USC Men’s Golf Set for NCAA Tallahassee Regional
Men’s golf | May 14, 2021
USC Men’s Golf Team, under the direction of the first-year head coach JT Higgins and animated this year by seniors Leon D’Souza and Kyle Suppa, get back to the NCAA action this week at the Tallahassee Regional at the Seminole Legacy Club, Monday through Wednesday (May 17-19).
Six regional 54-hole tournaments will be organized next week. Thirteen teams and 10 people not belonging to these teams will compete in each of the three regions while the other three regions will have 14 teams and five people not belonging to these teams. The bottom five teams and the bottom individual not part of those teams from each region will advance to the final.
The USC region includes the host state of Florida as the seed, followed in order by Georgia, Liberty, LSU, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, TCU, Indiana, Kansas, USC, Ohio State, Davidson, Florida A&M and LIU.
The No. 10 seeded Trojans will start with No. 11 seed Ohio State and No. 12 seed Davidson starting at 9:55 a.m. ET on Monday. The results will be available on Golfstat.com.
Trojans, looking to return to NCAA Finals after their last appearance in 2019, will start seniors Kyle Suppa and Leon D’Souza, junior Cameron Henry, second year Tyler guo and first year student Shane FFrench. First-year student Krando Nishiba is available as a submarine.
If USC, one of the eight Pac-12 teams competing in the regionals, comes out of Tallahassee, it will advance to the national championships which will be held May 28 through June 2 at the Grayhawk GC in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Trojans were sixth at the season opener Southwestern Invitational in their first action of the season at 36-over 900 (301-296-303). For the second consecutive season, junior Cameron Henry kicked off his campaign with a top 20, tied for 15th with 6-over 222 (77-72-73). Senior Kaito Onishi 20th tied at 8 of 224 (77-74-73) in first year Shane FFrench 27th tied at 10 of 226 (70-74-82).
The Trojans, behind the best career performances of the second year Tyler guo and Ffrench, faced one of the nation’s top teams on the wire during the Amer Ari Invitational at the Hapuna GC in Waimea, Hawai’i, ultimately finishing second of the season behind Arizona State on February 4. The Trojans combined for an 839 under 25 (280-278-281), finishing 12 strokes behind the Sun Devils.
USC finished 14th at Prestige in the 24-team event, led by At LÃ©on D’Souza Tied for 36th at 5 of 5, then tied for eighth at the Lamkin San Diego Classic, led by Onishi’s 16th at 2 of 218. Troy then took ninth place at NIT, led again by Onishi, who posted a season-best tie for ninth at 10 under 206 (70-68-68), his second-best score of 54 holes as a Trojan horse.
Onishi again led USC to The Goodwin, tied for fourth while USC was tied for 13th. He extended his streak of consecutive rounds in the sixties to five while posting his fifth top 20 in six starts. Leon D’Souza Tied 21st at Western Intercollegiate for lead USC, which took eighth place.
At the Pac-12 Championships, USC was eighth. Ffrench and D’Souza are tied for 20th to lead Troy while Onishi is tied for 22nd.
Onishi leads the team in average shots at 71.68 while Ffrench is second (72.48) and D’Souza third (73.32). Onishi has a best team of 14 rounds par or better while Ffrench has 12 and Henry has seven. Onishi has a best team of 13 rounds under par while Ffrench has nine. Onishi has a record of seven rounds in the 60s while D’Souza has four, Guo has two.
Higgins succeeded USC head coach on August 14, 2020, replacing Chris Zambri, and will be joined on the course by the first-year assistant coach. Matt Walton, hired November 4.
Higgins joined USC as a GCAA Hall of Fame coach after 19 seasons at Texas A&M (2002-20) and four in New Mexico (1998-01). He guided the Texas A&M Men’s Team to an NCAA Championship (2009) and 17 NCAA appearances during his 19 years there and was named Conference Coach of the Year three times and Four-time Region / District Coach of the Year.
Higgins’ teams achieved an academic record of 12 consecutive NCAA regional places from 2003 to 2014. The Aggies earned 12 top-5 rankings in NCAA regional games, including regional championships in 2018 and 2019, and earned 10 top-15 finishes at NCAA Championships, including tied. for fifth place in 2018 and 2019. A&M finished 12 times in the Top 20 in the national ranking under Higgins and twice in the Top 5 in the country in terms of scoring. His teams posted the 15 lowest average scores in school history.
Walton is a college All-American with Division I coaching experience to complete a wide range of jobs with juniors and amateurs. He arrived at USC after a season as an assistant men’s golf coach at Wichita State (2019-20) in which the Shockers won a regular season event (NMSU / Herb Wimberly Invitational), won an individual and combined title for two other individual summits. 10 arrivals in the shortened season of the Covid. Prior to joining Wichita State, Walton was a head coach at Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy in Orlando, Florida, providing comprehensive education to some of the nation’s top junior golfers. Prior to that, he worked as a professional assistant for several years in Indiana.
USC’s 2021 team includes three senior graduates Kyle Suppa, fourth year terminal Kaito Onishi and second year Trojan horse Leon D’Souza. Other returning Trojans include juniors Cameron Henry and second Tyler guo. Newcomers to the squad this season are freshmen Shane FFrench, Ethan Chung and Krando Nishiba.
Team parties are Yuxin Lin, who transferred to Florida at the end of 2020, and Charlie Reiter, who transferred out of USC after the fall 2019 season.
D’Souza is USC’s first returning golfer in stroke average (70.67) and rounds in the ’60s (eight). He has finished in the top 4 three times, including his second at the Southwestern Invitational at 11 under, a second tie at the Bill Cullum Invitational at 13 under and a fourth at the Prestige at 10 under.
D’Souza has joined Issei Tanabe, Suppa and Guo with 18-round team tops during the cropped season. Tanabe finished second in stroke average (72.33) to go with five rounds in the ’60s. He closed the season with a season-best tie for ninth at the Southern Highlands Invitational at 2 under to go with two. other top 30.
Onishi, the only USC All-American on the team (an honor earned in sophomore 2019), only played 12 rounds last year, highlighted by a tie for third place in Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, which saw its only round in the 60s. He had a stroke average of 73.00
Suppa played two rounds in the 1960s as a true senior, his season highlighted by a tie for 22nd in the Prestige.
Henry opened his junior season with a 68 en route to a better tie of the season for 13th place at Mea Lanakila Individual and finished 25th at the Southern Highlands Invitational at 3 points. Guo played two rounds in the ’60s and had the best tie of the season for 17th in the Prestige.