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Bulls Can’t Hold Onto Lead in American Finale

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PALM HARBOR, Fla., APRIL 29, 2014 – Trey Valentine’s birdie putt on the 12th hole gave USF a brief lead, but the Bulls couldn’t hold off a strong field in Tuesday’s final round of the American Athletic Conference Men’s Golf Championship.

No. 30 USF carded a 4-over total score in the final round and finished in fourth place out of 10 teams at 14 over. No. 31 SMU (+6) captured the conference title and was followed by No. 7 UCF (+11), No. 9 Houston (+14), USF and Louisville (+18) in the top five at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club’s Copperhead Course.

The Bulls started their charge by going 4 under on the front nine after heading into the final day trailing leader UCF by seven shots.

“The course was playing difficult with the conditions we want. We wanted some wind and we knew we needed to make up a little ground and did a great job of getting off to a great start,” head coach Chris Malloy said. “We took the lead and just gave up too many shots going down the stretch.”

Sophomore Chase Koepka headed into the tournament as USF’s top player in the lineup and the former Big East Player and Freshman of the Year led the Bulls once again by finishing in second place at 2 under, five shots away from individual title winner Bryson Dechambeau of SMU.

Koepka carded a 72 and 69 in the first two rounds and finished with a 70 after collecting three birdies with two on the front nine. The West Palm Beach native now has 10 top 10-finishes as a Bull.

“I know the competitor that he is and he’s going to be disappointed he didn’t win, but that’s what makes the guy an All-American,” Malloy said. “He’s played consistently for us all year and did the same for us this week.”

Freshman Rigel Fernandes also stepped up for the Bulls in a big way by finishing in a tie for ninth place at 3 over. The Bradenton, Fla., native used two birdies to card a 73 in the final round to secure his second consecutive top-10 finish.

Richard James was an important part of USF’s Big East title run last spring and the senior finished his lone American tournament in a tie for 15th place at 6 over. The Wales native carded a 74 in the final round after going 1 under with a birdie on the front nine.

Trey Valentine also cracked the top 25 with a 10-over score that placed the junior in a tie for 23rd place. Junior Joseph Winslow (+12) wasn’t far behind, finishing in a tie for 26th place after shooting a 73 in the final round.

USF now will prepare for a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. The selection show for the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships will air live on Monday, May 5 at 10 a.m. on the Golf Channel. Regional action gets underway May 15 at designated sites and the championship rounds take place May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.

“We want to be the best team we can be over the next month and try to win a national championship,” Malloy said. “We need to work a lot on cleaning up our own mistakes. It’s not about other teams; it’s about taking care of our own golf games. Once we do that we’re going to be just fine.”

 

Team Leader Board

Course:Innisbrook Resort- Copperhead Course: American Championship 2014     Par 71 – 7125 Yards

current
position

team

scoring

rounds

total
score

to par

thru

today

1

2

3

1

31

SMU

+6

F

  +1

287

286

285

858

2

7

UCF

+11

F

  +7

283

289

291

863

3

9

Houston

+14

F

  +4

292

286

288

866

4

30

South Florida

+15

F

  +4

290

289

288

867

5

Louisville

+18

F

  +6

299

281

290

870

6

Cincinnati

+35

F

  +5

292

306

289

887

7

47

Memphis

+43

F

  +18

298

295

302

895

8

Connecticut

+56

F

  +18

301

305

302

908

9

Temple

+61

F

  +13

305

311

297

913

10

Rutgers University

+80

F

  +21

310

317

305

93

USF Player Scores

2 Chase Koepka (1)

72

69

70

-2

T9 Rigel Fernandes (3)

72

71

73

+3

T15 Richard James (4)

73

72

74

+6

T23 Trey Valentine (2)

74

77

72

+10

T26 Joseph Winslow (5)

73

79

73

+12

 

Source: Bulls Can’t Hold Onto Lead in American Finale by Tom Zebold

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