By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – Richard James went even par through 36 holes to lead the Bulls at the Gary Koch Invitational on Monday.
USF started the tournament in 11th place while James carded a 3-under 69 in the first round at the Old Memorial Golf Club. James is tied for 20th place and eight shots away from leader Rowin Caron of No. 19 Florida State.
“He’s developed into the player that he and we expected him to be,” head coach Chris Malloy said. “The guy works so hard and he’s seeing his effort pay off.”
Sophomore Trey Valentine (2 over) is in a tie for 29th place after shooting a 70 in the first round of an event that features six top-25 programs.Freshman Chase Koepka (5 over) is in a tie for 47th place after bouncing back with a 72 in the second round.
“Chase battled back as he’s done all year long,” Malloy said. “I fully expect him to do what he’s done all season and play well tomorrow.”
The Bulls tee off 8 a.m. Tuesday in what will be their final round of competition before the Big East Championships April 28-30 in Orlando.
“These guys will come out and be better. We just have to get a fourth score,” Malloy said. “Hopefully we gather some momentum leading into the Big East Championships.”