WAIKOLA, HI (February 3, 2017) -- With stellar play across the board in the second round No. 7 USC has moved into the lead at the Amer Ari Invitational. The Trojans started the day three shots behind first round leader, No. 17 Texas Tech, but they used a 20-under second round at Waikoloa Kings' Course to become the leaders by one over the Red Raiders. USC, 35-under, will now look to hold on during what should be a final round duel with 34-under Texas Tech.
Through two days of play USC is being led by tournament individual leader Rico Hoey. The senior has combined rounds of 69-63 to reach 14-under and open up a three-stroke lead over a trio of players. On Friday Hoey was spectacular from the word go, carding nine birdies during a career best 9-under 63 round of golf.
The runner-up a year ago at the Amer Ari, Hoey had never shot better than a 65 in his collegiate career, doing it six times.
Opening his round on the 4th hole, Hoey birdied the hole and never looked back rolling in at one point six birdies in an eight hole stretch from Nos. 13-2. During the run Hoey penciled in four consecutive circles on Nos. 17-2.
The Trojans were able to combine for a 20-under second round tally thanks to a roster full of under-par scorecards. Even more impressively USC currently has four players inside top-13 of the individual standings --Justin Suh (T8; -8), Andrew Levitt (T11, -7) and Sean Crocker (T13, -6).
Second place Texas Tech is being paced by junior Fredrik Nilehn who at 11-under sits in the three way tie for second. Nilehn followed up his first round 6-under 66 with a second day 5-under 67.
Also sharing second place with Nilehn are USC's Kyle Suppa (playing as an individual) and Colorado's Ethan Freeman.
Rounding out the top-5 in the individual standings are the duo of Jared du Toit (Arizona State) and Maverick McNealy (Stanford). Both players are 10-under and in fifth place. Du Toit held a share of the first round lead at 8-under and shot a 2-under 70 on Friday.
In the team standings USC and Texas Tech have opened up a sizable gap between themselves and the rest of the field. No. 6 Stanford and Colorado are 16-under in a tie for third while 22nd ranked Oregon is fifth at 15-under.
The highest ranked team of the seven Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll top-25 teams in the field is No. 4 Oklahoma State and they 12-under and in sixth place.
-Golfweek provided information for this story