No. 3 USC Set For NCAA Championships

May 12, 2010

The No. 3 USC women's golf team, a four-time tournament winner this season coming off a title at the NCAA Central Region and led by sophomore Jennifer Song, the nation's No. 2-ranked golfer, and junior Lizette Salas, ranked No. 10, is ready to challenge for the program's third national title at the 2010 NCAA Championships, Tuesday through Friday (May 18-21) at the at the Country Club of Landfall, hosted by North Carolina-Wilmington.

USC boasts three All-Americans in its 2010 starting lineup in senior Belen Mozo and Salas and Song. Including the 2003 and 2008 NCAA titles, USC has finished in the NCAA Championships' top 4 in five of the past seven years. In fact, the Trojans, who finished third in 2009, have reached the NCAA Championships 13 times in a row under 14th-year head coach Andrea Gaston and have been in the top 7 nine times.

Of the 24 teams that qualified (eight from each of the West, Central and East regions) for the NCAA Championships, 17 are ranked in the Top 25, including 12 of the top 13 teams. They are No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 USC, No. 4 Arizona, No. 5 Auburn, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Purdue, No. 8 Duke, No. 9 Pepperdine, No. 11 Virginia, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 13 Stanford, No. 18 Vanderbilt, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 22 Florida State, No. 23 Texas A&M and No. 25 TCU. The seven teams outside the top 25 also playing are No. 26 South Carolina, No. 27 Tulane, No. 28 Oklahoma State, No. 30 Texas, No. 32 Oregon, No. 34 Kent State and No. 39 San Jose State.

Action begins at 8 a.m. each day. USC will begin the first two rounds paired with South Carolina and Arizona, the three schools beginning play at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday and at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Tee times for the third and final rounds will be determined after the second round. Live scoring at the Par-72, 6,368-yard course will be available at .

The NCAA will also provide live streaming coverage of the 16th, 17th and 18th holes in the third and fourth rounds. They can be accessed at

USC has won NCAA titles in 2003 and 2008. The Trojans finished six strokes ahead of UCLA in 2008 and were 15 strokes better than second-place Pepperdine in 2003 ... This is USC's 23rd overall NCAA Championship final appearance and 13th in a row, all under 14th-year head coach
Andrea Gaston. In addition to winning two titles, the Trojans have twice finished second (2006 and 1994) and also finished third in 2009 and 1986, fourth in 2007, 2000 and 1987 and fifth in 1993 ... USC has won three NCAA individual titles, including Jennifer Rosales in 1998, Mikaela Parmlid in 2003 (in a one-hole playoff) and Dewi Claire Schreefel in 2006. USC's three individual title winners ties it for third most in NCAA history with Duke. Arizona State has five and Arizona has four ... In addition to its three individual champions, USC players have posted eight other top five finishes. Jennifer Song (2009) was second, Paola Moreno (2007) tied for second, Irene Cho (2003), Candie Kung (2001) and Dana Arnold (1990) all tied for third, Jill McGill (1994) and current junior Belen Mozo (2008) finished fourth, Rosales tied for fourth (1999) and Leila Chartrand (2000) tied for fifth ... The NCAA title in 2008 was USC's fourth consecutive tournament win at the time, a first in program history ... USC had five All-Americans in 2008 for the first time in school history (Dewi Claire Schreefel, Paola Moreno, Belen Mozo, Stefanie Endstrasser, Lizette Salas) ... In 1998, Rosales was 9-under par after three rounds, tying for the best score in NCAA Championship history through three rounds.

USC finished third at the 2009 NCAA Championships at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md., the program's fifth top 4 finish in the past seven years and ninth in the top 7 since 1998. The Trojans, and then-freshman Jennifer Song, entered the final round with a lead. But USC fell off the pace on the back 9 and a double bogey on 18 cost Song the individual crown. She finished second overall at 2-over 290 (72-73-71-74), one stroke behind Purdue's Maria Hernandez. As a team, USC finished at 39-over 1191 (301-295-294-301), nine strokes back of top-ranked and first-place Arizona State (1182-302-298-291-291). UCLA snuck in one spot ahead of USC at 38-over 1190 (296-293-304-297). Song was USC's 12th Trojan to finish in the top 5 and the fourth in the top 2 since 2003.

The Trojans in 2009-2010

Sophomore Jennifer Song, who is among the nation's leaders in stroke average (71.82) and ranked No. 2 nationally, is arguably the top collegiate player in the country and a 2010 All-Pac-10 first team selection. She has won two titles this year and has produced two second-place finishes as well as a third. She won her individual titles in USC's first two events in the fall, the Mason Rudolph Challenge (1-under 132-66-66) and the Stanford Intercollegiate (8-under 205-67-71-67). She did not compete in USC's other two fall events after receiving an LPGA Tour playing exemption into the Hana Bank - KOLON Championship in Incheon, South Korea ... This past summer, she became only the second woman to win both the U.S. Women's Amateur and the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links in the same year. On the heels of her 2009 amateur success, she received an invitation to compete at the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA's first major of the season April 1-4, where she tied for 21st with a 1-over 289 (71-71-76-71) and was the low amateur in the field. She was tied for 10th after the first two rounds ... In her first collegiate spring event, Song tied for second at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at 1-over 214 (67-75-72) and then tied for 10th at the Bruin Wave Invitational ... She finished second again at the PING/ASU Invitational with an 8-under 208 (69-70-69) ... At the Pac-10 Championships, she tied for third at 3-over 219 (70-76-73) and she tied for 16th at the NCAA Central Region ... In 22 collegiate rounds this year, she has posted two 66s, three 67s and two 69s ... She broke USC's record for stroke average as a freshman at 71.55, leading the nation last year ... She has 14 career rounds in the 60s, the most in school history and one more than senior teammate Belen Mozo (13) ... She was a semifinalist for the 2009 Sullivan Award, given to the top amateur athlete in the country.

Junior Lizette Salas, a two-time All-American and a first teamer as a sophomore who spent much of last season ranked either No. 1 or 2 in the country, is currently ranked No. 10 thanks to five top 6 finishes this year and six in the top 12 ... Salas, a 2010 All-Pac-10 first team selection, is second on the squad with a stroke average of 72.76 and has four top six finishes in her past six events ... She nabbed a title in USC's final fall event, the Turtle Bay Collegiate Invitational, with an 8-under 208. That followed her 12th-place finish at the NCAA Fall Preview ... She opened the spring season with a fifth at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, her third straight top 12 finish and was fourth at the Bruin Wave Invitational at 2-under 214 (72-71-71). She tied for sixth at the PING/ASU Invitational with a 5-under 211 (69-72-70) ... She led USC at the NCAA Central Region, turning in a 5-over 221 (75-71-75) for second place, two strokes out of first ... She has 10 career rounds in the 60s, four this season ... Last year, Salas finished under-par in eight of 10 events. Her stroke average of 71.82 was fifth best in the country and the second best ever at USC.

Senior Belen Mozo, bothered by a shoulder injury since the end of her junior season, is healthy again and ready to help the Trojans make a run at their third NCAA crown. The three-time All-American who earned 2010 All-Pac-10 honorable mention notice despite battling injuries, played in the Stanford Intercollegiate and the NCAA Fall Preview in the fall but had to withdraw from the latter due to her injury ... At the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, USC's first spring semester event, she tied for 12th. She then tied for 22nd at the Wildcat Invitational and tied for seventh at the Bruin Wave Invitational with an even 216 (68-76-72) ... She tied for 16th at the NCAA Central Region ... Mozo, third on the team in stroke average (74.14) and ranked No. 34 in the country, has 13 career rounds in the 60s, one behind sophomore teammate Jennifer Song, who holds USC's career record ... She became USC's fourth three-time All-American last year, earning first-team honors in 2008, second in 2009 and honorable mention in 2007.

Freshman Cyna Rodriguez has provided a solid lift for the Trojans as a reliable contributor to the starting lineup and was rewarded with a 2010 All-Pac-10 honorable mention honor. She has seven top 40 finishes, including a season-best tie for 10th at the Pac-10 Championships, where she was 5-over 221 (73-80-68), registering a career-best in the final round. She followed it up with a tie for 16th at the NCAA Central Region ... She tied for 15th at the Bruin Wave Invitational where she finished at 3-over 219 (73-75-71). She tied for 24th at the Turtle Bay Collegiate and tied for 37th at the PING/ASU Invitational.

Sophomore Inah Park has been steadily improving this season. She posted a career-best tie for 16th at the NCAA Central Region that included an opening round 73 ... She tied for 30th at the Mason Rudolph and tied for 33rd at the Northrop Grumman.

Senior Stefanie Endstrasser saw limited action in the fall, but finished on a high note, tying for 21st at the Turtle Bay Collegiate. She has played in two spring events, most recently tying for 46th at the PING/ASU Invitational. She also tied for 54th at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge.

Senior Caroline Kim has seen her role increase in the past two seasons with the Trojans and is looking to make the most of the opportunity. Kim's season has been highlighted so far by a tie for 30th at the Mason Rudolph Championship and she has two other top 40 finishes.

2009-2010 EVENT RECAPS
USC's four titles this season are its most since the 2007-08 season, when it also won four. USC also won four in the 2003 season. Troy won NCAA crowns both years.

At the rain-shortened Mason Rudolph earlier this year, USC, which began the final round tied for first with Auburn at 10-under, didn't card the lowest round of the day, but its 6-under 282 was good enough to take the two-round title at 16-under 560 (278-282). The win was USC's first since winning the 2008 national championship. Jennifer Song won the individual title, her first solo title as a collegiate player (she tied for first at the Pac-10 Championships). Song fired a pair of 6-under 66s to win the event at 12-under 132 (66-66), three strokes better than Vanderbilt's Alex Marina and Auburn's Cydney Clanton (who were tied at 135).

USC finished fifth, but sophomore Jennifer Song fired her fourth sub-70 round in five tries (through two events) and her final-round 67 was good enough to finish at 8-under 205 (67-71-67) to secure a three-stroke victory. She was 1-under through the front nine and remained 1-under through 14 holes. Song then birdied 15, 16 and 18 to go to 8-under. Her 205 was the third-lowest round in program history. Senior Belen Mozo, playing in her first event of the year following off-season shoulder surgery, tied for 33rd at 7-over 220 (75-70-75).

Junior Lizette Salas tied for 12th to lead USC at the 2009 UNCW Fall Preview at the Country Club of Landfall's Pete Dye Course in Wilmington, N.C. Playing the event without the nation's No. 1 player, Jennifer Song, Troy finished 16th at 52-over 319 (288-309-319). Duke took first at 17-over 881. The Trojans were handcuffed because senior Belen Mozo had to withdraw from the final round, leaving Troy without a score to drop.Salas finished at 4-over 220 while sophomore Inah Park tied for 50th at 13-over 229 (72-76-81).

Junior Lizette Salas fired an 8-under 208 (71-67-70) to win medalist honors and lead USC to a third-place finish at the Turtle Bay Invitational in Kahuku, Hawaii, in November. The Trojans finished the event at 15-over 879 (291-290-298), 11 shots behind winner UC Davis (868). USC played without All-American Jennifer Song for the second straight event. USC was also without senior Belen Mozo, who was nursing a shoulder injury. Salas was 2-over through the first eight holes of her final round, but a birdie on 9 provided the momentum for a strong finish as she birdied three more times to clinch first place.

Sophomore Jennifer Song tied for second while junior Lizette Salas was fifth to lead USC to its first ever win at the Northrop Regional Challenge in the spring's first event. 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 was USC's second of the season. Song finished at 1-over 214 (67-75-72) while Salas was 5-over 217 (72-73-73). Song 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. Salas recorded her second straight top 5 finish (and third in the top 12). Senior Belen Mozo turned in her best effort of the season, a tie for 12th.

USC had a pair of tough days of golf at the 2010 Wildcat Invitational at the Arizona National G.C. in Tucson, Ariz., finishing 12th. Troy, playing both days in cold and windy conditions (including rain on the first day), combined for a final-round 310 and finished the two-day event at 50-over 618 (308-310). The invitational was originally scheduled for 54 holes, but miserable playing conditions reduced the first day of action from 36 holes to 18. The Women of Troy were led by senior Belen Mozo, tied for 22nd at 8-over 150 (77-73). Sophomore Jennifer Song tied for 40th at 12-over 154 (74-80).

Lizette Salas, Belen Mozo and Jennifer Song all finished in the top 10 as USC claimed its third tournament of the season and the second of the spring at the inaugural Bruin Wave Invitational at the Robinson Ranch G.C. in Santa Clarita, Calif. USC overcame a four-stroke deficit to Pepperdine and also out-played UCLA, which it started the day tied with, to win the 54-hole event at 2-over 866 (286-294-286). Salas finished fourth overall at 2-under 214 (72-71-71), putting together a strong three-day performance for her third top five result this season and the fourth in the top 12. Mozo tied for seventh at even 216 (68-76-72) for her first top 10 mark this season while Song tied for 10th at 1-over 217 (73-72-72) for her fourth top 10 finish.

Jennifer Song fired a 69 to finish second while Lizette Salas was also under par to tie for sixth, leading the No. 4 USC women's golf team to third place in a hotly contested final round of the PING/ASU Invitational at the Karsten G.C. in Tempe, Ariz. The Trojans, playing in their final regular-season event, finished at 6-under 858 (281-290-287), two back of come-from-behind winner UCLA (856) and one back of second-round leader and host Arizona State (857). Song posted her fourth top 2 finish of the season at 8-under 208 (69-70-69). Salas notched her fourth top 6 finish in the past five events at 5-under 211 (69-72-70).

Jennifer Song tied for third and Cyna Rodriguez tied for 10th, as No. 4 USC used a strong final round to finish fourth at the 2010 Pac-10 Women's Golf Championships at the Eugene (Ore.) C.C. The Trojans finished at 27-over 891 (284-318-289) and combined for the second-lowest third-round score. Arizona was a surprise winner at 14-over 878 (293-297-288). The Wildcats came from behind to overcome UCLA, which was second at 881, while host Oregon was third (889). After USC in fourth, Washington was fifth (906), Cal was sixth (909), Stanford was seventh (928), Washington State was eighth (965) and Oregon State was ninth (967). Top-ranked Arizona State was disqualified from the event after two of its five players withdrew in the second round (due to illness). USC's championship goals took a blow when Belen Mozo's second round was disqualified due to a rules violation, costing USC eight strokes. Song's tie for third at 3-over 219 (70-76-73) came a year after she tied for first as a freshman. Rodriguez posted her best effort as a Trojan, going 4-under in her final round to finish tied for 10th at 5-over 221 (73-80-68).

Behind a second-place finish from junior Lizette Salas and strong work from the entire squad, the No. 4 USC women's golf team won the 2010 NCAA Championships Central Region at the Otter Creek. G.C. in Columbus, Ind., posting its fourth regional title in the past five years and advancing to its 13th straight NCAA final. After taking over the lead from Arizona State in the second round Friday, USC never trailed in the final round and won the event at a combined 43-over 907 (299-304-304), turning in the top round for the second straight day. The Trojans won by eight strokes over the No. 2 Sun Devils, who finished at 51-over 915. The Trojans, who won for the fourth time in 10 outings this season, were led by Salas, who finished second at 5-over 221 (75-71-75), two strokes behind Kent State's Martina Gavier (219-72-75-72). Salas was even through nine holes and 2-over entering the 17th hole, which she birdied. A double bogey on 18 dropped her out of first, but she still finished as the top Trojan by 10 strokes. Remarkably, USC's remaining quartet of golfers all tied for 16th at 15-over 231.

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