Freshman Annie Park continued her strong postseason run with a 2-under 70 while juniors Rachel Morris and Sophia Popov each carded 71s to lead No. 1 USC to a tie for first place after the first round of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships at the University of Georgia G.C. in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday (May 21).
The Trojans, playing in the afternoon wave, combined for a 4-under 284 and now share the top of the leader board with San Jose State. The Spartans, whose No. 48 ranking is the lowest in the field, played in the first wave and led the entire day until Troy caught them late in the round.
No. 3 Duke is third at 2-under 286 and No. 2 Alabama, which edged USC by one stroke for the national title last year, is fourth at even 288. No. 7 Purdue, which edged Troy by one stroke in 2010 at the NCAAs, and No. 8 UCLA are tied for fifth at 1-over 289.
USC, with a school-record six wins this season, is after its third team title in program history after victories in 2003 and 2008. The Trojans enter the NCAAs this year having won five of their past six events.
Park is tied for fourth with Mississippi State’s Ally McDonald, three back of San Jose State’s Regan De Guzman, who finished at 4-under 67. Duke’s Celine Boutier and Alabama’s Stephanie Meadow are tied for second at 3-under 69.
Park, coming off back-to-back firsts at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships and the 2013 NCAA West Regional, opened with eight pars before a bogey on 9. She birdied 11 and 12 to get into red and sunk another birdie on 17 for her 2-under.
Popov and Morris are among 14 players tied for sixth at 1-under. Popov, USC’s first player off today, opened with bogeys on 1 and 4 before rattling off four straight birdies between 5 and 8. The streak ended with a bogey on 9 and she fell back to even with another bogey on 13. But Popov birdied 14 and 17 with a bogey on 16 to finish at 1-under.
Morris also bogeyed 1 but birdies on 7 and 11 dropped her under par. She bogeyed 15 but closed with a birdie on 18.
Sophomore Doris Chen is tied for 20th at even 72. She was 2-over on the front 9 with a birdie on 7. She began the back 9 with birdies on 10 and 11. She went to 1-over with a birdie on 14 but got back to par with a birdie on 17.
Freshman Kyung Kim, who tied for third at the NCAA West Regional after closing with a school-record 63, is tied for 46th at 2-over 74. She opened with seven straight pars before bogeys on her next three holes. She sank a birdie on 13 and finished with five more pars.
USC begins the second round in the morning wave at 7:30 a.m. with Duke and Alabama.