BRADENTON, Fla. -- Sophomore Karen Chung fired a final-round 1-under 71 while fellow sophomore Gabriella Then tied for 10th overall as Southern California finished first after 72 holes of stroke play at the 2015 NCAA Championships on Monday, earning the top seed in the eight-team match-play tournament beginning Tuesday.
The Trojans, a three-time NCAA team champion, finished first at 40-over 1192 (297-303-298-294) at the challenging Concession G.C., closing with their best round of a tournament filled with multiple weather delays that twice forced many teams, including USC, to finish rounds in early in the morning and restart in the afternoon.That included Monday, when the Trojans woke up to finish the final holes of the third round before taking a three-hour break to start the final 18 holes. USC trailed Duke to start the fourth round but took over first on the front nine, grew its lead to as many as 10 strokes and never led by less than four strokes the rest of the day.
Duke took second at 45-over 1197 while Baylor was third at 46-over 1198 and Stanford fourth at 47-over 1199.
"It obviously means a lot to win stroke play, because I feel that defines our team, how deep we are and how talented we are," USC coach Andrea Gaston said. "I'm really proud of them. All we said this week was that they had to stay focused and patient and they did.
"Getting the draw we did with tee times, they really had to have the stamina to get to bed and back up to battle again on such a difficult layout. You just had to draw on every ounce of energy and bring it out to this course and do the best you could do. I've been at 18 NCAA championships and this was one of most difficult."
The Trojans will face eighth-seed Washington in the quarterfinal match beginning Tuesday at 7:50 a.m. ET. If they win, they will face the winner of fellow Pac-12 teams Stanford (4-seed) and Arizona (5-seed) -- another 7:50 a.m. start -- in the afternoon.
Two-seed Duke will face seven-seed Texas Tech and three-seed Baylor will face six-seed Tennessee on the other side of the bracket. Both teams tee off at 7 a.m. ET.
Golf Channel is scheduled to air coverage Tuesday from 7:30-9:30 a.m. and semifinal coverage from 12:30-4 pm. PT.