PALM HARBOR, FL (April 27, 2014) – The University of South Florida men’s golf team’s hot start in the American Athletic Conference Championship cooled off in the second half of Sunday’s first-round action, sending the Bulls to a third-place finish after Day One at Innisbrook Resort.
The Bulls shot a 290 (+6) on the par-71 Copperhead Course, finishing just three strokes behind SMU for second place, and seven strokes back of UCF, which led the pack with a 283 (-1). The Bulls led through the first nine holes before a nine-stroke swing sent USF into its third-place finish.
“We missed an opportunity to take control of the tournament,” head coach Chris Malloy said. “That happens in golf, but if we handled ourselves a little better on the back nine we’d be set. The good news is we had five guys who were all right there. We’re only a few shots back, so we can make a move tomorrow and be ok.”
USF looked dominant out of the gate, cruising through the front nine with nine birdies as a team to lead the pack at three under par. Sophomore Chase Koepka birdied four of his first eight holes before recording a bogey on the ninth to sit atop the leaderboard, shooting 33 (-3) at the turn, while freshman Rigel Fernandes birdied a pair of holes to card a 35 (-1), which tied for second place halfway through the round.
“Chase got off to an unbelievable start,” Malloy said. “He’s done a great job all year of gaining momentum and taking those starts even deeper, but today he just gave a few back.”
The back nine did USF no favors however, as the Bulls shot a combined seven strokes over par, collecting just four birdies to slide into fourth place on the leaderboard after day one. Junior Joseph Winslow carded all four of the Bulls’ birdies in the final nine holes, including a birdie on 18 to finish at 73 (+2) for USF.
“Joseph never gives up and has a great attitude on the course,” Malloy said. “He turned what could have been a rough day on the course into a pretty good round, and a counting score for us.”
Senior Richard James matched Winslow’s score of 73, while Fernandes finished in a tie with Koepka for sixth place, shooting a 72 (-1).
The Bulls return to the course for round two, teeing off at 8:50 with Houston. For full results and to catch live scoring, click HERE.
|Course:Innisbrook Resort- Copperhead Course: American Championship 2014 Par 71 – 7125 Yards
|T6||Chase Koepka (1)||72||72|
|T6||Rigel Fernandes (3)||72||72|
|T13||Richard James (4)||73||73|
|T13||Joseph Winslow (5)||73||73|
|T18||Trey Valentine (2)||74||74|