Sophomore Martin Trainer outlasted Oregon State’s Alex Moore during a seven-hole playoff and helped lead USC to a convincing one-hole playoff win against Oregon at the 2011 Pac-10 Men’s Golf Championships at the Stanford (Calif.) G.C.
The title is USC’s Pac-10 best 19th conference crown, its first since 2007, and its second win on the season. The streaking Trojans have now posted four consecutive top-four finishes. Trainer’s win was USC’s 21st individual championship and its first since Jamie Lovemark in 2007.
“We are over the moon right now,” USC head coach Chris Zambri said after winning his second conference title. “Everyone is pretty stoked. It’s just nice to have guys playing well and have a season that wasn’t going great and to have everyone step up their game and all of the sudden become a really good team.
“Some guys are playing the playing the best ball of their lives and some are getting close. In little ways they’ve all gotten better and we are now contending like we thought we would all along.”
USC (355-354-352-354), which was led Sunday by Trainer and sophomore Sam Smith’s 3-under 67, and Oregon (351-359-360-345) finished tied in first at 15-over 1415. The Trojans led Stanford by three strokes and Oregon and UCLA by nine entering the day but got caught by the Ducks’ strong final round, which was low for the tournament.
With their earlier tee times, the Ducks finished well before USC finished its round and watched the drama unfold. It came down to Trainer, who had to two-putt from 90 feet. Trainer, who was also putting to stay tied for first with Moore, left his birdie putt short by only about five feet and then calmly sunk the par putt to send both he and the Trojans into a playoff.
Before the team playoff ever got underway, Trainer and Moore battled for one hour, 45 minutes with Trainer’s par on the par 4 18th finally clinching the title after playing the same hole for the seventh time. He and Moore had traded pars on the previous six holes. Combined with his regulation and team playoff holes, he played the 18th nine times, all at par.
“It was a really cool experience and something I gained a lot from,” said Trainer of leading for most of the event and ultimately winning it in dramatic fashion. “I hadn’t won in a while and it was fun to be in contention the whole way. I’ve been playing well, and it feels great to do it on this stage.”
The team playoff, in which all six players from both schools squared off against each other on the 18th hole, two at a time (and then adding the best five of six holes), was less dramatic as the Trojans won the first four holes and were even on the final two.
“It feels great to win Pac-10s, that’s for sure. It was cool we could crush them in the playoff so we wouldn’t have to do it again,” Trainer said, adding with a laugh, “I didn’t want to go back on 18 again.”
Trainer finished at 5-under 275 (68-68-69-70) with four birdies and four bogeys in the round for his third straight top 5 finish and first title as a Trojan.
Freshman Jeffrey Kang took fifth at 1-under 279 (71-68-68-71) while Smith was eighth at 2-over 282 (73-71-71-67), both registering their third top 10 finishes this season. Kang was even on the front 9 and 1-over on the back while Smith used eight birdies against three bogeys and a double bogey to secure his best ever round as a Trojan.
Junior Steve Lim tied for 28th at 9-over 289 (72-74-70-73), sophomore T.J. Vogel tied for 33rd at 11-over 291 (71-73-74-73) and freshman Ramsey Sahyoun tied for 45th at 18-over 298 (72-75-75-76). Lim had two birdies on the day while Vogel had three as they each battled to 3-over final rounds. Sahyoun had two birdies in his 6-over round.
Behind USC and Oregon was UCLA in third (1418), Stanford (1420), Cal (1437), Washington (1449), Arizona (1450), Oregon State (1453), Arizona State (1456) and Washington State (1464).
|Pos.||School||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Rd. 3||Rd. 4||Total|
|NOTE: Southern California won tournament in playoff|