Troy 9 Up Wtih 18 Holes To Go At Pac-10 Championships

April 22, 2008

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Sophomore Belen Mozo led another strong team effort in the face of windy conditions as No. 3 USC took a big step toward its first conference crown in almost 20 years, building a nine-shot lead after the second round of the 2008 Pac-10 Women's Golf Championships on Tuesday (April 22) at Palos Verdes (Calif.) G.C.

USC, which trailed UCLA by a stroke after Monday, is a combined 9-over 577 (285-292), nine strokes ahead of crosstown rival UCLA (18-over 586, 284-302). Arizona State is also still in the hunt at 22-over 5590 (296-294).

Troy, which last won the Pac-10 title in 1989, took over the overall lead early in the second round and saw the advantage fluctuate between a three- and six-stroke edge during the front 9. As the five USC-UCLA pairings battled each other and the course, the Bruins closed to within three after the turn, but the Trojans slowly rebuilt the lead and then some.

Sophomore Belen Mozo moved into a tie for first after her second straight par 71, her overall 142 tied with UCLA's Tiffany Joh. Three-over after six holes, she gathered herself to go 3-under during the final 12 holes.

'Yesterday, I started strong and finished bogey-bogey,' Mozo said. 'Today, I was 3-over after six holes. I knew today was important for the team and I was struggling with my putting.

'I told myself to keep breathing and find my rhythm. It was really windy on the back 9, but I kept hitting the fairways, getting close to the pin and I made a few putts.'

Senior Paola Moreno (70-75) and freshman Lizette Salas (71-74) are tied for fifth at 3-over 145. After a pair of bogeys on two of the course's tough first four holes, Moreno was 1-under from the 5th to 14th holes. She gave three strokes back on three of the final four holes to drop off the lead, but is still within three strokes of the lead. Salas, who has five top 15 finishes in her last six events, was even going out and 3-over coming in.

Sophomore Stefanie Endstrasser had another solid day, finishing eighth at 4-over 146 (73-73). Endstrasser was 1-under on the front 9 and 3-over on the back 9, remaining steady in her first Pac-10 Championships.

Senior Dewi Claire Schreefel is tied for 12th at 6-over 148 (74-74). Coming off a win in her previous tournament, Schreefel was 3-over on the front 9 and even on the back.

'Conditions were much more difficult today. It got windy sooner and being able to judge the wind, starting on 12 and continuing on 13 and 14, was very critical,' said USC Head Coach Andrea Gaston, who has guided the Trojans to two wins already this season. 'The team did a good job hanging in there. We finished better today, which is what you have to do.

'(Tomorrow) we still have to go out and play the course. We can't protect the lead. You can't think about UCLA. You need to play the course, the conditions and the hole locations. You can't think ahead.'

Play concludes Wednesday (April 23), beginning at 8 a.m.

In addition to Pac-10 bragging rights, also on the line are points toward the USC-UCLA Lexus Gauntlet competition, the season-long battle between Trojans and Bruins in all sports. Points for women's (and men'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 47.5-37.5.

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