USC Women's Golf Leads Wire-To-Wire For 2nd Straight Pac-12 Title
It took an extra year in between, but USC has defended its 2019 Pac-12 title with a brilliant 54-hole effort, completing a wire-to-wire performance - as it did two years ago - capturing the 2021 Pac-12 Women's Golf Championship by five strokes on Sunday (April 25) at the Stanford G.C.
The Trojans, who couldn't defend their 2019 crown when the 2020 postseason was cancelled due to Covid, played a steady three days of golf to win at 3-under 849 (283-287-279) while withstanding a furious rally from host Stanford and pressure from other Pac-12 rivals.
The win marks USC's seventh Pac-12 title and eighth in conference history. It is the Trojans fifth championship in the last 10 years and the sixth in the last 13 seasons.
It is also USC's fifth win this season, the third time in the last four seasons with at least that many.
USC did it thanks to a group effort highlighted by senior Amelia Garvey and junior Malia Nam. Garvey, in her first Pac-12s since her freshman season, posted her collegiate-best finish, taking second at 5-under 208 (67-72-69), while Nam tied for third at 4-under 209 (68-72-69).
Senior Alyaa Abdulghany was 12th at 4-over 217 (73-74-70), senior Allisen Corpuz tied for 15th at 7-over 220 (75-74-71) and freshman Brianna Navarrosa tied for 20th at 9-over 222 (80-69-73).
"I'm so happy for this group to be rewarded with a Pac-12 Championship," said USC third-year coach Justin Silverstein after leading the Trojans to their second title in his brief tenure. "This golf course provided an extremely tough and intense test and we were able to survive by playing really smart and disciplined golf.
"I was fortunate enough to walk 53 of 54 holes with Amelia and that was the best golf I've seen her play. Malia has put in a lot of hard and smart work with her game the past six weeks and it's awesome to see her get rewarded for it.
"Brianna rebounded so well from her first round and played a massive role in us winning this title. She was recruited here to put up big rounds in high stress spots and that's exactly what she did. Allisen and Alyaa are so solid for us and they came up huge today and helped carry us as they have all year."
USC, in finishing atop the Pac-12 leaderboard for the sixth round in a row, saw its lead dip to as little as two strokes as Stanford got hot midway through the final round.
But all five Trojans stayed the course. Navarrosa first locked in a 2-over 73, a solid backstop round. Corpuz then followed with a par round, her team-best 15th round of par or better.
Abdulghany closed with her 1-under, leaving Nam and Garvey a five-stroke lead and the duo both carded pars on 18 to seal it.
USC's five players finishing in the top 20 smacked of its 2019 effort when all five starters were among the top 22, something that also happened in its 2016 title.
The Trojans now await their NCAA fate when the NCAA Regional assignments are announced Wednesday on Golf Channel starting at 11 a.m. PT.