The University of South Florida men’s golf team opened its spring season with one win and one loss in The Match Play, held at the par-71, 6,898-yard TPC Tampa Bay. The Bulls dropped their morning match to Ball State 3.5 to 1.5, but rebounded with a convincing 4.5 -.5 win over BIG EAST foe Cincinnati in the afternoon consolation pairing.
“We had a great opportunity that slipped away in the morning round,” USF head coach Chris Malloy said. “I thought our guys responded tremendously in the afternoon. We beat a good Cincinnati team, and I was excited about that. There was a bit of a killer instinct, which I’ve wanted to see from the guys. I’m hoping it carries over and contributes to two more wins tomorrow.”
Devin Patel was the only Bull to claim two individual victories, defeating Ball State’s Joe Gasser 3 and 2 in the morning and dispatching Cincinnati’s Spencer Mellon 6 and 4 in the afternoon. Newcomer Bodi Karsono was also impressive in his collegiate debut, halving his morning match with T.J. Carpenter and battling back from an early deficit to earn a 1-up win over David Tepe.
The other afternoon winners for USF over the Bearcats were Rick Kittelstad two-up over Zack Bates and Aaron Fitzpatrick 4 and 2 over Andrew Desmarais. Devin Hernandez halved his match with Joe Kastelic.
USF battled in the morning matches as Hernandez, Kittelstad and Fitzpatrick all took their opponents through 16 holes.
The Bulls resume play Saturday with a consolation match vs. Cleveland State set to tee off at 8:30 a.m. ET.