USC charges at Annika Invite, but Wake Forest increases lead
Rachel Kuehn (Wake Forest Athletics/Twitter photo)
Rachel Kuehn (Wake Forest Athletics/Twitter photo)

There’s a reason that preseason women’s golf polls put such faith in the USC women. An experienced Trojan roster showed some of that on Tuesday as they climbed five spots up the Annika Intercollegiate leaderboard with a 9-under 279 team total, the best of the day at Royal Golf Club in Eden Prairie, Minn.

USC had an uncharacteristically slow start on Monday, the first official round of the season. They made up for it on Tuesday, and now are firmly in contention in the season-opening event that allows the top programs to see where they stack up to start the year.

Key in USC’s move was senior Aiko Leong, who fired a collegiate career-best 6-under 66 while junior Alyaa Abdulghany pocketed her second straight a 2-under 70.

"I was able to capitalize on my good shots today and make some good putts when I needed to," said Leong, whose previous best at USC was a 71. "Today was one of these days where I could just see the line of my putts and match line and speed really well."

After Tuesday, USC is 6 under for 36 holes, which is still six shots behind Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have had consecutive rounds of 6-under 282 to reach 12 under, and freshman Rachel Kuehn is responsible for an overwhelming amount of that. She has made just one bogey in 36 holes as she cruised to back-to-back rounds of 5-under 67.

Kuehn also leads the individual race, and now by a four-shot margin. Texas’ Kaitlyn Papp and Arkansas’ Kajal Mistry are at 6 under.

As a team, Arkansas is third, two shots behind USC, while Texas is fourth another shot back.

Information from USC Athletics used in this report

Results: ANNIKA Intercollegiate
1NCRachel KuehnAsheville, NC80067-67-69=203
2Chinese TaipeiYu-Chiang (Vivian) HouChinese Taipei50068-72-68=208
3TXKaitlyn PappAustin, TX40070-68-71=209
4South AfricaKajal MistrySouth Africa40068-70-73=211
5ChinaSiyun LiuChina40071-70-71=212

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54-holes of stroke-play with a field made up of many of the top teams in women's college golf.

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