Record-Setting Day Sees USC Women's Golf Race To Big Lead At Icon Invitational
A school-record first round, a first-place tie with two freshmen and an entire team at 3-under or better highlighted No. 15 USC's 36-hole opening day at the Icon Invitational at the Golf Club of Houston on Monday (Feb. 21) as the Trojans raced to a 16-stroke lead despite day-long high winds.
USC combined for a two-round 25-under 551 (270-281) to build a double-digit lead with Illinois second (567) and Oklahoma State third (568). The final round begins with an 8 a.m. (CT) shotgun start.
The Trojans' opening round at 18-under broke the school record for a round under par, besting a pair of 17-under efforts set in 2015.
Freshmen Xin (Cindy) Kou (68-68) and Amari Avery (65-71) share the lead at 8-under 136 with Texas Tech's Amy Taylor heading into Tuesday's final round.
Avery's first round was USC's lowest since Gabriella Then fired the same score at the 2016 Pac-12 Championships.
Kou and senior Katherine Muzi were 4-under in the record-setting first round, sophomore Michaela Morard was 3-under - with her USC season best 69 - while sophomore Brianna Navarrosa was the drop score at 1-under.
"These five should be really proud of the effort they put forth today. We had 10 hours of 20-plus mile per hour winds and everyone hung tough and stayed in both rounds," USC Coach Justin Silverstein said. "We're excited to go back out and compete again tomorrow and try to leave here with a big trophy."
Avery's first round, with a shotgun start on 4, saw her birdie four of her first six holes, pocket three more on 14, 15 and 18 and finish with three pars for the 65.
Kou's pair of 4-under laps included a second-round with four birdies without a blemish. She now has six rounds in the 60s this season, remarkably all at 68.
Muzi (68-73), Navarrosa (71-70) and Morard (69-72) are all tied for seventh at 3-under.
Muzi birdied seven times in her first round to notch her fourth round under 70 this season. Morard only had two bogeys in two rounds while Navarrosa had just three.