ANN ARBOR, Mich. (May 19, 2012) -- Sophomore Jeffrey Kang's 67 led a No. 5 USC men's golf squad whose every player was below par, enabling the Trojans to set a course record and vault into first place after the second of three days at the 2012 NCAA Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional on Friday (May 18) at the Michigan G.C.
The Trojans, who began the day in sixth place, 11 off the lead, combined for a 12-under 272 to move to 7-under 561 (289-272) for the event. USC holds a slim one-stroke lead over Oregon, Kent State and TCU (562) while Virginia is fifth at even 568 and Notre Dame sixth at 569.
Only the top five teams in each of the six NCAA regionals - three with 13 teams and three with 14 teams -- and the low individual not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship final, hosted by USC between May 29-June 3 at The Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades.
"It was a great day for us today," said USC sixth-year head coach Chris Zambri, who has guided the Trojans into the NCAA final in each of his first five seasons. "In order to be an elite team, you need five guys in the mix every round. We had that today. I would love to see it happen again tomorrow."
Kang's 67 was built on a six-birdie day, four of which came during a 3-under front 9. He moved to 5-under with birdies on 11 and 13 before a bogey to end the round. He rebounded from his 4-over Thursday and is now tied for 19th at even 142 (75-67).
Anthony Paolucci is tied for third at 6-under 136 (67-69) after his second strong day in a row. He carded his second eagle of the event on the par 5 first hole though still finished the front 9 at par. He knocked in four birdies during a 2-under back 9 and is tied with three others in third, one back of leaders Julien Brun of TCU and Albin Choi of North Carolina State. Paolucci, now tied with Kang for the team lead in rounds in the 60s with eight, is after his best finish as a Trojan. Going into this week, his previous best is a tie for ninth. Joining Kang in a tie for 19th at even 142 (72-70) is senior Steve Lim, who turned in another of his trademark steady rounds. He had birdies on 1 and 10 and a bogey on 12 to secure his 1-under round.
Juniors Martin Trainer and Sam Smith both made big moves Friday, improving on their 75s Thursday with 68s today to move into a tie for 24th at 1-over 143. Both mixed five birdies with two bogeys in their rounds today.
The Trojans will resume playing Saturday (May 19) beginning at 8:40 a.m. CT with Oregon and Kent State.