SAN DIEGO, CA (May 19) -- The No. 15 USC men's golf team, riding the momentum of its recent 2011 Pac-10 Championship, continued the strong play in the first round of the 2011 NCAA San Diego Regional on (May 19), claiming an early stake to first place at The Farms G.C. in Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.
The San Diego region is one of six 13 and 14-team sites. The top five teams from each region will advance to the NCAA Championship final, scheduled for May 31-June 5 at Karsten Creek in Stillwaker, Okla. Oklahoma State is the host for the final.
USC, the No. 3 seed in the 13-team San Diego Regional, led for virtually the entire first round before entering the clubhouse at 10-under 278, one of its top rounds of the year. Texas and UCLA are tied for second, nine strokes back.
Freshman Jeffrey Kang raced to a two-stroke lead after 18 holes at 6-under 66, tying his best effort of the season. He birdied five of his first nine holes and was still at 4-under before birdies on two of his last three holes. Kang birdied eight holes overall.
"The guys played well today," said fifth-year head coach Chris Zambri, who Trojans have posted four straight top 3 finishes. "We are looking to get off to a solid start tomorrow and keep the momentum. Jeffrey had a fantastic day."
Junior Steve Lim is tied for second at 4-under 68. Lim opened with birdies on 1 and 2 en route to a 2-under front 9. He complimented that with a 2-under on the back 9 during a six-birdie day.
Sophomore T.J. Vogel is tied for 13th at 1-under 71. Vogel was 4-under through 14 holes before giving back some strokes toward the end of his round. He got back to red with a birdie to close out his round.
Sophomore Martin Trainer, coming off his playoff win at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, is tied for 23rd at 1-over 73. He had five birdies on the round and was 1-under until a late double bogey on 17.
Sophomore Sam Smith, one of USC's top golfers this spring, was the only Trojan to struggle a bit Thursday and is tied for 57th at 6-over 78,