Trojans In 4th After NCAA Championships First Round

May 19, 2009

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During a day in which only two out of 126 players were under par, USC freshman Jennifer Song used a par round to lead the No. 3 USC women's golf team to fourth place after the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championships on Tuesday (May 19) at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md.

The defending national champion Trojans, seeking their third team title, combined for a 13-over 301, seven strokes back of surprise round one leader Denver (294). No. 2 UCLA is in second (296) while No. 12 North Carolina is third (299). Top-ranked Arizona State is tied for fifth with LSU at 302.

Said USC 13th-year coach Andrea Gaston, who is coaching the Trojans in the NCAA Championship final for the 12th year in a row: 'We were OK, but we think we could have done a lot better. We started out looking really sharp. But the course is so demanding that you can't let up. There are a lot of tough holes out there. Overall, we are pleased we got off to a reasonable start. There is a lot of golf left to play.

'When you look at the (high) scores, you go `wow'. It's one of the hardest courses we've had to play at the national championships. Thank goodness the conditions were good. If not, this would be all the tougher.'

USC, playing in the NCAA Championships without a senior and with only two of the five golfers that secured the 2008 NCAA crown, was near or at the top of the leaderboard for much of the first round, but a run of bogeys on the back 9 dropped them down a few spots.

Song started out on top of her game, knocking in birdies on four of her first seven holes. Though she had four bogeys the rest of the way to drop her to even, her 72 was still good enough to tie for third, two back of the lead.

Sophomore Lizette Salas is tied for 12th at 2-over 74. The 2008 All-American honorable mention pick who has not finished outside the top 18 in any event this season, had three birdies on the day. She was 2-over on the front 9 but settled down for a solid back 9 at par.

Junior Caroline Kim, playing in USC's fifth position Tuesday, was its third best finisher, tying for 50th at 5-over 77. She started slowly, bogeying four of her first six holes, but put together a solid final 12 holes with two birdies against three bogeys.

Junior Belen Mozo had an usually tough round, tying for 60th at 6-over 78. She was 1-under after the first seven holes, but couldn't manage another birdie, instead finishing with seven bogeys over the final 11 holes.

Freshman Inah Park rounded out USC's first-round efforts, tied for 79th at 7-over 79. Park was 2-over on the front 9 and 4-over through 16 before going 3-over on the final two holes.

USC begins the second round at 8:50 a.m. (EDT), again paired with Purdue and Alabama.

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