USC Women's Golf Back In Action At Windy City Collegiate
The USC women's golf team, the two-time defending Pac-12 champion and ranked No. 12, continues the 2021-22 fall season at the Windy City Collegiate at the Westmoreland G.C. in Wilmette, Ill., Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 14-15).
The 14-team field includes USC, host Northwestern and Augusta, Duke, Florida, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Oregon, Purdue, South Carolina, Stanford and Texas.
The teams will play 36 holes Monday, 18 Tuesday. Results will be available at Golfstat.com.
USC has won the tournament three times. The Trojans captured the event in the fall of 2018 at even 864, with Gabriela Ruffels winning her first career event at 10-under 206 (69-66-71). The Trojans also won it in 2015 with Annie Park taking medalist honors and for the first time in 2014. Troy took second in its most recent appearance at the tournament in 2019 at 11-under 853.
The Trojans, under fourth-year head coach Justin Silverstein and third-year assistant coach Katie Mitchell, feature a young roster with just three upperclassmen returning with just one senior.
Starting for the second time in as many events this fall will be senior Katherine Muzi, junior Alexa Melton, sophomores Brianna Navarrosa and Christine Wang and freshman Xin (Cindy) Kou.
The Trojans are replacing three All-Americans from the 2020-21 roster in Allisen Corpuz, Amelia Garvey and Alyaa Abdulghany not to mention Gabriela Ruffels, who turned pro before her senior year.
Navarrosa is USC's leading returner in stroke average (74.08) and top 11 finishes (three) and rounds in the 60s (four). Senior Malia Nam, the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, is the Trojans' lone returning All-American on the squad.
Freshman Xin (Cindy) Kou posted a third-place finish in her debut event while senior Katherine Muzi and sophomore Brianna Navarrosa tied for 20th as USC took seventh in the ANNIKA Invitational to start the fall season. Kou showed no signs of freshman jitters in her debut tournament as a Trojan, taking third at 8-under 208 (68-73-67). It was the most under par in a USC opener since Malia Nam, also as a freshman, took second at the same event at 12-under on Sept. 19, 2018.
USC is coming off of a five-win season, the third time in the last four seasons with at least that many victories and the eighth time in nine years with three or more wins.
The Trojans kicked off the 2020-21 season with a dominating 26-stroke win at the Lamkin San Diego Invitational, followed it with a four-stroke win at the Sun Devil Winter Classic against an all Pac-12 field and next won The Gold Rush by 34 strokes. USC closed the regular-season with win No. 4 at the Silverado Showdown, a five-stroke come-from-behind victory and then opened the post-season with a wire-to-wire Pac-12 title, winning by five strokes. Fifth-year senior Allisen Corpuz won at Lamkin and The Gold Rush and posted four other top fours.
USC brings back a lot of talent in its six returners, including three - Malia Nam, Alexa Melton and Brianna Navarrosa - who played in the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur.
Navarrosa posted four top 20 finishes, highlighted by a career-best second at the Fresno State Classic at 10-under 206 (68-70-68). She tied for 20th at the Pac-12 Championships, bouncing back from an opening 80 with a 69 and a 73.
Nam posted a pair of third-place finishes - one at the 2021 Pac-12 Championships - among three top 18s. She had three rounds in the 60s.
Melton played in three events as as a sophomore transfer last season from Pepperdine, her season topped by a tie for ninth at the Sun Devil Winter Classic.
Katherine Muzi saw action in five events as a junior, registering two top 16 finishes, including a seventh at the Lamkin San Diego Invitational.
Christine Wang, as a true freshman, played in two events, while sophomore Olivia Yun did not see action last year.
USC welcomes three freshmen this year, two true freshmen in Rolex All-Americans Xin (Cindy) Kou and Jiarui (Joyce) Jin - both from Beijing before moving to the states - as well as sophomore transfer and fellow Rolex All-American Michaela Morard (she played at Alabama as a true freshman).
Kou, a 2020 AJGA Rolex first teamer ranked third nationally, has won 11 career AJGA events, tied for seventh most all time among female golfers. Jin has dominated the Southern California Junior PGA Tour since 2017, winning eight tournaments among 15 top 3 finishes.
Morard represented the U.S. at the 2019 Junior Solheim Cup (where she teamed with her new teammates Navarrosa and Wang), the 2019 Toyota Junior World Cup and at the 2018 World Junior Girls. She is also a two-time AJGA Wyndham Cup team member. She also played in the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur.