The No. 7 USC men’s golf team, led by All-American duo Rico Hoey and sophomore Sean Crocker, shakes off the rust and resumes the 2015-16 schedule with its first spring semester event at the Amer Ari Invitational, Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 4-6), on the Big Island’s Waikoloa Kings Course in Waikoloa, Hawaii.
In addition to the Trojans and host Hawaii, the 19-team field playing the Par 72, 7,074-yard course includes Arizona State, Auburn, Cal State Monterey, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Hawaii-Hilo, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Osaka Gakuin University (from Japan), Pacific, San Jose State, Stanford, TCU, Texas Tech, UC Davis and UCLA.
Tee times are set for 9:30 a.m. PT each day (7:30 a.m. HT). Results are available at Golfstat.com. USC won the event in 2010.
The Trojans, under 10th-year coach Chris Zambri, return four of its five starters from its 2015 postseason run to the NCAA Championships final, including junior Rico Hoey, sophomore Sean Crocker, senior Bobby Gojuangco and sophomore Jonah Texeira. Other returning golfers include senior Andrew Levitt and juniors Danny Ochoa and David Kim. Kim was a 2015 spring semester transfer in January but redshirted last season.
Zambri welcomes three freshmen into the Trojan Family, including Justin Suh, Ryan Slater and Ing Ratanavadi
Crocker, a 2015 GCAA All-American third-teamer, is coming off one of the top seasons ever by a Trojan freshman in 2015 when he led the team in stroke average (70.39), rounds in the 60s (19) and top 10 finishes (eight). Crocker’s 19 rounds under 70 were the most by a Trojan since Jamie Lovemark had 20 as a 2007 freshman.
Hoey, a 2015 GCAA All-American honorable mention pick, was second on the team with a 70.86 stroke average, 18 rounds in the 60s and six top 5 finishes.
Both were also All Pac-12 first team picks while Crocker, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, joined Texeira on the All-Pac-12 freshman team.
USC’s run to the 2015 NCAA Championship match play final began with a fifth-place finish after four rounds of stroke play, earning a match play spot for the first time since 2009. The Trojans then defeated Texas, 4-1, in the NCAA quarterfinals and dispatched of Illinois, 3.5-1.5, in the semifinals. USC faced LSU in the final and fell 4-1, with three of the five matches decided with just one hole to play.