Trojans Rise To Second After 36 Holes At Amer Ari Invitational
Sophomore Tyler Guo kept the pedal down and fired his second straight 4-under 68 while senior Leon D'Souza and freshman Shane Ffrench posted a pair of 69s as USC moved squarely into second place after 36 holes of the Amer Ari Invitational at the Hapuna G.C. in Waimea, Hawai'i, on Wednesday (Feb. 3).
The Trojans combined for a season-best 10-under 278 and are now at 18-under 558 (280-278), moving into second place behind first-place Georgia Tech, which stands at 26-under 550 (275-275). Third place Georgia Tech is 16 shots behind USC.
Off at 8 a.m. local, USC battled moderate winds but got off the course before the heavy stuff came.
"The guys played well today," USC Coach J.T. Higgins said. "We got a break on the times and it (the wind) was manageable. We were on 17 and it just turned on."
Guo equaled his career-best collegiate round for the second day in a row and is tied for third at 8-under 136 (68-68), two back of first. He raced out to a 4-under front, finishing with birdies on 8 and 9, and closed with an even back 9.
"Tyler has been putting well and I think he's really starting to make better decisions on the course," Higgins said. "He's still playing smart, but a little more aggressively. He did a great job today. Leon had a great round, as did Shane. And Cameron (Henry) has been rock solid."
Ffrench and D'Souza did their best to keep pace with Guo. For D'Souza, it was a welcome turn-around after a bit of a slow start to his season. He matched two birdies against a double in the first nine and used four birdies on the back – including three in a row between 13 and 15 – to get under par for the first time this year.
Ffrench pocketed his third sub-par round this season with three early birdies and an even back nine, moving into a tie for fifth at 5-under 139 (70-69). D'Souza is 25th at 3-over 147 (78-69).
Junior Cameron Henry had another solid day and is 13th at 2-under 142 (70-72) after his par round and that saw four birdies. Kaito Onishi, meanwhile, is tied for 26th at 4-over 148 (72-76).
USC will tee off with Arizona State beginning at 9:12 a.m. HT (11:12 a.m. PT) in the final round Wednesday.
"Our goal every time is to be in the final group and within 10 shots of the lead heading into the final round," Higgins said. "We achieved that and now we have to go out and play a really good round and see if we can reel them in."