By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Richard James got to honor a fallen soldier and play some great golf at the Patriot All-America Invitational late last year.
The USF junior fired rounds of 71, 67 and 71 to finish in a tie for fifth place among 84 competitors on New Year's Eve at The Wigwam's Gold Course in Litchfield Park, Ariz. The field was made up of selected players that earned PING All-America honors the previous season and James made the list after winning four events for New Mexico Junior College.
"It's a lot of the All-Americans from last year and the best players from this year, so for him to go out, compete with the best and finish fifth is a testament to the hard work he's put in and how hard he's worked since the fall," USF head coach Chris Malloy said.
Proceeds from the tournament went to the Fold of Honor Foundation and each player got to sponsor a fallen member of the military. James represented Army Staff Sergeant Kevin C. Roberts while USF sophomore Trey Valentine participated in the event for the second consecutive year and finished in a tie for 39th while honoring Marine Lance Corporal Ronald D. Freeman.
Each Patriot All-America participant was given a specialized golf bag and USF plans to auction off the bags James and Valentine used with all the proceeds going back to the Fold of Honor Foundation. More details will follow on GoUSFBulls.com.
"For us to auction off his bag and help the Fold of Honor Foundation is a special cause and something we're happy to do," Malloy said.