Junior Gabriella Then carded a 1-under 71 while freshman Robynn Ree registered a par 72 as No. 1 USC used a steady third round Saturday (May 22) and will enter the final round of stroke play with a two-stroke lead at the 2016 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships at the Eugene (Ore.) C.C.

The Trojans, seeking their fourth NCAA title, sit at a combined 4-under 860 (289-280-291) after 54 holes in Oregon, two better than fellow perennial NCAA title contenders Duke and UCLA, who are tied for second at 2-under 862. Washington is fourth (866) while Stanford (868), the NCAA defending champion, is fifth. Host Oregon is sixth (870), South Carolina is seventh (872) while Virginia and Arizona are tied for eighth (873).

The field was trimmed from 24 to 15 teams at the end of the day’s play and only the top eight teams after Monday’s 18 holes will advance to the eight-team match play tournament, the second year the NCAA Championships have been decided in this format. Troy fell in the semifinals last season to Stanford.

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“I would say that each day we play the course we learn something new,” USC Coach Andrea Gaston said. “I think we might have been a little tired, and that’s why we didn’t play quite as sharp today. There were definitely some more difficult hole locations, but I don’t think that was as much a factor, as us being a little tired. The nice thing is now we get to give these guys a little rest now that we are halfway through.”

Then turned in her best round of the week with her 1-under performance and is now tied for 58th at 5-over 221 (74-76-71). In a round when she saved multiple pars, she turned in three birdies against two bogeys.

Juniors Karen Chung (73-69-74) and Tiffany Chan (71-71-74) are tied for 15th at par 216. Chung, with two birdies today, was even until late bogeys on 15 and 16. Chan also had two birdies today, on 10 and 15.

Senior Kyung Kim, the last Trojan on the squad from the 2013 NCAA title team, is tied for 28th at 2-over 218 (71-70-77). She, too, had two birdies today. Ree, meanwhile, is tied for 45th at 4-over 220 (78-70-72) after her three-birdie, three-bogey showing Sunday.

The Trojans, who have finished in the top 2 of stroke play in four straight seasons, will play with UCLA and Duke in tomorrow’s final round.