By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - USF's Trey Valentine grabbed the 18-hole lead before play was suspended in the second round Monday at the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate.
The USF men's golf team was in fourth place at 9 over and trailed leader Francis Marion by six strokes after the first round in Hilton Head, S.C. The start of the first round was pushed back an hour because of frost and temperatures were in the low 30s by the time teams teed off.
Head coach Chris Malloy was impressed with Valentine's ability to stay focused after the long delay.
"He's where he needs to be mentally and he didn't even hit the ball great," Malloy said. "He just grinded it out and that was a great round of golf by him."
Freshman Chase Koepka birdied two of the final three holes of his first round to get to seventh place at even par. Freshman Jeffrey Meltzer and Devin Hernandez each carded a 6-over 78 to start the tournament.
"We're one score away from putting together good rounds of golf," Malloy said. "That was kind of the story of the fall and we're searching right now. We need someone to step up."
USF has about five holes remaining in round two before finishing with 18 more in the final round.
"We have a great opportunity in front of us tomorrow," Malloy said. "We are certainly within striking distance of the leaders and champions are made in the final round. We'll see what we're made of.
USF Player Scores Through One Round
1. Trey Valentine, 69 (-3)
T7. Chase Koepka, 72 ( E)
T56. Jeffrey Meltzer, 78 (+6)
T56. Devin Hernandez, 78 (+6)
T74. Richard James, 81 (+9)