Sammamish Regional: No. 1 seed USC, Justin Suh move into lead

Justin Suh (left) and Head Coach Chris Zambri make up part of a USC crew that may live up to its preseason No. 1 ranking after all. Tracy Wilcox/Golfweek

Sammamish Regional: No. 1 seed USC, Justin Suh move into lead

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Sammamish Regional: No. 1 seed USC, Justin Suh move into lead

Leaderboard

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TOP TEAM: USC (5-under 563)

TOP INDIVIDUAL: Justin Suh, USC (6-under 136)

IN POSITION: Florida State (566), Kent State (569), Penn State (578), Alabama (580)

CHASING: Washington (581), Texas A&M (583), San Diego State (584)

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TROJANS TAKE CHARGE: The No. 1 seed is doing exactly what was expected. After a strong first round that put USC in second, the Trojans move into the lead with 18 holes to play. Despite hours of delays due to rain, the second round was finished Tuesday, with USC sporting a 1-under 283 to move to 5 under and a three-shot lead heading into the final round at Aldarra Golf Club. USC also boasts the individual lead, as Justin Suh posts a second straight 68 to move to 6 under and a two-shot lead. Sean Crocker, the opening-round leader, shot 74 to fall to a tie for second at 4 under. With Rico Hoey solo fifth at 2 under, the Trojans have three players in the top 5. Jonah Texeira (T-43, 8 over) and Cheng Jin (T-49, 9 over) round out the Trojans’ lineup. If you’re surprised by this performance, well, you haven’t been paying attention. USC has reached the semifinals at least at the NCAA Championship each of the last two years and has hovered at or near No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings for much of the 2016-17 season. The squad has four wins this year and hasn’t finished worse than T-3 in an event since the beginning of October. A fifth victory may be coming Wednesday.

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THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM FOR PENN STATE?: The Nittany Lions have made it to three straight NCAA regionals, but the first two showings didn’t produce that trip to nationals. Penn State finished 11th in 2015 and improved to ninth last year, but that was still well short. But keep on improving and who knows what will happen! The Nittany Lions shoot 4-over 288 on Tuesday, moving from sixth to fourth in Sammamish, Wash. The No. 9 seed is now 10 over for the tournament and in position to advance to the NCAA Championship, with the top five teams moving on to Rich Harvest Farms. The Nittany Lions have Cole Miller leading that charge, as consecutive 69s have him tied for second. Ryan Davis also shot 69 on Tuesday, boosting him to a tie for 16th. Charles Huntzinger (T-33, 5 over), Alec Bard (T-40, 7 over) and J.D. Hughes (T-66, 16 over) round out the Penn State scores. Only Miller and Davis shot better than 75 in the second round, but their combined 4-under total ensured the Nittany Lions would move up. With sixth position at 13 over, Penn State doesn’t have a strong cushion to advance, but the team is indeed in a good spot. If Penn State can indeed pull it off Wednesday, the team will make nationals for the first time since 2010.

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SHORT SHOTS: No. 4 seed Florida State, the first-day leader, drops in the standings but is still just fine in second at 2 under. … Sixth-seeded Alabama and No. 2 seed Kent State are also in position to advance. The Crimson Tide are fifth at 12 over, with the Golden Flashes 1 over and third. … Host Washington, the No. 5 seed, jumps four spots to sixth at 13 over. The Huskies are now just one back of the fifth (and final) spot to advance. … The No. 3 seed, Texas A&M, is seventh at 15 over. The Aggies missed out on NCAAs last year after losing a playoff to San Diego State (who sits eighth at 16 over right now). Will it be another close miss, or will Texas A&M advance this time? … Another day, another ace. After there was an albatross and a hole-in-one on Day 1 at this regional, there was “only” an ace on Tuesday. The beautiful 1 came via Kent State’s Bjarki Petursson, who aced the second hole (the same one that was aced Monday). Petursson would shoot 3-under 68 and leads the Golden Flashes’ charge in a tie for sixth at 1 under.

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