By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Unusual circumstances ended USF's run early in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but the Bulls certainly will take the final result.
USF finished the Querencia Cabo Collegiate in second place Tuesday after two straight days of rain pulled the plug on competition. Head coach Chris Malloy noted that Tuesday was only the eighth day of rain in four years in Cabo San Lucas.
"They wanted to win, but I was proud of the way they fought," Malloy said.
Teams got about 12 holes in on Monday and couldn't resume on Tuesday, so the final results were taken from what happened in Sunday's completed opening round. USF was tied for second with Kentucky, but won the tiebreaker for second thanks to having a stronger fifth score than the Wildcats. The Bulls also finished ahead of No. 8 Arkansas and No. 16 Florida State in their final event of the fall season.
"To come out and beat two top 25 teams was great. For this group of young guys, it was great to end the fall season on a really positive note," Malloy said. "It will give them motivation heading into offseason and preparing for the spring."
Junior Richard James wound up with a third-place finish that served as a satisfying end to his first fall campaign as a Bull. The transfer from New Mexico Junior College posted an even-par 72 in the opening round after coming close to playing up to his potential in past events.
"I know he had been frustrated not being able to finish off a couple of rounds. To finally do this and finish off the tournament is great, but certainly not a surprise," Malloy said. "It gives him a feeling of knowing he belongs and I think this is going to springboard him into having a successful spring."
Sophomore Trey Valentine posted a 1-over 73 and was tied with six other players for fifth place after the first round. Freshman Jeffrey Meltzer was in a tie 17th after firing a 3-over 75. Freshman Chase Koepka started off with a 79, while Devin Hernandez posted an 80. Kentucky's fifth-best score came from David Snyder, who carded an 84 at Querencia Golf Club.