Men’s Golf | January 15, 2024
Maricopa, Ariz.–The USC men’s golf team closed out its first tournament of the spring today (Jan. 15) falling 3-8 to Arizona State in the second day of the Copper Cup at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, Ariz.
“We competed much better today,” said head coach Mark Hankins. “Overall it was an excellent learning opportunity for our team. This will benefit us for our upcoming tournaments this spring.
“I’m proud of Gavin, he was our MVP this week, winning two matches and tied another. He continues to improve and impress since the middle of last fall.
“We are looking forward to some team practice time the next two weeks before playing in The Southwestern Invitational. It’s a place that we are familiar and have an opportunity to pick up some quality wins against a solid field.”
The group tee’d off this morning at 8:30 a.m. PT for the foursome match play. The Trojans won one of the 4 morning matches, and then closed out the afternoon with 1 win and 2 ties in the singles matches to finish the second day of the tournament.
The morning was led by the pair comprised of Gavin Aurilia and Krando Nishiba. The duo fought back and forth throughout the front nine, but took advantage of a calm back nine to finish the match with a win at 2 and 0. Sam Lape and Rocky Chapman, who played together this morning, fought on the front nine working their way back from a 3-0 down deficit, but couldn’t find their stride on the back falling to ASU 3 and 2. Shane Ffrench, who played on his own, dropped his match against Sun Devil Ryggs Johnson 6 and 4, while Antonio Safa and Nico Dominguez lost 4 and 3.
The Trojans then set their sights on the afternoon for one last push against the No. 4 ranked Sun Devils. USC won 1 match, tied in 2 and lost 4. Aurilia again led the Trojans to close out the weekend, making 7 birdies in a nail-biting match and winning the point against ASU’s Wenyi Ding 1-up. Dominguez and Lape both tied their matches, gaining valuable half points for the Trojans.
Ffrench made a late crawl back to 1-down against Sun Devil Luke Potter, but couldn’t quite close it out and lost his match 1-down. Safa also fell in his match to ASU’s Preston Summerhays 1-down. Nishiba and Chapman fell to their opponents 6 and 5 and 7 and 6.
The Trojans look to regroup with a week…