By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Head coach Chris Malloy wants to see the USF men's golf program reach elite status and the next step in the process is ramping up the competition level.
USF's extremely difficult 2012 schedule was released on Tuesday and the Bulls will be taking on the heavy hitters of the sport right away in the Invitational at the Ocean Course Sept. 9-11 in Kiawah Island, S.C. The course will play host to this year's PGA Championship and is the first of two major venues for USF. The Bulls' second tournament of the season is the Inverness Invitational Sept. 17-18 in Toledo, Ohio at a course that's hosted multiple U.S. Opens along with the NCAA Championship three years ago.
Access the full 2012 schedule HERE.
"We're trying to be the best golf program in the country. To do that, we have to compete on the best golf courses against the best teams," Malloy said. "This schedule really is a jump in the right direction. This is what anyone would consider a big-time schedule."
The next stop on USF's collision course with top competition is the Brickyard Intercollegiate Oct. 5-7 in Macon, Ga., before the Bulls wrap up their fall at the Cabo Intercollegiate Oct. 14-16 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
"That's developing into one of the better tournaments in the country," Malloy said.
The Bulls kick off their spring by heading back to South Carolina for the Wexford Plantation Invitational at Hilton Head before hosting the USF Invitational March 3-5 in Dade City. USF placed fourth out of 17 teams at its home event last year and finished the season with seven top-10 finishes.
"We played well there last year and that's one of our home golf courses. We're excited about having that at the start of our spring schedule," Malloy said. "Hopefully that gives us a little bit of confidence and helps boost us to a good spring."
USF returns to Tallahassee for the third straight year March 15-17 for the Seminole Intercollegiate before heading up to Georgia for the Linger Longer Invitational hosted by Kennesaw State March 23-24.
USF will wrap up its regular season in Tampa at the Gary Koch Intercollegiate hosted by Auburn and Kentucky April 7-8. The Big East Championship is scheduled for April 28-30 back in Orlando.
"I want to get our guys in the best fields and on the best courses possible. I think we've done that this year," Malloy said.
Malloy added that the difficulty of USF's schedule is "day and night" when compared to last season's slate because the Bulls' roster has added more talent and experience.
"Last year we had a couple of freshmen helping lead the way. Those freshmen are now sophomores and we have a couple of other freshmen impact players coming in," Malloy said. "We need to change our schedule accordingly."