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Record day puts USC in control at NCAA golf

ATHENS -- It didn't take long to forget Tuesday's personal record.

A day after a freshman from San Diego State put her team atop the leaderboard at the NCAA Women's Golf Championship, another West Coast team did it's own record setting. But this record came in the all-time category.

Southern Cal, tied with San Jose State to start Wednesday's second round, shot a team score of 12-under par 276, propelling the Trojans to 16-under for the tournament and an eight-shot lead over last year's champion Alabama with two rounds to play.

"No lead is big enough," USC coach Andrea Gaston said. "We obviously have a lot of momentum because we got off to a really good start."

Even "really good" fails to grasp the feat of the team score. The 12-under par and 276 score are both NCAA Championship records. It also set a new course record at the University of Georgia Golf Course set by Alabama a season ago.

"I wasn't even thinking about it," Gaston said about setting that slew of records. "All we can do know it be patient and enjoy this moment."

And what a moment.

Led by Annie Park's 5-under, all four scoring members for the Trojans were under par. Her 5-under matched the low turned in on the day by four golfers, including the low individual Stephanie Meadow from Alabama. Meadow holds a one-stroke lead over Park at 8-under.

"Today was really solid for me," said Meadow, who teed off in the morning. "The course played pretty similarly again today, but the heat is just the biggest difference. It's a lot easier to stay hydrated and not be as tired."

Vanderbilt's Jenny Hahn is two strokes back, Mississippi's State's Ally McDonald is three back and Atlanta native and Stanford golfer Mariah Stackhouse is four strokes back in fifth place in a tight group near the top of the leaderboard.

Seven golfers are within five shots of the leader Meadow. The first day's leader Regan De Guzman had fallen to 1-under through 16 holes before play was suspended due to rain.

Even with four groups left finishing their second rounds, it's USC's tournament to lose. The record score, just the third team score to break 280 in the championship's history, gave the Trojans a comfortable lead with two days to play.

"We kind of went crazy out there," said USC's Sophia Popov, who shot 2-under Wednesday.

Alabama is in second at 4-under and the only team close enough to even think about a challenge.

"I know my team is just as good (as Southern Cal), and we could go out and shoot the same thing or better tomorrow," Meadow said. "I am confident."