RANCHO SANTE FE, Calif. -- No. 1 Southern California turned an eight-stroke deficit to start the round into a five-stroke lead nine holes in and then withstood late rallies by UCLA and Stanford to win its school-record-tying seventh event of the season while freshman Karen Chung pocketed her first career collegiate title to close out the SDSU Farms Invitational at the Farms C.C. on Wednesday.
USC defended its SDSU Farms title from last year at 3-under 861 (298-281-282), passing both Stanford (290-285-289) and UCLA (285-286-293) on the final day as the Pac-12 rivals each finished at par 864. The next closest finisher was Arizona State, which took fourth at 17-over.
The win is USC's 10th in its last 11 tournaments, 13th in its last 15 and 14th in its last 17 dating back to last season.
Chung won at 8-under 208 (74-68-66), two better than second-place Lauren Kim of Stanford. Her USC career best final round included a personal best 29 on the front 9. The hot start included six birdies and an eagle on the first hole thanks to a 9-iron that trickled in from 126 yards out. She had one bogey against eight pars on the back 9.
"I started with an eagle today and everything just seemed to fall in on the front 9," Chung said. "When I got to the back, I just tried staying steady. I just wanted to contribute to the team win, which was great."
In addition to her first win, it was her third top 6 finish this year and it marked Troy's fourth individual title in eight outings.
Sophomore Annie Park (77-68-73) and junior Doris Chen (73-75-70) tied for 11th at 2-over 218. Park, whose top 10 streak ended at five though she now has six top 11s in a row, was 1-under going out and 2-over coming home, which included a key birdie on 18 to help keep the Bruins and Cardinal at bay. Chen, who notched her third top 11 in her last three outings, was 3-under going out and 1-over on the back, sinking six consecutive pars to close her round.
Sophomore Kyung Kim tied for 21st at 6-over 222 (74-75-73) while senior Sophia Popov tied for 41st at 12-over 228 (82-70-76). Kim was even going out and even on her back 9 until a bogey on 18. Popov was 2-over on both 9s.
Freshman Gabriella Then, playing as an individual, turned in a career-best effort, tying for fifth at 1-over 217 (72-72-73) for her first collegiate top 10. She had one birdie against two bogeys on the day.