BREMERTON, Wash. (May 18, 2008)--Sophomore Rory Hie and junior Tom Glissmeyer continued their smooth travels in the Northwest, successfully guiding the No. 2 USC men's golf through unchartered territory as Troy captured its first-ever NCAA Regional title on the final day of the 2008 NCAA Championships West Regional on Saturday (May 17) at the Gold Mountain G.C. in Bremerton, Wash.
The Trojans, who have never won an NCAA team title either, are as hot as any Trojan team in recent memory and are poised to give the rest of the qualifying field a run for its money in about 10 days. USC has now won three of its last four events and four of the past six. (That streak includes a Pac-10 Championships playoff loss after tying for first a regulation.) USC has also finished no lower than fourth in any of its last 10 events.
"I thought it was perfect," said second-year Head Coach Chris Zambri of USC's first-ever NCAA regional win. "We were hoping to make sure we got to nationals. If we could win, that would be a bonus. It was a perfect week. A couple guys could be a little sharper, but we've got a few guys playing really well and I know the others can play well too, so we're in good shape.
"I don't know if we have five number ones, but we have five guys who could finish in the top five. In our top five we've had two wins, three seconds. It's pretty strong when you have five guys who have finished second or better throughout the year at a given event. I would assume that with five guys it makes it more possible to win a national championship and increases your odds. Having five guys that can finish in the top five or 10 really helps."
University of Oregon Benedetti became the first golfer in school history to medal at the NCAA West Regional, finishing at 9-under 207. For the third straight day, the senior from Huntington Beach, Calif., had four birdies, a bogey and 13 pars. He birdied No. 6, No. 9, No. 11 and No. 14 at the par-72, 7,111-yard Gold Mountain Golf Club.
"It is unbelievable to get his first win at the NCAA regional, but Joey anchored us all week and he was really the most consistent golfer in the field," said Oregon coach Casey Martin. "I could not be happier for Joey. What a great performance."
USC wrapped up play at 2-under 862 (291-283-288), two shots ahead of Oregon (864). Clemson was third (867), host Washington was fourth (874), UCLA was fifth (876), Stanford was sixth (878), Saint Mary's was seventh (884) and Arizona State was eighth (885). Pepperdine, Texas and San Diego were tied for ninth at time of this posting, three teams vying for the final two spots.
Hie, who has won two events this season, finished tied for second at 5-under 211 (72-70-69), recording both his seventh round in the 60s and seventh top 10 finish. After opening with a bogey, Hie didn't lose a stroke the rest of the way, knocking in birdies on 6, 7, 11 and 14. He finished three strokes back of medalist Joey Benedetti of Oregon (208).
Glissmeyer, meanwhile, remained blazing hot, notching his third straight top 6 finish, tying for sixth with a 3-under 213 (72-71-70). He was even on the front 9 after a double bogey on 7 offset birdies on 5 and 6. After a bogey on the 11th hole put him 1-over, he finished with birdies on 13, 14 and 18 to ensure the top 10 finish. He birdied 18 all three days.
"Tom is playing great," Zambri said. "And he can play better. Rory is also playing great. It's huge for us. You can only use five guys, so the more that you can rely on, the better. I feel we can rely on all of them."
Sophomore Jamie Lovemark, the 2007 NCAA individual champion and a All-American first teamer who is a finalist for the 2008 The Ben Hogan Award (to be announced on Sunday, May 18), tied for 16th at 1-over 217 (72-71-74). Lovemark appeared ready to secure his team-best eighth top 10 finish during a round that featured four birdies. But a triple bogey on 18 dropped him down a bit. Though he is without a win as a sophomore, he has finished no lower than a tie for 16th this season.
Freshman Matthew Giles tied for 35th at 6-over 222 (76-71-75) while freshman Tim Sluiter finished at 13-over 229 (75-71-83), his final round done in by two poor holes that overshadowed an otherwise solid day.
Ten teams and two individuals not on advancing teams will move on from each of the three regionals to the championship finals, set for May 28-31 on the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue University is the host institution for this year's championships.