It didn’t take long on Wednesday for USC to erase a three-shot deficit at the Dale McNamara Fall Preview and switch from chaser to leader. The Trojans, in their first event since winning last spring’s NCAA Championship, held onto the top spot on the leaderboard for the rest of the day for victory.
USC started slow at Tulsa (Okla.) Country Club, site of next spring’s national championship, and was tied for eighth after a first-round 8-over 288. Gradually, USC climbed the leaderboard. On Wednesday, the team posted 4-under 276, its best round yet, and finished 54 holes at 8-over 848, four shots ahead of Oklahoma.
The Trojans, No. 1 in Golfweek’s preseason rankings, trailed second-round leader Duke, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at the beginning of Round 3. Duke, preseason No. 4, posted a final-round 7-over 287 and dropped to a tie for fourth with Alabama, No. 2. Both teams posted 16-over 856 for the tournament.
Oklahoma State, led by sophomore Julie Yang’s tie for runner-up honors, was third at 15-over 855.
USC returned all five players from last year’s national championship-winning team, and only Rachel Morris was missing in Tulsa. Freshman Gabriella Then joined the roster instead, and finished 23rd. The Trojan charge was led by sophomore Kyung Kim, who won the second individual title of her career. Kim shot 6-under 204 (69-69-66) to finish two shots ahead of Noemi Jimenez of Arizona State, Stephanie Meadow of Alabama and Yang.