No. 5 ranked Trojans win the Div 1 Central Regional -- photo USC Athletics
ANN ARBOR, Michigan (May 19, 2012) -- Sophomore Jeffrey Kang carded his second consecutive 67 while senior Steve Lim and junior Sam Smith each fired 69s to lead the No. 5 USC men's golf squad to victory at the 2012 NCAA Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional on Saturday (May 19) at the Michigan G.C. and earn a spot in the upcoming Trojan-hosted NCAA Championships.
The Trojans began the day with a one stroke lead over Oregon, Kent State and TCU and held them all off to win at 11-under 841 (289-272-280), turning in a 4-under final round. Oregon took second (842), matching USC's final round, while Kent State was third (844), Virginia fourth (846) and TCU fifth (849).
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 advance to the NCAA Championship final, hosted by USC between May 29-June 3 at The Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades.
"It feels great to play well in such a critical week," said USC sixth-year head coach Chris Zambri, who has now guided the Trojans into the NCAA final in each of his first six seasons. "Everyone contributed and now we need to find ways to improve and be sharp for Rivera."
USC's win was its second this season and its eighth top 4 finish.
Kang led four Trojans in the top 20 with a 10th-place finish at 4-under 209 (75-67-67) for his fifth top 10 mark this year and sixth in the top 12. He was 3-under during the front 9 and 1-under on the back, knocking in eight birdies on the day.
Lim (72-70-69) and freshman Anthony Paolucci (67-69-75) tied for 13th at 2-under 211. Lim's final round included three birdies and an eagle on the par 5 11th hole. Paolucci didn't have a final-round birdie, but his strong first and second rounds helped him to his fifth top 17 finish this season.
Smith tied for 17th at 1-under 212 (75-68-69) for his fifth top 20 finish this year. He had five birdies Saturday, including three during a 2-under back 9.
Junior Martin Trainer rounded out USC's efforts, tied for 35th at 5-over 218 (75-68-75). He had three birdies during the round.
All attention turns to the NCAA Championships, where the Trojans will look for their first national crown in program history while hosting the event.
NCAA Division I Golf Championship - Central Regional: Top Finishers