No. 5 USC Set For NCAA Championships

May 17, 2006


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The No. 5 USC women's golf team, behind 2006 Pac-10 Player of the Year Irene Cho, makes its ninth consecutive NCAA Championship appearance in search of its second NCAA team title Tuesday through Friday (May 23-26) at the Ohio State Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.

USC qualified for the final 24-team field by winning the NCAA Central Regional at Texas A&M's Traditions G.C., May 11-13. The top eight teams from the 21-team West, Central and East Regionals all advanced (list below).

Under 10th-year head coach Andrea Gaston, the Women of Troy won their first NCAA title in 2003. Continuing their quest for a second, they take on the par-72, 6,203-yard Ohio State University Scarlet Course, established in 1938. The Scarlet Course has been host to tournaments such as the USGA Junior Championships, U.S. Open Qualifier, AJGA Tournament of Champions, Kepler Intercollegiate, Lady Buckeye Invitational, Northern Intercollegiate, Rolex Fall Preview, PING/Golfweek Preview, Big Ten Championships and 14 women's national championships.

Last season, USC finished tied for 11th at the NCAA Championships, 27 shots behind Duke. USC led after the first day, but fell off the pace after the next two rounds.

USC tees off for its first NCAA Championships practice round on Sunday (May 21) at 8:12 a.m. (CDT) and has a second practice round available on Monday (May 22) at 11 a.m.

First-round action starts at 8:10 a.m. on Tuesday (May 23). The Women of Troy begin their first round off the 1st tee at 12:30 p.m., paired with Tennessee and Purdue. USC is grouped in the same threesome in the second round, but will begin off the 10th tee at 8 a.m. Starting times are determined by the standings for the final two rounds.

The Women of Troy have won three tournaments this season, including an impressive performance at the NCAA Central Regional (May 11-13) where they defeated top-ranked Duke, among others, in the tough field. USC first won the Kent Youel Invitational (Nov. 1-2) and then again at the Peg Barnard California Collegiate (April 8-9). The Women of Troy also have a pair of second-place finishes at the Guadalajara Invitational and the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. Third-place finishes include the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, the Stanford Pepsi Intercollegiate and the Pac-10 Championships.

Senior Irene Cho has played as well as anyone in the country this season and is having arguably the finest individual season in Women of Troy history. Her most recent individual title at the NCAA Central Regional was her fourth of the season, tying Mikaela Parmlid's USC school record for season wins. It was also the fifth of her career, also tying Parmlid's school record.

Previously this season, Cho won titles at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Guadalajara Invitational and Peg Barnard California Collegiate and has finished second twice (Edean Ihlanfeldt and Kent Youel Invitationals).

Cho's second-round 64 at Guadalajara broke the USC 18-hole record, as did her 54-hole 203 at the same event. The 64 is also tied for lowest in the NCAA this season (with Tennessee's Marci Turner). She also holds USC's records for career (12) and season (eight, 2006) rounds in the 60s. Her stroke average of 71.81 is second lowest in the country and leads the squad by more than three strokes. The stroke average is currently under Candie Kung's USC season record of 72.6.

An All-American second teamer in 2004 and an honorable mention selection in 2003, Cho is seeking to become only USC's second three-time All-American (Tracy Nakamura did it in 1987, 1988 and 1990).

Most recently, Cho was selected among four collegiate women to participate in the 2006 Fuji Xerox U.S.A. vs. Japan Collegiate Golf Championship in July.

Sophomore Paola Moreno, ranked No. 45 in the country, is second on the team with a stroke average of 75.00. She has six top 20 finishes this season, including three in a row and in four of the past five events. She tied for ninth at the 2006 NCAA Central Regional, her second-best finish of the season..

Junior Catalina Marin is third at 75.17. She has three top 10 finishes and four top 20 finishes, including a season-best tie for sixth at the 2006 NCAA Central Regional. She also tied for eighth at the Kent Youel Invitational, tied for 10th at the Stanford Pepsi Intercollegiate and tied for 19th at the Pac-10 Championships.

Sophomore Dewi-Claire Schreefel (75.19), a 2005 All-American, has seven top 20 finishes, including season-best ties for sixth at the 2006 NCAA Central Regional and at the season-opening Branch Law Firm/ Dick McGuire. She also tied for 19th at the Pac-10 Championships. She has finished among the top 20 in three of her last four events.

Junior Veronica Felibert (76.34) had her two best finishes of the season prior to the 2006 NCAA Central Regional, a tie for 16th at the Peg Barnard California Collegiate and a tie for 15th at the Pac-10 Championships.

The squad is rounded out by freshman Shelcie Takenouchi (81.00 in eight rounds), sophomore Stephanie Hickerson (77.50 in two rounds) and senior Tanya Dergal (75.67 in 12 rounds).

Below are the 24 teams competing for the NCAA title plus six individuals included in the individual competition, listed under the regional from which they qualified. All participants will compete throughout the entire 72 holes of competition. In the team competition, the low four scores for each team will count in each day's total score.

East Regional
1. Tennessee
2. LSU
3. California
4. Florida State
5. Arizona Statev6. Auburn
7. Wake Forest
8. Alabama

1. Lauren Smith, Augusta State
2. Leah Wigger, Virginia

Central Region
1. USC
2. Duke
3. Pepperdine
4. Florida
5. Oklahoma State
6. Texas A&M
7. Kent State
8. Nebraska

1. Devan Andersen, Texas
2. Julia Best, Texas

West Region
1. Purdue
3. Washington
4. Stanford
5. Georgia
7. Arizona
8. Arkansas

1. Rachel Newren, Brigham Young
2. Joanna Klatten, Georgia State

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