Hilo Invitational: USC takes team title

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii (Feb. 6, 2009 -- Junior Jamie Lovemark, senior Tom Glissmeyer and sophomore Matt Giles were all under par on Friday (Feb. 6) to lead a strong final-round team effort to lift the USC men's golf team to victory at the UH Hilo Intercollegiate at the Waikoloa C.C. in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

USC finished first at 13-under 851 (285-284-282), extending its lead over Washington to 11 strokes by day's end as the Huskies finished second at 862. TCU was third (870) while Stanford was fourth (872) and Oregon fifth (873) in the Pac-10 dominated field.

The victory is USC's second in a row, dating back to its win at the CordeValle Collegiate that wrapped up the fall season.

University of Washington junior Nick Taylor taught the 17-team field the advantages of staying even on Friday, as he took home medalist honors by shooting a 6-under 210 (69-71-70).

On the 17th and 18th holes Friday -- perhaps the two most difficult of the tournament -- Nick made a pair of pars to seal the victory while those around him were fighting to score bogeys.

Taylor was trailing teammate Richard Lee and USC's Lovemark by a stroke heading into the 17th hole. His first shot landed within 10 feet of a pin guarded by a bunker in the front and a steep hill on the back.

"I thought I hit it a little short, but it was a tough pin and I came closer than I thought," Taylor said. "I was able to two-putt and make par."

Lovemark's first shot flew over the green, causing him to chip for a chance at par. A chip and two putts later, earned Lovemark a double bogey and Taylor a tenative lead. But all the All-American needed was to card another par to prove himself the best. Playing in the final group one hole behind Taylor, Lee suffered an uncharacteristic breakdown with three holes to play, as he posted a bogie on all. A typically strong player with a reliable shortgame, Lee found himself a victim to unruly course conditions in the closing fifth of the final round.

"If you par both of those holes, you're either doing something right, or you're getting lucky somewhere," Taylor said, referring to the difficult pin placement at holes 17 and 18.

Lovemark came close to claiming his first collegiate victory since winning the 2007 NCAA individual title. Instead, he finished alone in second at 5-under 211 (69-73-69), a stroke out of first. Lovemark has now finished among the top 10 in each of USC's four events this season.

Giles (72-70-71) and Glissmeyer (72-72-70) tied for seventh at 3-under 213. The finish was Giles third in the top 7 in three outings and the second straight top 7 finish for Glissmeyer.

Senior Ryan Linton completed his best performance as a Trojan, taking 14th at 1-over 217 (76-69-72). Sophomore Tim Sluiter tied for 19th at 3-over 219 (73-73-73).

Sophomore Bo DeHuff, playing individually, tied for 56th at 12-over 228 (82-79-67). His final round 5-under performance was his best as a Trojan and the best for USC during the 54-hole event.

The Trojans return to action in less than three weeks when they host the annual USC Collegiate Invitational, Feb. 23-24, at the North Ranch C.C. in Westlake Village.

--Courtesy USC and UW athletic departments

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