USC Finishes Season-Best Second At Amer Ari Invitational
The Trojans, behind career-best performances from sophomore Tyler Guo and freshman Shane Ffrench, battled one of the top teams in the country to the wire, ultimately finishing a season-best second at the Amer Ari Invitational at the Hapuna G.C. in Waimea, Hawai'i, on Thursday (Feb. 4).
The Trojans combined for a 25-under 839 (280-278-281), finishing 12 shots back of Arizona State and 15 better than Oregon State and Georgia Tech, who tied for third.
USC, which started the day eight strokes back, got to within a handful of shots midway through the final round and were within six late before the Sun Devils pulled away over the final few holes.
"I was proud of the guys today," USC Coach J.T. Higgins said. "The plan was to cut into the lead by the turn and put pressure on them, and that's what we did. I wanted to put some heat on (ASU) and we got it to about five. In my opinion they're the best team in the country and they showed why so they're so good and played a real impressive final 4-5 holes.
"We got a little loose with some shots late and probably felt the pressure a bit. But that's good. It's a learning experience and we'll be in that situation a lot and the more comfortable we get the better we'll be."
Guo tied for second at 9-under 207 (68-68-71), his first time in the top 10 as a Trojan and posting three rounds under par for the first time. He was within a shot of first late in the final round before his first double bogey of the tournament on 17.
"Tyler had a great week," Higgins said. "As far as physically, he is as good as we've got on the team. He's a strong putter, can hit it, and has a good short game. He's making huge strides on the mental approach and becoming more aggressive and fearless. I'm proud of him."
Ffrench was also under par each round en route to a tie for fifth at 7-under 209 (70-69-70). At 3-under through 15, he had his first double of the week on 16, but closed with a birdie on 18.
Joining them in the top 10 was junior Cameron Henry, who tied for 10th at 5-under 211 (70-72-69). He blazed to a 4-under front nine on his way to his second-best finish at USC.
"Shane and Cam were amazing," J.T. said. "They hit some great golf shots and made a lot of birdies and put us in position to at least have a chance. I couldn't ask for more from those guys."
Senior Kaito Onishi tied for 18th at 3-over 219 (72-76-71) following a 1-under final round while Leon D'Souza posted a season-best 25th at 5-over 221 (78-69-74).