May 8, 2010

Courtesy of USC

Behind a second-place finish from junior Lizette Salas and strong work from the entire squad, the No. 4 USC women's golf team won the 2010 NCAA Championships Central Region on Saturday (May 8) at the Otter Creek. G.C. in Columbus, Ind., posting its fourth regional title in the past five years and advancing to its 13th straight NCAA final.

After taking over the lead from Arizona State in the second round Friday, USC never trailed in the final round and won the event at a combined 43-over 907 (299-304-304), turning in the top round for the second straight day. The Trojans won by eight strokes over the No. 2 Sun Devils, who finished at 51-over 915. USC won three straight regional titles before a third place in 2009.

In addition to USC and ASU, the six other teams that advanced to the NCAA final from the Central Region were third-place Purdue (931), New Mexico in fourth (936), Oklahoma State in fifth (937), Florida State and Oregon tied in sixth (939) and Kent State in eighth (940).

The Trojans, who won for the fourth time in 10 outings this season, were led by Salas, who finished second at 5-over 221 (75-71-75), two strokes behind Kent State's Martina Gavier (219-72-75-72). Salas was even through nine holes and 2-over entering the 17th hole, which she birdied. A double bogey on 18 dropped her out of first, but she still finished as the top Trojan by 10 strokes.

Remarkably, USC's remaining quartet of golfers all tied for 16th at 15-over 231. Of the four, Belen Mozo (77-81-73) had the best final round, rebounding from struggles on Thursday and Friday to post a 1-over on Saturday with two birdies and three bogeys.

Sophomore Jennifer Song turned in her third consecutive 77, going 2-over on the front nine and 3-over on the back. She finished outside the top 10 for only the second time this year. Sophomore Inah Park (73-79-79) registered her third counting round of the event while freshman Cyna Rodriguez (74-77-80) used an even back 9 to counter struggles on the front.