off with a win. We won nationals when we won Pac-10s here (two seasons ago), so that's a good sign for us.'

Senior Belen Mozo, in her first tournament back after recovering from a shoulder injury that bothered her during the fall, tied for 12th at 10-over 223 (69-79-75). She punctuated her round with a birdie on her final hole.

Sophomore Inah Park tied for 33rd at 16-over 229 (78-75-76) and was 2-over for most of her final round. Senior Caroline Kim tied for 38th at 17-over 230 (76-73-81). Playing as individuals, freshman Cyna Rodriguez also tied for 38th at 17-over 230 (74-82-74) while senior Stefanie Endstrasser tied for 54th at 21-over 234 (77-82-75).

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