Men's golf team hosts conference tourney
USF's men's golf team will try to continue the school's recent run on league titles starting Sunday, on a course with which it's all too familiar.
And as back yards go, this one's pretty daunting.
The Bulls venture 45 minutes west, to Innisbrook's Copperhead Course, for the three-day American Athletic Conference tournament. USF enters as a defending league champion, having won last spring's Big East tournament.
A repeat will require patience, Bulls coach Chris Malloy said. The 7,340-yard course features a series of meandering fairways lined with more trees and water than residences.
"It's just hard. It's demanding," said Malloy, whose team will try to join both Bulls tennis teams and the men's soccer squad as AAC champions in the league's inaugural year.
"It's a ball striker's course. It exposes any average shot, especially any bad shot. Usually a lot of golf courses we all like to play, we can get away with a bad shot here and there. Out there you can't. It forces you to be patient."
The Bulls, idle since late March, have been led most of the spring and fall by sophomore Chase Koepka (two victories, two top-five finishes). However, junior Trey Valentine won last month's Seminole Invitational in Tallahassee, shooting a 6-under-par 210 over 54 holes.
Malloy says to also keep an eye on freshman Rigel Fernandes, third at the Seminole Invitational; and senior Richard James, who shot a 67 in the postseason last year.
"If our guys go out and execute and do the things they can control, I really like our chances," Malloy said.
"The times that we've played well this year, that's what we've done. The times we've played poorly...the mental part of the game is what we've let just kind of slip."