USC Men's Golf Headed To Washington For Pac-12 Championships
The 2021-22 USC men's golf team, under second-year head coach J.T. Higgins and featuring seven new golfers — including top freshman Jackson Rivera — to complement four returners, is set for the 2022 Pac-12 Championships, Monday through Wednesday (April 25-27), at the Sammamish G.C., in Aldarra, Wash.
2022 Pac-12 Championships Information
The 2022 Pac-12 Championships, in its traditional six play, five count format, kicks off Monday with 36 holes with pairings beginning at 7 a.m. and a second round slated for a 12:30 p.m. start. Tuesday's third round starts at 10 a.m. and the final round Wednesday starts at 7:30 a.m.
USC is paired with Colorado and UCLA on Monday, their first group off at 8:12 a.m. Results will be available at Golfstat.com.
In the six-play, five-count format, USC will feature the following starters: Freshmen Jackson Rivera (11th start) and Gavin Aurilia (ninth), sophomore Krando Nishiba (seventh) and seniors Cameron Henry (fourth), Alex Ross (fourth) and Jack Boulger (sixth). Rivera is the only Trojans to start in each event this season. Henry is the only golfers who competed in last season's conference tournament.
USC HISTORY AT THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Trojans have won a conference-best 20 Pac-12 titles, most recently winning the 2018 crown – its first since 2011 -- while hosting at Rolling Hills C.C. Justin Suh claimed the Trojans' first individual crown since the same year – both he and the Trojans winning by four strokes. The Trojan squad won at 31-under 1389 (347-340-351-351) while Suh won his USC record fifth title of the season at 16-under 268 (68-64-65-71) … At the 2021 Pac-12 Championships, USC finished eighth.
USC's previous two wins were a 2011 playoff win and a dominating 36-stroke win in 2007. USC came close in 2008 to back-to-back wins (like they did in 2001 and 2002), but fell in a playoff to ASU ... USC finished third in 2012 and tied for third in 2017. Troy claimed the crown 15 times between 1962 and 1986 ... USC boasts 22 individual champions including Suh in 2018 as well current PGA player Martin Trainer in 2011, who outlasted Oregon State's Alex Moore during a seven-hole playoff for the win. Jamie Lovemark won in 2007, which ended a drought that dated back to Sam Randolph's tie for first in 1983 ... USC has also earned nine Pac-12 Golfer of the Year honors, including Suh in 2018 and its previous winner, Matt Giles in 2009, as well as Lovemark's 2007 distinction and Kevin Stadler's in 2002 ... Sherman Finger's three wins in 1964-65-66 are tied for the Pac-12's most individual conference titles (with ASU's Paul Casey in 1998-99-2000)… Jamie Lovemark's 2007 title-winning 269 is USC's lowest 72-hole score at the Pac-12s, which led the Trojans to their lowest team score ever at the Pac-12s, a 51-under 1389 (358-342-345-344).
Freshman Jackson Rivera Having One Of Best Rookie Seasons In USC History
Freshman Jackson is having one of the best freshman seasons in recent USC history. In his second-to-last event, he posted a career-best effort, tying for sixth at the Valspar Collegiate at 9-under 204 (66-68-70), reaching a streak of eight rounds of par or better in his last nine at one point, including six under par. His stroke average of 72.00 is currently among USC's top 25 on the all-time season chart.
Rivera, with a team-best six rounds in the 60s, leads the Trojans with a team-best 18 rounds of par or better, including 15 under par. Rivera, who has been USC's top finisher in seven of its 10 events, has five top 21 finishes, six top 28s and has not finished outside the top 36 in any event.
He posted rounds of 65 and 63 at the Arizona N.I.T., the latter being USC's first 63 since Kaito Onishi in November of 2017 and the Trojans' first 9-under effort since Rico Hoey earlier that year in February.
Jackson Rivera led USC all golfers during the fall season, getting off to a fantastic freshman start to his Trojan career. He started in all four of USC's 2021 fall events, posting three top 18 finishes and four in the top 28. He was Troy's top finisher in each event and led the Trojans in stroke average at 71.58.
In fact, Rivera is the first Trojan to lead the men in each fall event since All-American Justin Suh did it in 2017. Rivera's best finish was a tie for 13th at the Colonial Collegiate Invitational at 2-over 212 (72-75-65) while his lowest round under par was a 5-under 211 (73-68-70) at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, good for a tie for 16th.
Four Trojans played in the Washington County Individual in the opening weekend, also in Wisconsin, and graduate transfer Alex Ross took medalist honors with one-stroke win at 12-under 132 (64-68). Redshirt freshman transfer Parker Rostowsky tied for ninth at 6-under 138 (66-72).
For Ross, his 64 was the lowest USC round since Justin Suh's 64 to open the Western Intercollegiate on April 15, 2019. It was the lowest-round by a first-year Trojan since Kaito Onishi's 63 as a freshman in the 2017-18 season and the lowest USC debut round in at least 20 years.
In his first year with the Trojans, Higgins guided USC through the 2021 spring-shortened season to a berth in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
This year's squad features four returning Trojans in senior Cameron Henry, junior Tyler Guo and sophomores Shane Ffrench and Krando Nishiba.
USC has seven newcomers including three true freshmen and four transfers (one of whom is a redshirt freshman who didn't play last year).
The new septet include true freshmen Gavin Aurilia, Jackson Rivera and Daniel Tang. USC's four transfers are fifth-year senior Alex Ross (Davidson), senior Jack Boulger (Connecticut), junior Parker Sisk (San Jose State) and redshirt freshman Parker Rostowsky (Georgia).
Troy's key losses were outgoing seniors Leon D'Souza and Kaito Onishi.
Trojan Talking Points
Shane Ffrench was was the lone Trojan to start and play in all nine of USC's tournaments last season. He was a member of the 2021 All-Pac-12 Newcomer Team and is Troy's leading returner in 2021 stroke average (72.68), rounds of par or better (12) and rounds under par (nine).
Tyler Guo finished with a 74.72 stroke average (which saw 19 counting rounds) and three rounds under par as a sophomore, all in his career-best effort at the Amer Ari Invitational. There, he tied for second at 7-under 209 (68-68-71). Guo was named a 2021 Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar, boasting a 3.51 cumulative GPA as a business administration major, and was also part of the 2021 Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll.
USC's lone returning senior is Cameron Henry. As a 2021 junior, he was a seven-time starter for the Trojans who finished with a 73.68 stroke average, seven rounds of par or better, two top 16 finishes and three in the top 26. His season was highlighted by a tie for 10th at the Amer Ari Invitational at 5-under 211 (70-72-69), his final round a season-best.
Sophomore Krando Nishiba saw action in two events as a sophomore, both starts.
Freshman Gavin Aurilia graduated from Arcadia (Ariz.) High where he won the 2019 Division II state championship at 6-under 140 while leading his squad to a third-place state finish as the No. 2-ranked player in the state. Aurilia put together a dominating win at the 2021 IMG Junior World Championship in the 15-18 division, posting a 4-stroke victory at Torrey Pines with a 3-under 281 (72-71-66-72), taking control of the tournament with a 5-under third round. He is the son of longtime Major League Baseball player Rich Aurilia.
Freshman Jackson Rivera graduated from Torrey Pines High in San Diego where he was a four-time Rolex All-American. He rose to the No. 2 ranked junior golfer in California in 2020 and was top-ranked by AJGA. Rivera qualified for the 2021 U.S. Amateur and he won the 2020 Rancho Santa Margarita Amateur. In 2018, Rivera represented the U.S. at the biennial The Junior Open Championship on the Eden Course at St. Andrews and played for the West team at the Wyndham Cup.
Freshman Daniel Tang, who hails from Beijing, has a broad collection of pro tournament and amateur experience, including playing in the prestigious Sina Cup in 2020. He has played in four PGA Tour China events, most recently finishing third at the 2020 PGA Tour China Qualifying School, earning full exempt status. He was the low amateur at the 2019 Haikou Open (36th), made the cut at the 2018 Zhuhai Open and was the qualifier medalist at the Huangshan Open.
Fifth-year senior Alex Ross is an Atlantic 10 All-Conference first team performer who helped Davidson College win a pair of league championships during a four years with the Wildcats. He once fired a competitive round of 15-under 57. Ross played in 35 career rounds for the Wildcats and was a key part of 2018 and 2021 Atlantic 10 Conference titles, helping the Wildcats to its first two NCAA Championships Regional appearances both seasons.
Senior transfer Jack Boulger from Connecticut played three seasons for the Huskies, playing in 19 career tournaments between 2018-2020 with 13 career rounds of par or better, two rounds in the 60s and seven career top 30 finishes. He did not compete collegiately in the 2020-21 season.
Parker Sisk, a junior transfer from San Jose State, brings solid Division I experience to USC. Sisk competed for San Jose State in 2019 and 2020, playing in a combined 10 tournaments. As a 2020 sophomore, Sisk was a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar. He saw action in six events and was fifth on the team with a stroke average of 73.22, including five rounds in the 60s.
Parker Rostowsky is a 2022 redshirt freshman transfer from Georgia who did not see action as a true freshman with the Bulldogs. He graduated from Mount Paran High in Atlanta, where he was the 2018 Class A Golfer of the Year. A three-time All-State selection, he claimed state medalist honors once and region honors twice. He was the Cobb County Male Athlete of the Year and the Golfer of the Year in 2018 and won seven individual high school tournaments. He also was the kicker on the Mount Paran football team, earning honorable mention All-State honors while twice being named to the All-Region and All-County teams on the gridiron.