CLE ELUM, Wash. -- Top-ranked Southern California -- the defending national champion -- used a handful of birdies and key pars to erase a late deficit and win the NCAA West region by one stroke on Saturday at the Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort safely advancing to the NCAA finals later this month.
The Trojans, battling cold and windy weather, finished at 12-over 876 (284-294-298), one better than second-place host Washington (877), which enjoyed a five-stroke lead on the back 9. Arizona State was third at 25-over 889.
NCAA West, Central and East regionals, each made up of 24 teams and finishing today, determine the championship final field. The top eight teams plus two individuals from each field advance to the championship round, scheduled for May 20-23 at the Tulsa (Oklahoma) C.C.The Trojans' win extends their season record to nine while also nailing down their NCAA best 10th regional win, including five in a row.
Sophomore Annie Park and freshman Karen Chung led the Trojans today with a pair of 1-over 73s while senior Sophia Popov, junior Doris Chen and sophomore Kyung Kim all posted 4-over 76s.
Park tied for 2nd at 1-under 215 (71-71-73) for her fifth top 3 this season and her ninth top 11 in a row. She was 4-over for her round through 11 before birdies on 12, 14 and 15. She finished with pars on her final three holes as USC rallied.
Kim tied for fourth at even 215 (66-74-76) and was 2-over on the front and back 9s. The finish was her fourth in the top 5 and sixth in the top 8.
Chung finished at 6-over 222 (77-72-73) for a top 15 finish and birdied 14 and 16 during USC's comeback. Chen finished at 10-over 226 (72-78-76) while Popov finished at 12-over 228 (75-77-76).