USC In Second After NCAA Championships Third Round

May 20, 2010

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Early-round struggles cost No. 3 USC its second-round lead, but the Trojans held firm on the back 9 and sit just seven strokes out of first place after the third round of the 2010 NCAA Championships on Thursday (May 20) at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.

USC, the 2003 and 2008 NCAA champion, began the third round with a seven-stroke lead, but the Trojans encountered trouble on the front 9 and ultimately finished the third round at 7-over 295. USC is now alone in second at 1-over 865 (282-288-295). Purdue, in third to start the third round, moved into first at 6-under 858 (284-294-280). Defending champion Arizona State (288-293-290) and Alabama (289-288-294) are tied for third at 7-over 871 with Arizona fifth at 11-over 875 (296-286-293), Vanderbilt sixth at 15-over 879 (296-292-291) and UCLA seventh at 18-over 882 (288-292-302).

The Trojans will tee off with the lead group (joining Purdue and Arizona State, which earned the final group nod over Alabama due to a tiebreaker) for the NCAA Championships final round for the third year in a row and for the fifth time since 2003. USC led entering the final rounds in 2003, 2008 and 2009 and was in second heading into the last round of 2006.

USC, which has finished in the NCAA Championships' top 4 in five of the past seven years, will tee off the first hole Friday starting at 1:25 p.m. EDT.

Junior Lizette Salas and sophomore Jennifer Song both turned in even rounds to lead the Trojans Thursday. Salas is now tied for 23rd at 3-over 219 (74-73-72) after a three-birdie, three-bogey day. She birdied 18 to finish at par for the round.

Song remained 6-under at 210 (67-71-72), tied for third with Purdue's Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, three strokes behind leader Jennifer Johnson of Arizona State and two back of second-place Caroline Hedwall of Oklahoma State. Song bogeyed 3 and birdied 9 for an even front 9. She bogeyed 12 and then got the stroke back with a birdie on 14. Song then bogeyed 16 before sinking a long birdie on 17 to get back to even a final time.

Sophomore Inah Park turned in her best round of the NCAAs at 3-over 75 and is now tied for 96th at 14-over 230 (77-78-75). She was 1-under through 14 holes with three birdies and only two bogeys before saddling herself with a pair of double bogeys on 15 and 16. Still, she registered USC's third-best round of the day.

Senior Belen Mozo is now tied for 32nd at 5-over 221 (73-72-76). Mozo was 1-over through six holes but lost a combined five strokes between the 7th and 10th holes. Mozo held her game together, however, and finished the final eight holes at 2-under.

Freshman Cyna Rodriguez began the day tied for third but struggled for most of the day before finishing strong. She is now tied for 41st at 7-over 223 (68-72-83). Rodriguez posted a quadruple bogey on 2 and consecutive bogeys from 5 through 13. She managed to restore order over the final five holes, going 2-under to regain some much needed momentum.

Streaming coverage at of the final round (on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes) is available here beginning at noon EDT.