Men’s Golf | January 29, 2024
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – The USC men’s golf team completed its best round finish of the 2023-24 season on Monday (Jan 29.) in the first round of the Southwestern Invitational at North Ranch Country Club. The team finished its opening loop in 6-under (66+67+71+74=278) slotting them into solo second place. They sit 1-stroke behind No. 22 Texas Tech who leads the tournament and 1-stroke in front of third place UNLV.
“We put up a good team round today,” said head coach Mark Hankins. “Fought some early nerves, battled to find our rhythm and stayed in the present until the round was over. Tomorrow won’t be any different; it’s the first round of three so it won’t get any easier. Control the things we can control and continue to adapt throughout the round.”
Picking up where he left off at the Cal Poly Invitational, Nico Dominguez led the day for the Trojans with a 5-under par 66, breaking his own college record of 67 that he set in the fall. He started his round a little shaky, moving under par and then back over par, but truly found his stride on the second nine. Finishing up his first nine with two birdies, the freshman would go on to make three more birdies on the second nine to finish his day in a tie for second.
Sophomore Antonio Safa slotted himself in right behind his teammate with a 4-under round of 67. Safa, who played in the Trojans No. 1 spot today, steadily increased his score throughout the round, starting off with 2 birdies in his first two holes and never looking back. In a tie for fifth right now, Safa whose last competition was the Latin American Amateur Championship, is in a great position to move up the leaderboard tomorrow.
Krando Nishiba had the most up-and-down round of the day and battled to an even-par 71 finish after he closed out his second nine in iconic style. After a start that saw Nishiba go down to as low as 4-over, he crawled his way back making birdie on four of his last six holes, putting himself in a tie for 25th and 9 out of first place.
Gavin Aurilia and Sam Lape couldn’t quite find their strides today as they battled on the Lakes and Oaks courses of North Ranch Country Club. After a mishap on his final hole of the first nine, Aurilia fought on the back and finished in 3-over, 74 and a tie for 53rd Lape competed all day and finished in 6-over, 77 and a tie for 70th
Overall, it was a stellar day for the Trojans who look to carry their momentum from today into the rounds tomorrow. Tee times for Tuesday (Jan. 30) will be released tonight with an anticipated start at around 8:30 a.m. PT.
NORTH RANCH COUNTRY CLUB
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA
JAN. 29-31, 2023/PAR 71/6,880 YARDS
TEAMS (13)/FIRST ROUND SCORES:
Texas Tech – 277/-7
USC – 278/-6
UNLV – 279/-5
UCLA – 280/-4
California – 281/-3
Pepperdine – 284/E
Wake Forest – 284/E
San Diego St. – 285/+1
Ohio State – 285/+1
Washington – 286/+2
San Jose St. – 288/+4
Colorado – 290/+6
Houston – 291/+7
1. Caden Fiorini, UNLV – 62/-9
T2. Nico Dominguez, USC – 66/-5
T5. Antonio Safa, USC – 77/-4
T25. Krando Nishiba, USC – 71/E
T53. Gavin Aurilia, USC – 74/+3
T70. Sam Lape, USC – 77/+6