Last year, the USC Women's Golf team was achingly close to their program's third national championship, but Alabama denied them the title on the final hole, and the Women of Troy fell short by a single stroke.
This year was different. VERY different.
After finishing the first round in a tie for the lead with San Jose State, USC proceeded to dominate the field in unprecedented fashion, winning the title by a whopping 21 strokes. Their finishing score of 19-under-par smashed the record for a finishing score at an NCAA championship by 15 strokes, and in the second round, they broke the championship record for a single round team score with a 12-under-276. The performance was so incredible that one Golfweek writer questioned whether it would push the NCAA to change the championship format to match play to level the playing field somewhat.
At the center of USC Golf's incredible season is freshman sensation Annie Park, who won the individual championship with a score of 10-under-par, six strokes ahead of runner-up Lindy Duncan from Duke. Park also came in first place at the Regional and Pac-12 meets, and she is the fourth NCAA champion in program history and the 68th individual champion in the history of USC women's athletics. Of course, it was a team effort, as the other four SC golfers finished within the top 20. with junior Sophia Popov and freshman Kyung Kim tying for sixth place.
This brings USC's total NCAA championship count to 98. Stanford won the women's tennis title to bring their count to 104, while UCLA stays at 108 after their men's tennis team lost to Virginia in the championship final. UCLA's last national championship came in women's volleyball in December 2011.
Now, it's up to the men's golf team to try to give USC a championship double in two different sports in the same athletic season. They finished in seventh place at the Pac-12 championships and in fourth place at their regional meet, both of which were won by Cal. Senior Sam Smith tied for first place at the regionals for the best finish of his career. The men's golf team is currently ranked #16 in the nation, with Cal, Alabama, New Mexico, and UCLA listed as the top contenders.
USC Conquest Orchestration (via Acescrib)