Jackson Rivera, USC Men's Golf Lead Season-Opening Husky Invitational After Two-Round Start
The USC men's golf team kicked off the 2022-23 season in grand fashion, racing to the lead at the Husky Invitational on Monday (Sept. 19) in Bremerton, Wash., with sophomore Jackson Rivera leading the field (7-under) while sophomore Gavin Aurilia (3-under) and freshman Mahanth Chirravuri (par) joining him in the top 10.
The Trojans, seeking their first team victory in three seasons, put themselves in good position and lead the 15-team event at 2-under, two holes short of completing the full 36 holes at the Gold Mountain G.C. Olympic Course. Host Washington is second at par while fellow northwest schools Washington State and Oregon are tied for third at 7-over.
USC opened with a collective 2-over and is 7-under with its two holes to go. The last time Troy posted a round 7-under or better was in the spring of 2021.
"We got off to a bit of a slow start and I think the guys did a good job not getting frustrating, because we had scoring opportunities that didn't fall early," USC third-year coach J.T. Higgins said. "But once the top was popped on the birdies, they started coming in droves."
Rivera couldn't finish his final two holes due to darkness and will complete his second round Tuesday morning. USC's top player from a year ago, Rivera owns a two-stroke lead heading into holes 8 and 9 tomorrow.
"Jackson was solid all day," Higgins said. "But everyone else stepped up in the second round and put together a really good 18. lt was a lot of fun, and it's fun to be in contention again."
Rivera opened his season with a 67, his 10th career round under 70 and his eighth in his last 17 rounds dating back to last season with a chance for 11 when the sun rises.
Aurilia is third at 3-under 141 (73-68), his second round his best effort as a Trojan, bettering his freshman low by a stroke. Aurilia, following his 1-over first round, started his second round 2-over through four holes, but birdied three of his next four to turn at 1-under. He then birdied 5 and eagled 6, coming home at 3-under.
The lineup was bolstered by Chirravuri, who debuted in a huge way. An Arizona native like Aurilia, Chirravuri is tied for ninth at par 144 (77-67). After an opening 5-over, he caught fire in the second round, going out at 4-under with five birdies (including a 60-foot chip-in birdie on a par 3) and coming home at 1-under.
Chirravuri's 67 is the lowest by a freshman in a Trojan's debut event since Yuxin Lin began the 2019 fall with a first-round 66.
Junior Parker Sisk is tied for 54th at 10-over 154 (78-76), birdieing his final hole of the day to save a stroke late. Junior Krando Nishiba is tied for 70th at 15-over 159 (76-83). He posted a counting score in the first round thanks to an eagle on 6.
Meanwhile at the nearby Husky Individual Invitational, graduate senior and second-year Trojan Jack Boulger is in first at 7-under 135 (68-67). His two rounds today are his two best as a Trojan. He used three back 9 birdies in the first round for his 68 and then birdied his final four holes of the night to post his USC-best 67.
The tournament finishes Tuesday with a 7:30 a.m. start off 1 and 10.