Southern California wins Bruin Wave Invitational for sixth win this season
TARZANA, Calif. -- A week after its school-record and nation-long eight-tournament win streak was snapped, No. 1 Southern California -- led by sophomore Kyung Kim's individual win and sophomore Annie Park and junior Doris Chen tying for second -- returned to the winner's circle, cruising to a 13-stroke victory at the Bruin Wave Invitational at the El Caballero C.C. on Tuesday.
The Trojans, who built a five-stroke lead after Monday's 36-hole opener, quickly padded the cushion early in the final round and were never threatened, finishing at 1-under 863 (296-277-290), 13 better than second-place Pepperdine and 23 better than No. 2 UCLA, which beat USC last week in New Orleans.
The win is USC's sixth in seven starts this year, one off the school season-record seven USC pocketed last year en route to the 2013 NCAA title. The Trojans have won nine of their past 10 events, 12 of the past 14 and 13 of the past 16 dating back to last season. It is also USC's third win at the Bruin Wave Invitational in three tries.
"I'm really proud of the team for coming back this week and dominating at this course," USC coach Andrea Gaston said. "It's one of the most difficult courses we'll play all year. We had little time to prepare, and had to practice between rainstorms, but they got it done.
"I was also excited to see Kyung hang in there down the stretch and get the individual win, along with Doris and Annie tying for second.
"The key to our win this week was staying patient, especially during the 36-hole day. It's easy to have a few tough holes on such a difficult golf course, but we did everything we could to encourage our players to stay in the moment and focus on each shot. That second-round 11-under was incredible."
Kim earned her third career collegiate title at 3-under 213 (70-70-73), edging Park (77-68-69) and Chen (72-67-75), who finished at 2-under 214. Chen entered the final round with a one-stroke lead over Kim.
Senior Sophia Popov took 13th at 6-over 222 (77-72-73) while freshman Gabriella Then tied for 37th at 17-over 233 (79-77-77).
Kim wasn't at her sharpest in today's final round, though it was good enough for her second win this year, her third top-two finish and her fourth top-eight. She went out 2-under and came home at 3-over with four birdies on the day.
Park almost caught Kim on the back nine with a pair of birdies on 16 and 17. Park's final round is her school-record ninth in the 60s, breaking the mark shared by Jennifer Song (2010) and Irene Cho (2006). Park now has 14 for her career, tying her for third on USC's career chart. She finished the second and third rounds with seven birdies and no bogeys, helping her to her fifth consecutive top-five.
Chen's tie for second was her second top-two finish this year, third in the top nine and fourth in the top 13. She cooled off a bit after tying her collegiate best with a second-round 67, but she rebounded from a 3-over front nine to finish the back at par.
Popov claimed her fifth top 13 finish and hasn't finished lower than 17th in any of her six events and is the only Trojan not finish outside the top 20 this year.
Then got off to a slow start in her final round, going 5-over through 8, but she finished the final 10 holes at par.